SeaWorld celebrated its 48th anniversary on Wednesday.
The world-renowned marine-life park first opened its doors in San Diego on March 21, 1964. It was founded by four fraternity brothers from UCLA who originally planned to make it into an underwater restaurant. The concept grew into a much larger idea for a marine zoological park and the rest, as they say, is history.
According to SeaWorld, when they opened back in 1964 the park consisted of only 22 acres, 45 employees, two aquariums and a few dolphins and sea lions. Their first year in business drew in about 400,000 visitors.
Nearly five decades later, SeaWorld San Diego has expanded to include more than 189 acres spread out on Mission Bay Park. Each year, more than four million guests visit the aquariums, rides and interactive attractions at the park in America's Finest City.
SeaWorld says it is now home to more than 10,000 animals, including 20 species of marine mammals, more than 430 species of fishes and more than 75 species of birds. It’s San Diego’s No. 1 tourist attraction.