Monday, August 31, 2009

Growing up Sea-Arama

Sea-Arama Marineworld was an animal/entertainment park in Galveston, Texas, for 25 years. Opened in 1965 as one of the first ocean theme parks in the nation, it featured more than 25 acres, including a 4 acre ski lake, and a 50 foot long, 200,000 gallon aquarium. This aquarium held large and small fish as well as large sharks that were part of the shark feeding shows. Many kids and parents enjoyed the dolphins, sea-lions, killer whales, bird shows, ski shows, sharks, big cats, snakes, fish aquariums, turtles, sea otters, pelicans, and more. In 1988 it was the number one tourist attraction in Galveston, until the larger more flashy Sea World Park opened in San Antonio, and contributed to its closing in 1990.

Sea-Arama actually closed for a host of reasons. The habitats were old, rusting, and the small holding tanks were not in-line with the more modern and humane enclosures of the larger parks. The fish and mammals were eventually moved to other locations.

The city fought for years over the property as it occupied prime real estate along Seawall Boulevard. The abandoned buildings and tanks eventually gave way to the environment and looters until they were finally torn down to the ground in the mid 2000s.

My last outing to Sea-Arama was either in the summer of 1984 or 1985 with a pack of other kids from my daycare and, to be completely honest, I do not recall much. My memories come in the form of mental snapshots - some more vivid than others. It is fitting then that I came across these really amazing photos of the park in all of its decaying glory:

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