Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I don't know why Cleveland ever had a Sea World.

Let's lighten things up a little, as yesterday got a little intense. Much of the traffic to this site comes not from regular readers, but from people searching for specific topics. That's fine; all are welcome.

I do ask, however, that people who leave comments sign those comments, because I really don't understand the point of commenting anonymously. I wouldn't have a telephone conversation with someone who didn't identify himself, and I certainly wouldn't speak on the street to someone wearing a bag over his head. Why should I pay any attention to a faceless voice on the Internet?

Anyway, today's question is something I'd love to have a little local knowledge on. My cousin Moira and I were chatting last night about how we still remember the day Elvis died. I was 11, at the beach, and heard it from someone's transistor radio. Moira and her sisters were getting ready to go to Sea World, based at the time in Aurora, Ohio.

Cleveland doesn't have a Sea World any more. It was acquired, first by Six Flags, then by the company that owns Cedar Point. It's now Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom, and no longer has a wildlife display.

I'm charmed and puzzled by the fact that anyone thought a Sea World in Cleveland was a good idea. Yes, Lake Erie's a major body of water, but it's freshwater. Sea World is known for its dolphins and orcas, and those live in salt water. Many of the animals we associate with Sea World come from tropical climates -- although the orca, in particular, can live in very cold water. But who wants to sit outside to watch a dolphin show in Cleveland in January?

The idea of shipping these animals inland fascinates me, as well. I've seen horses loaded into a cargo plane, but how does one transport a four-ton killer whale? The tank alone would weigh tons. You'd have to do it in a truck, wouldn't you? What kind of truck?

If anyone knows the history of Cleveland's Sea World -- or has specialized information about transporting large marine mammals -- please leave your comments below. With a signature, of course...


Anonymous said...

I've always wondered that too. Unfortunately I don't have any insight into the question. I do have fond memories of visits there.

Funny I do remember very specifically being on the back staircase outside Moira's room when I'd heard Elvis had died but I don't remember that we were going to Sea World at all!


Sue Lin said...

The wonderful Atlanta Aquarium has a huge whale on exhibit and an explanation how UPS (headquartered in Atlanta) built a special carrier to transport the mammal and deliver it safely. Really fascinating!

Sue Lin

Anonymous said...

Cleveland's Seaworld was not open in the cool months. The whales were sent to Florida and every spring they arrived by plane. They don't need to be in tanks non stop. The TV news always made a spring ritual of their arrival.What better place to get to know sea creatures when you are so far from a coast? Kit

Anonymous said...

Don't know waht they want to stop being anonymous.Choose an identity????
Kit again

AnswerGirl said...

You can just sign your posts the way Kathleen does ... there's a way to register your name without actually signing up for Blogger, but I don't know how. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I never did know why they had a Sea World in Aurora. It was only open three months out of the year.

Eventually, Busch Gardens bought it out and merged it with Geauga Lake, which was... Well, is... one of those old amusement parks with the old-timey coasters that gets abandoned.

I'm not even sure what happened to it or why it stayed in business until a couple of years ago, when Cedar Fair stripped it for parts to use at Cedar Point and King's Island (which is not an island. It's a big field north of Cincinnati.) I doubt anyone would have heard of it if nearby Chippewa Lake had stayed in business past 1978. Instead, Chippewa now looks like a location set for LIFE AFTER PEOPLE.

norby said...

I grew up a half hour from the Sea World in Aurora, OH. Geauga Lake was always an amusement park that was across the lake from Sea World, but it was considered the lesser park seeing as how Cedar Point, a bigger and much better park is up in Sandusky, not that much farther away.

Actually, not all of the animals would be shipped south for the winter. I remember going to Sea World on a class field trip one year, in November maybe? There was still a walrus there, although maybe it just hadn't been sent out yet. I just remember it so well because the walrus amused my entire class by lying on its back and peeing straight up into the air. Hey, we were in grade school, peeing amused us.

Having a Sea World that close was a fantastic thing for a kid growing up with two working parents. It was a easy day's 'vacation' and we never tired of seeing Shamu, Namu, Clyde and Seamore and all of the other sealife up in Aurora. I also loved that they had frozen Snicker bars on a stick.

I was devastated when Sea World closed, a huge piece of childhood is gone.

Larry said...

I have also been to the Atlanta Aquarium. The two 40-foot whale sharks, as Sue Lin pointed out, were shipped from Japan in tanks that were loaded onto a UPS 747 cargo plane. The Space Shuttle is ferried from the west coast on the back of a 747.

As an aircraft engineer, I continue to be amazed by the amount of cargo an airplane can carry. The military has transports that carry tanks, buses and helicopters.

Annette said...

Hi! I have come across this article because I have been wondering what happened to the animals left at Sea World when it was sold. Surely Cedar Point did not strip them out did they? (Just kidding) - but it is just something I would like to know. Sea World was absolute magic to have in Ohio, and it left, and I left and live in FL now, and swim with wild Dolphins at the beach, Sea World in Cleveland is one reason I do live there now! Loved it!!

Annette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

After Six Flags purchased Geauga Lake it also purchased Sea World. Six Flags had to get rid of the animals because they did not have professional trainers for them. Cedar Fair came into the picture after the animals were gone. They added a water park on the Sea World side and eventually closed the ride side, but the water park, Wildwater Kingdom still operates as a Cedar Fair Park.