By the end of April, 2020, all of California’s theme parks had closed under state order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Less than three months later, on July 4, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, in Vallejo (between Sacramento and San Francisco), reopened under state guidance for zoos and aquariums. InPark’s Joe Kleiman visited the park during its first week of reopening and asked spokesperson “Captain” Lee Munro about how the park was working to keep both animals and guests safe during the health emergency.
As a zoo, Discovery Kingdom reopened as The Marine World Experience, which harkened back to the park’s origins as a marine animal and wildlife park. Marine World/Africa USA opened south of San Francisco in Redwood City in 1968. In 1986, it relocated across both San Francisco and San Pablo Bays to Vallejo. With a brief exception at the end of 2020 and the beginning of the following year, when zoos were ordered closed and the park was transformed into a pair of drive-through experiences, The Marine World Experience operated continuously through the end of March 2021, after which Discovery Kingdom was allowed to reopen as a theme park with operating rides.
Highlighted in the video are the health and safety protocols established by Six Flags and used during the same period at their other parks throughout the country. If you look closely, you’ll even see team members in the background wiping down railings during our interview with park spokesperson “Captain” Lee Munro.