Marine World Africa USA: See the old California theme park that had killer whales & dolphins

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Vintage 80s Marine World Africa USA
In 1986, when Marine World Africa USA opened in Vallejo, California, it was big news for the San Francisco Bay Area!

Unlike Southern California, which was home to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and Magic Mountain, the only other real amusement park in the northern half of the state was Great America (then owned by Marriott’s) in Santa Clara — which was about an hour and a half south of the new Marine World. (The original, smaller Marine World was located in Redwood City, California, and originally opened in 1968.)

Take a look back to the first year the theme park/zoo now known as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom was open, back in 1986!

Marine World Africa USA grand opening (1986)

Marine World Africa USA - Grand Opening brochure 1986 (4)


Marine World Africa USA: Grand by design

At the very heart of the Marine World Africa USA experience lies interaction between our animals and our visitors.

That’s why our new park was designed to bring you closer to our wildlife than ever before. Closer than at any other wildlife park in the world.

Come. Visit the all-new Marine World Africa USA in Vallejo during this, our grand-opening season. There’s never been a grander time.

SCHEDULE

Open daily in summer 9:30 am -6:30 pm. Wednesdays through Sundays in spring and fall until 5:30pm. Weekends and holidays in winter until 5:00 pm.

LOCATION

Only 30 miles northeast of San Francisco.Ten miles south of the Napa Valley Wine Country. From San Francisco, take 1-80 East Exit at Marine World Parkway (Hwy. 37). Or take 101 North to Hwy.37 East to Marine World Parkway.

FERRY SERVICE

Red & White Fleet offers daily service to Marine World Africa USA from Pier 41 on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Call Red & White Fleet at (415) 546-2896, your travel agent or your local Ticketron outlet.

Marine World Africa USA - Grand Opening brochure 1986 (5)

Marine World Africa USA - Grand Opening brochure 1986 (2)

MORE: Vintage Knott’s Berry Farm: See the Southern California amusement park as it used to be


Marine World Africa USA: Grand by sea

The all-new Marine World Africa USA surprises again. With a grand stadium for killer whales and dolphins. Another for sea lions. And habitats, tidepools, and an aquarium for other forms of aquatic life.

Nowhere in the world can you get closer to marine mammals. And nowhere will you find marine mammal shows as exciting, entertaining, and educational as those we offer.

Marine World Africa USA - Grand Opening brochure 1986 (1)


Marine World Africa USA: Grand by land

Tigers. Chimps. Elephants. And more. Marine World Africa USA’s remarkable land animals. You’ll see them performing in shows. Relaxing in their natural settings. And walking with their trainers throughout the park.

And wherever you see them, you’ll have the opportunity to come safely close to them. Deep, mutual bonds of trust, respect, and affection between our animals and trainers make this possible.

Marine World Africa USA - Grand Opening brochure 1986 (3)

MORE: Disneyland brochure for 1988: More than ever the happiest place


Marine World Africa USA: Grand by air

Another of our grand attractions is our feathered flock A wide and varied collection of over 100 species.

From colorful cockatoos and macaws to land-bound ostriches. From majestic birds of prey to beautiful flamingos and cranes. Many rare and endangered species find a home at Marine World Africa USA.

And here, in shows and natural environments, you can enjoy and come to know them.

Marine World Africa USA - Grand Opening brochure 1986 (7)


Grand opening 1986: Grand all around

Animals and marine mammals are just part of the excitement at the all-new Marine World Africa USA.

Our Waterski and Boat Show is internationally acclaimed.”Whale-of-a-Time-World,” our recreation area for kids, is an innovative, one-of-a-kind playground.

And we have plenty of restaurants, gift shops, games, and other attractions. It’s an incredible new world of fun and adventure for the whole family.

Marine World Africa USA - Grand Opening brochure 1986 (6)

Marine World Africa USA - Grand Opening brochure 1986 (8)

Marine World Africa USA Marine World Foundation Marine World Parkway • Vallejo, CA 94589 For more information call (707) 643-ORCA – A Non-Profit Organization


Hey, hey – We’re Marine World (1989 TV commercial)

This ad used a version of The Monkees theme song.

ALSO SEE: Sea World San Diego in the ’70s & ’80s, when you could see Shamu the killer whale, dolphins & lots more

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One Response

  1. I went and saw this Orca when I was 6 years old. There were lots of great things about that day but the only part I remember and will until the day I die is this. My family and I were seated in the audience when they came to the part of the show that they called on an audience member to volunteer, usually a child. I gleefully raised my hand, so eager for the trainer to see me that I couldn’t hardly contain myself to my seat. Literally bursting out of my chair, her eyes landed on me. And then she called me. I was so excited, but now I had to walk in front of all these people. I hadn’t thought that far through things when my little sister had forced my hand into the air. Well, I had to do it now. I got to the front and was standing on the pool ledge. First, Th yes offered me to pet the whale. I got to pet her. Quickly, I was asked “what does it feel like?” And whiteout missing a beat I murmured “wet rubber.” The audience burst into laughter, which I didn’t understand why. I had given an honest answer. Then I had the chance to feed the whale. At the end they told me they were going to tie my ankles together and let me swim with the whale. Again the audience laughed, and I stood confused. Now, this might sound like a dream come true to some, and a nightmare to others. But for me, those few moments that I was eye to eye with this multi-ton predictor that could have swallowed me whole, I saw love and sadness. I saw depth and empathy far beyond what humans can begin to understand. Those few moments, that whale in this brochure imprinted on me something that will stay with me forever.

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