SeaWorld Fireworks! Here We Go Again – But Why?

by on March 16, 2021 · 41 comments

in Environment, Health, Ocean Beach

By Judi Curry

When you think of SeaWorld what do you think of?  Shamu? Orcas? Dolphins? Seals? Sharks? Fish?  What was the reason that Sea World started in the first place?

Let me give you some history:

“SeaWorld® opened its gates for the first time in 1964, founded by George Millay, Milt Shedd, Ken Norris and David DeMott. Originally planned as an underwater restaurant, the concept grew into a marine zoological park on 21 acres along the shore of Mission Bay in San Diego. With an initial investment of $1.5 million, 45 employees, several dolphins, sea lions, and two saltwater aquariums, SeaWorld drew more than 400,000 visitors its first year.

Today, there are three SeaWorld parks in the U.S., including the original San Diego, Calif. location, and parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio, Texas. We also created more parks that connect guests with marine life in new ways. The exclusive Discovery Cove® in Orlando is a tropical oasis where guests can swim with dolphins and other sea life. Aquatica SeaWorld’s Waterpark™, with locations in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego, combines water park thrills, nature and animals for a unique family experience. The parks’ up-close animal encounters, educational attractions and innovative entertainment are designed to inspire guests of all ages to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world around them.”

With this in mind, how many people go to SeaWorld to see and hear fireworks?

Sure, they are fun to watch, but what purpose do they serve other than to have the guests remain at the park longer, spend more money on food and gifts, and pollute the environment?

If there were no fireworks would people still go? Of course, and they have been going for over a year now.  There has been a laser show that people have talked about, and although not as popular as the fireworks, still has people “oohing and aahing” over the entertainment.

Well, things are about to change.

From March 26 till April 4th, SeaWorld is going to have fireworks every night.  But here is the kicker – they are going to be at 7:45 pm each night.  I have to ask what is the reason for this display? First of all, it isn’t even dark at 7:45pm since we went to daylight savings time.

And why these dates?  Because it is a week of Spring Break.  And let’s go even further – the park closes at 8:00pm.

In order to go to SeaWorld, reservations have to be made in advance. So because of limited capacity, the park is advising people to find places to view the fireworks – the freeway? – the streets surrounding the park.  Can you imagine what the traffic is going to be like? Every night for 7 nights?

And, of course, my greatest concern is not the traffic; not the amount of money that will be spent at the park; not the fact that at 7:45pm they will hardly be seen.

The real travesty will be the animals in the area will, again, freak out from the noise and repercussions they feel;  people with PTSD will again have their nervous systems bounced around; the bay and ocean will again be filled with the debris from the  fireworks; the animals that are at SeaWorld will be distressed, and the pollution – both environmental and noise – will be increased.

As a resident of this area I am strongly opposed to this display.

I have already heard from others in the neighborhood that are looking forward to it; one already told me to just “suck it up and enjoy it.”  I find it hard to enjoy something that disturbs so many living beings, be it a veteran that is reminded of the gun fire he faced while fighting one of our wars, or the dogs that have their eardrums assaulted by the loud noise, or the babies that are trying to sleep only to be kept awake by the loud booms they hear every second.

I do not see any saving grace for having SeaWorld resume their fireworks.

If they were celebrating a special day – July 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. I could see the cause. But to have them to “celebrate” Spring Break, when people should not be congregating together in the first place, is a slap in the face of those of us that will have issues with the display.

No, my days of taking my grandchildren, and great grandchildren to SeaWorld are over.  Instead of promoting what they stood for originally, they have become so commercialized that they have forgotten the living creatures and surroundings that are paramount to healthy living.  Shame on them.


{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Rhonni March 16, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Back in the day I lived in ocean beach, and the view of the nightly fireworks was spectacular and it happened right after sunset. Just a part of what made growing up there feel like paradise. I say let the show begin!!!!


Frank Gormlie March 16, 2021 at 12:58 pm

Well, let me tell you – those nights of bygone years when my daughter was the age where I had to sit with her to get her to go to sleep, read to her, etc – just when she was about to drop off – boom! boom! It sounded like a Marine invasion at the beach. So yeah thanks Seaworld for the all the agro.


Hannah S July 29, 2022 at 9:12 pm

This comment hits home for me! I’m in the valley (TEN miles from Seaworld) where the sound echos, and just like you it’s disturbing my child’s bedtime with the booming (as if putting down a baby isn’t hard enough…!). I can’t believe we have to deal with this night after night for weeks on end. Thanks SeaWorld, sincerely sleep deprived mom who will absolutely never be visiting your park. P.S besides the human disturbance, what about the disturbance to animals? I thought you cared about them? Guess not.


Debbie March 16, 2021 at 12:27 pm

Why? Dumb idea! I wonder if PETA will organize protests or anyone else. If so, please post information on protest events.

SeaWorld is advertising fireworks on their website Send emails with your comments to

OBRAG contributor Ed Decker wrote about this in City Beat years ago (as many have)


Louisa Golden March 16, 2021 at 12:54 pm

I’m no fan of Sea World or any other amusement park that uses public resources to enrich private pockets. Even if those pockets are “non-profit” ones. SeaWorld sucks up valuable park space on Mission Bay, excluding most people. That giant hotel is not so awesome either. What is it? A Hilton resort?

The zoo? All San Diego residents under the age of 16 used to go for free. Now the cost of accessing most of the city’s biggest park is quite a pinch. (Zoo AND Museums cost too much… with the exception of the very fine Timken and a few of the tiny ones tucked out of the way.

I wish San Diego would stop catering to the tourism industry and start investing in industries that support a high quality of life for all San Diegans. If businesses are run in city parks, city residents should benefit without having to pay giant fees.

And yeah. Fireworks are not so great nowadays. Not for animals and not for those with various anxiety disorders and not for the environment.


Harry March 16, 2021 at 7:36 pm

I’m not an advocate for tourism but I’m not sure what replaces it. which industries do you have in mind?


Chris March 16, 2021 at 9:04 pm

While agree SD should do more to improve the quality of life for it’s residents, it will never stop focusing on the tourism industry or the military. That’s simply a non starter. What needs to be done is find the right balance.


Judi Curry March 16, 2021 at 1:03 pm

There are obviously two strong sides to this topic. I am dreading the week that will be destroy the tranquility that we have had for the past year. And I am fearful for those people, animals, and environment that will suffer so that SeaWorld can stuff their coffers.;


Sandy March 16, 2021 at 3:04 pm

I think fireworks are fine for special occasions- but just not for every night. They are special for the tourists- who are on a trip to SeaWorld for a special occasion…but they are just too much for many residents who hear them every night. No longer special.


Rhonni March 17, 2021 at 8:03 am

How would you feel about weekends only? Seems like a good compromise


Judi Curry March 20, 2021 at 4:53 pm

For me – special occasions only. It’s a marine park. Keep it that way.


Claudia Paige March 21, 2021 at 8:41 am

Stop the noise and the madness and release the orcas and dolphins (or put them in a protected ocean environment) so they can enjoy the lives as the uniquely intelligent and beautiful sea mammals they are – rather than performing clowns trapped in a unique form of hell. Do you think that, because they’re a “fish,” they don’t mind the slave labor of performing and living in a cement crate?
Also, how much money does it cost to set off their fireworks? Maybe that money can be put to better use, such as teaching students the importance of humanitarian causes and protecting the environment. Gross Polluters.


Pam Clarken March 16, 2021 at 4:19 pm

Great article. My sentiments 110%. Thank you.

Hope you’re continuing to feel better. Both my daughter & son in law (following all the rules) in I B got Covid, too.


GML March 16, 2021 at 5:50 pm

One correction worth mentioning, it is dark at 7:45pm. Sunset tonight is at 6:58pm.


micporte March 17, 2021 at 4:21 am

desperate times, desperate measures, “bread and games” times = end of the Roman Empire
so sorry for the animals of planet earth in the face of big business..


micporte March 17, 2021 at 4:40 am

… because “peace and tranquility” does not a profit make… ” a happy people has no history”, so sayeth the French


Debbie March 17, 2021 at 8:53 am
Kirk March 17, 2021 at 1:36 pm

Maybe there is a silver lining. If this blows up on social media maybe the loud, littering knuckleheads will leave Sunset Cliffs alone for a week.


Victoria March 20, 2021 at 11:26 am

I hate the sound of fireworks, so does my dog. Thanks for the heads up. Drones sound like a great idea!


retired botanist March 20, 2021 at 3:32 pm

1) I hate Seaworld and everything they (don’t) represent. I wish they’d just go out of business, and I would never dream of taking a child there. Having said that, they aren’t going away, so I offer an excellent drone example to counter the offensive and polluting fireworks. 2) This was Scotland’s answer to their very important and traditional New Year’s (Hogmanay) celebration for 2020-2021. Take a leaf, Seaworld, try something meaningful for a change.


retired botanist March 20, 2021 at 3:39 pm

And, for that matter, I’d like to add to my post above. Scotland chose to use their National Poet Laureate’s poem to accompany the beautiful drone display linked above. So why doesn’t Seaworld ask to use Amanda Gorman’s beautiful Earth Rise poem to accompany a drone display? What a better way to educate!


Judi Curry March 20, 2021 at 4:54 pm

Great idea Retired. What a beautiful tribute it would be – and maybe someone could learn something as they watch the display.


Maureen March 21, 2021 at 9:22 am

I agree that the fireworks are no good for the animals. I am life-long San Diegan and grew up with Sea World and even worked there part-time during college. I know from experience how intelligent marine mammals are. That means they are sensitive. They must be very disturbed and distressed by the noise and flashes of the fireworks – and they’re stuck, they can’t go anywhere to escape it. If there is any way to appeal to Sea World to not do this…I mean, do they really get more of a crowd with fireworks? It’s cruelty! I know they need to make money, but that’s not how to do it.


Sylvie March 29, 2021 at 9:22 pm

Once upon a time I thought the fireworks were fabulous. I could see them from my home of almost 40 years and my child enjoyed them growing up. Then I learned how it impacted our local marsh lands, nesting and migrating birds, the wildlife in our local canyons., people’s pets and even sleeping babies. Then there is the environmental concerns of the polluting of our bay waters. Obviously, I could no longer view them and enjoy them quite the same way any more.
A good compromise would be instead of the nightly 3 month barrage of fireworks, how about a show Friday, Saturday and major holidays thru the summer. That way people who care to watch them can on those days and our local environment and residences can have a break from the noise.


Judi Curry March 29, 2021 at 9:25 pm

I’ll go along with holidays and special occasions. Mix on weekends. The same destructive forces that you mention would still be taking place Why is that necessary?


tennyson March 31, 2021 at 2:47 pm

/////////////////My dog wandered out onto the porch as I sat watching the fireworks, looked up then strolled inside and went to sleep, lucky me, he has no reaction but I wondered if the fireworks would be every night and now I know. No fan of Seaworld am I but on occasion I do enjoy the fireworks pondering the damage the pollution will cause as I watch. When I hear SeaWorld my first though is Blackfish. Luckily all my grandkids watched Blackfish too and no longer ask to go toe SeaWorld.


Samantha April 2, 2021 at 7:56 pm

Where can the San Diego residents complain for this nuisance? My toddler wakes nightly at this annoying disturbance and it’s so sad for all the dust we see polluting the air we breathe.


John Tarney April 4, 2021 at 8:08 pm

Seaworld’s fireworks are noticeably louder this year – it’s without a doubt violating my right to peaceful enjoyment in my home. The explosions are akin to sonic booms and are intolerable. I’d be all in for a class action lawsuit against this corporate malfeasance. How can we stop this blatant noise pollution?


triggerfinger April 6, 2021 at 12:10 am

I don’t know if I just got accustomed to the quiet… but they do seem much louder than ever before.

Every night seems ridiculous. Summer weekends would be a better balance. Get creative with some other visual effects that aren’t so obnoxious.


Frank Gormlie April 7, 2021 at 4:37 pm

Young kids will do that to you. I cringed every night the fireworks went off while I tried getting my daughter to sleep, while living on Del Monte; sound had a straight shot into our house.


Celeste Stauffer April 6, 2021 at 10:31 pm

My dog is terribly disturbed by the fireworks. We do everything possible to ease her paranoia. But her fright is escalating. And if Sea World was to end this on the 4th, why is it still going? It’s disgusting and needless and I wish they would stop doing fireworks. My poor dog cannot be the only dog losing her mind. Please stop Sea World.


retired botanist April 7, 2021 at 5:59 pm

I get it- the folks at home, their dogs, their kids, the pollution in the Bay, all of of these are inexcusable assaults on the quality of life in the surrounding community and the habitat. But honestly, at the end of the day, it should not be about us; its about the horrendous quality of life of the incarcerated animals- the polar bears, the penguins, the dolphins, the orcas. What the HELL is a polar bear doing in San Diego? Its the only question you need to ask. We lament the firework intrusion on our lives, on our dogs, or cats, or children. But please! Put yourselves, for one moment, into the lives of the animals trapped there. Aside from the fireworks- a disgusting discharge- FROM AN ANIMAL FACILITY…would you want your dog or your child living in that kind of gawker environment? Its not just the fireworks, Seaworld needs to be held accountable for having/breeding animals for public display. Their rescue/rehab efforts might be laudible, but it is such a POOR excuse for the rest of the cruelty.


Judi Curry April 7, 2021 at 6:10 pm

I’m surprised that PETA hasn’t stepped in again. What is happening is an abomination . Those people that “love the fireworks” are not looking at what is happening because of them. Sad


Linda April 7, 2021 at 9:19 pm

I agree everything is wrong with sea world setting off their fireworks before and now and the animals welfare is my first thought … I sent so many letters to the previous mayor and called all the TV stations and sent so many emails to sea world now again … where I live in a straight line south of sea world and it sounds like bombs going off. My apartment vibrates from the delayed boom effect … when I first moved here and heard the boom sound I was sure we were being bombed and my life was over … it was devastating … it still hurts my stomach every time I hear those insane loud fireworks and say a prayer for the poor defenseless animals that obviously sea world could care less about … shame on them….


Euan S McKerrell April 8, 2021 at 9:17 am

It is now the 8 th of April and of last night on the 7th the fireworks display can still be heard, which means our dogs go into shiver mode and crawl somewhere in the house to get away from the noise.
SeaWorld, do the animals a favor and move away from fireworks to a laser light show, you still get the same effect.


sealintheSelkirks April 8, 2021 at 3:12 pm

Guess nobody lives in Bay Park? You think it’s loud in OB??? HA! Nothing like Bay Park!

My stepkids moved north after their first five years on Gardena Ave in 1990 to the mountains where I was. Their backyard faced Sea World’s extremely close bomb explosions (let’s call them what they are!) that were so loud it rattled the windows before the concussions and sound literally bounced off the hill face and hit again from behind reverberating like an echo chamber that enormously magnified the (shall we say?) detrimental auditory effects. I know because I had visited during one of these shows. Holy crap it was like being in a theater with a war film at max volume!

I had a dog once that ate through a woodshed door to get inside to hide from lightning. She chewed the entire bottom off it! Another time she clawed the bottom off a closet door in the dojo trying to hide one the 4th of July night when I had new neighbors firing exploding mortar rockets a half mile north of here (IN JULY IN A DRIED OUT FOREST how stupid is that?). All she did was shiver, cower, and cringe. Big labbie/aussie shep mix. Hunting season she was a wreck the entire time, too. Backfires on cars, all of it.

Nope, not a healthy activity for any living critter to endure and I can’t imagine what the critters trapped in those concrete ponds underneath them go through because sound magnifies in water doesn’t it retired botanist? Travels a long way because we KNOW what loud sounds in the ocean are doing to the whales and other mammals.I read recently that Blue whales can’t hear one another anymore so they can’t mate and they are going to go extinct from human noise! How’s that for insane? And they aren’t anywhere close to being as confined as Sea World’s pits.

The stepkids? Never missed the nightly fireworks one single bit!

Yeah Sea World, get a clue if you’re so ‘compassionate’ about ‘caring for’ the animals. Which we all know is only related to how much profitable income they can amass…



Michelle April 17, 2021 at 8:14 pm

It’s April 17th and they are still going strong. Is it me or are they much much louder this year?! My dog is so afraid of the noise we have to comfort her the whole time.
>> Does anyone know of there is a movement to ban them permanently?


Judi Curry April 17, 2021 at 9:52 pm

The new schedule is EVERY Friday and Saturday night until the end of May. And you know what will happen June -1st! There is petition on to stop the fireworks. If you can’t find it and want to sign it let me know and I’ll find it for you.


Chuck August 12, 2022 at 9:02 pm

Sounds like a bunch of uppity transplants from the Midwest in here with nothing better to do than complain on the internet. Fireworks have been a trademark here for generations. You complaining about sea world fireworks is like complaining about the traffic. It’s apart of San Diego, get over it.


sealintheselkirks August 19, 2022 at 5:55 pm

It’s been shown that it is bad for the environment, bad for the animals underneath them, and for others that are miles away that are sometimes seriously disturbed by the explosions. I had a dog that ate through a closet door to hide from fireworks. Os literally chewed the bottom off and yes, she was scared of lightning, too, but not anywhere near as much as bombs & rockets going off… Besides, laser light shows are far more amazing to watch don’t you think?

As for being a ‘part of San Diego,’ I remember when there wasn’t week after week of war sounds blasting across the bay and echoing back off the escarpment above Bay Park to Clairemont. As a matter of fact I remember Sea World not being there and you know what? There wasn’t any fireworks. Hmmmm.

And just to be a little snarky, Chuck, what continent did your ancestors come from? And have you EVER lived in the Midwest? What’s not to like there, huh? I get to ask because I WAS born in OB and am a multi-generational Californian so that makes it okay for me to have an stinky attitude, right?

Definite S/



John Tarney August 20, 2022 at 10:50 am

Hate SeaWorld Fireworks! Make SeaWorld executives live on site so they can hear the crap they make each night.


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