Announced in December 2016, SeaWorld has entered into a partnership to build a new park on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, with Miral, the developer of Yas Island. This will be the first new SeaWorld park in decades, and the first without orca whales. “We’re hiring new talent and smart companies for this, and it will feed ideas into the rest of the system,” said Esparza. He sees the area’s growing mix of entertainment and cultural attractions – including the Louvre, the Guggenheim and Ferrari World – as desirable neighbors.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is projected to open by 2022. One of the pillars of its development is what the company refers to as an “R4 center”: the first dedicated marine life research, rescue, rehabilitation and return center in the UAE, with world-class facilities and resources for the care and conservation of local marine life. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will integrate up-close animal experiences, mega attractions and a world class aquarium, bringing the latest technology in visitor engagement.
The R4 facility is planned to open ahead of the park. It is intended to provide an important resource for UAE nationals and residents looking to develop or enhance expertise in marine life sciences and will serve as a hub for collaboration with local and international environmental organizations and projects.