On the evening of April 29, 2020, an email was sent to pass members & guests on behalf of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Interim CEO Marc Swanson. In it, he recaps much of what the company has done so far during the closure due to COVID-19. That includes caring for both its collection of animals and efforts to help rescue & rehabilitate wildlife, donations to community organizations, and some general details on what is happening with tickets, vacation packages, and annual passes.
Most of the information in the email has already been shared through previous communications from the parks, including through social media posts and on the company’s blog post about the coronavirus closure.
One new detail was part of the email, where Swanson says the company “will be announcing new benefits for all active Pass Members in the coming days.” Whereas most other theme & amusement park chains have suspended annual pass payments and detailed special perks for members, SeaWorld & Busch Gardens parks so far have not.
Be sure to read our detailed article on what we know about the closure at SeaWorld & Busch Gardens, especially as it related to annual pass members.
You can read the CEO’s email in its entirety below:
An Update From the CEO, Marc Swanson
For decades, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks have invited guests to experience the wonders of our world and the animals we share it with. As our world has forever changed, and is still changing, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m writing you today with an update on what we’re doing to help the animals in our care, our communities and our park guests during this challenging time.
As you may know, on March 16, we closed all 12 of our parks. This was a difficult decision, but it was the right one. And in the coming days, we were forced to furlough 95% of our workforce. More than difficult, this was an excruciating decision. It’s one we hope we can reverse in the weeks and months ahead. Until then, we are working on three important fronts to do our part to help bring about a return to normal.
For the Animals in Our Care
Right now, our team of dedicated and passionate zoological experts is tending to the needs of the animals in our care. They’re making sure the animals continue their daily routines and are ensuring their health and dietary needs are met to maintain the highest level of welfare and wellness. While there are no guests in our parks to experience these magnificent animals, our team of talented animal care specialists continue to fill their days with behavioral learning, social stimulation, and exercise. Our team’s commitment to animals is admirable in the best of times; in a crisis, it’s extraordinary.
We have also added precautions for animals and our employees, such as a new temperature-screening procedure for staff before entering the parks and the use of personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, when interacting with certain animals.
For Our Communities
In the communities we serve and beyond, the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team is continuing critical animal rescue work, coming to the aid of animals who need us 24/7. In the few weeks since our parks closed, we’ve rescued dozens of animals including: four manatees, seven sea lions and seven elephant seals.
Additionally, like many businesses that remain closed but feel compelled to help however they can, we have identified other ways to serve our communities. We immediately donated food from our parks to food banks. We also donated supplies like paper goods and masks to local officials and community health organizations that serve first responders. We hosted a blood drive at one of our parks and encouraged our employees to donate too and we donated the use of our parking lots to health care systems for COVID testing. We’ll gladly do it again, and we continue to look for ways we can help.
For parents and educators, amid school closures and shelter in place orders, we created new educational websites for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, with 15 sets of comprehensive K-12 activities, videos and teacher guides – all developed by our zoologists. As you may have seen, we are adding new lessons every week and will be streaming live videos of the animals in their habitats. We’re also continuing to post on social media – using those platforms to share our animals with people who care about them as much as we do. Check out what we’re doing at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.
Caring for animals is an important part of our mission; educating and inspiring the public about them is an equally important part. We’re so proud of how our teams have stepped up to help make sure we can continue to do that.
For Our Guests
We know that for many families, future vacation plans are uncertain or are changing. While our parks remain temporarily closed, we are committed to providing guests with the flexibility they need right now.
We are automatically extending all active Annual Passes and Membership products to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens for the length of time in which the parks remain closed. Domestic single-day tickets and any unused multi-day tickets that expire during the temporary closures will be extended through December 31, 2021. Expiring single-day and multi-day tickets purchased internationally will be automatically extended through the first week of 2022 to provide our guests from overseas additional flexibility. And in-park experiences during the temporary closures can also be rescheduled through December 31, 2021. We are also offering discounted tickets to be used when our parks reopen and will be announcing new benefits for all active Pass Members in the coming days.
We want to welcome you back to our parks as soon as possible. We also want you safe.
We are monitoring this evolving COVID-19 situation closely and coordinating with public health officials to make sure we open in a safe and responsible manner. We’ll continue to keep you updated and we look forward to welcoming our valued guests back to our parks soon.
Until then, we hope you’re staying safe and staying home.
Interim Chief Executive Officer
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
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