Seaworld, San Antonio, Texas

I remember when going to SeaWorld was something that was a treat. Like an 8th grade graduation field trip. Everyone would cram into a bus and we would drive from Houston to, among other things, see Shamu the Orca. The tricky thing about this is; I honestly don’t know if I ever made it to an Orca show. I remember the roller coasters, the temporary tattoos, the tons of mugs and keychains with various names printed on them and even feeding dolphins. Yet I cannot remember an Orca sighting.

Maybe Shamu had the day off. Or maybe we just couldn’t stay for the show before heading home.

The 90’s had it’s eyes on the Orca’s with the successful “Free Willy” franchise. I can for sure remember seeing the whales across the silver screen. However, once a very popular attraction for the brand, even in the late 90’s, it is trippy to me to not specifically be reminded of the species.

Once 2013’s Blackfish Documentary arrived, the SeaWorld Brand overall took a large left turn in the public eye. Holding species in captivity was painted more or less as cruel than it was about conservation. I wanted to return to the park, even years later to see how things had changed. Maybe see Shamu.

When I arrived, I hadn’t accounted for the park not yet being in season. So, from afar I found myself staring from the outside in like every other glass enclosure.

The track this week is a Jazz piece by the incomparable Bud Powell. It’s a tune that builds and challenges. Maybe, in a way that is what SeaWorld’s model had been; build, despite challenges. Ultimately, San Antonio has always been a treat and Sea World is a part of that history.

Be kind and look out for one another.

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