After more than 20 years, there will not be a nightly fireworks show launched from SeaWorld San Diego over Mission Bay.
Officials with Seaworld San Diego said the summertime tradition will be "on hiatus" as the park rolls out a new nighttime feature that will include laser lights and an illuminated parade.
There will still be fireworks on three-day holiday weekends in the summer and a few other events, park officials told NBC 7 Friday. The park denies the decision was made in response to a petition filed by local residents demanding an end to the nightly fireworks displays.
"I would like to see [fireworks] continue. I don't know why you wouldn't. If SeaWorld wants to put it on, seems like a great idea to me," said Michael Truesdall, an Ocean Beach resident.
"It's more of a pollution problem in general. We have to look out for the city and the bay that we swim, eat fish out of and play in," said Thomas, who works in the Bay Park area.
“All Day Orca Play”, which invites visitors to watch the killer whales interact with trainers and encourages visitors to ask questions, recently launched. The program will lead up to the park’s new show, “Orca Encounter,” where guests will see how orcas eat and communicate.
At night, the park is planning a new feature with "bioluminescent-like lighting" to entertain guests.
The show will be similar to the Cirque de la Mer show but will take place at night and will be called Cirque Electrique.
The park will also unveil a "new nighttime show featuring overhead laser lights and an interactive RFID experience, acrobats and live musicians and an illuminated parade," said David Koontz, Director of Communications.
"We’ve decided that this illuminating nighttime experience will be a focus of our new end-of-day spectacle event as opposed to having firework displays," he said.
SeaWorld has seen attendance fall since the release of the highly controversial documentary, “Blackfish,” which criticized conditions of the park’s captive killer whales. The film focused on Tilikum, an orca that killed a SeaWorld trainer during a show in Orlando in 2010. Tilikum, who had been seriously ill, died this past January.
Days after Tilikum’s death, SeaWorld San Diego announced it would end its long-running, theatrical killer whale show, making way for a new orca show billed as a more educational experience into the lives of killer whales.
Recently SeaWorld San Diego announced two limited-time ticket offers a single-day, $55 ticket, valid on weekdays now through June 16, and a new “any-day” ticket, valid now through June 11, for $69.
The ticket must be purchased in advance either online or by calling (619) 222-4SEA; the offer is not available in person at the park.
One more deal is the $87 “Fun Card,” which offers unlimited admission to the park now through Dec. 30. Again, it must be purchased in advance, as the offer is not available at the park.