Ringling goes under even though it was prepared to retire its elephants. Tweaking the model wasn’t enough. Take note, SeaWorld. Maybe ANY animal-based entertainment will struggle as audiences turn away from animals in cages and tanks:
“The circus was all about animals all along,” said Duncan Dickson, an associate professor at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. “Now, can SeaWorld morph from an animal-based park into a thrill ride-based park? It’s to be seen. I think they need to be very cautious as they move along.”
SeaWorld has been building rides such as Mako, the tallest, fastest roller coaster in Orlando. The company is also focusing more on promoting conservation and rescue in its theme parks. The company said that this year it is investing in a diverse lineup of attractions, including rides inspired by animal rescues, virtual reality experiences, and new shows and events “that bring families together for meaningful vacations.”
Roller coasters are fine. But as long as there are orcas swimming around in pools for the next few decades, SeaWorld won’t be able to re-brand. The pressure to retire animals elsewhere will surely grow….