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

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Sea World San Diego Shamu the killer whale, dolphins and more

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

Look back to the ’70s and ’80s at old Sea World San Diego, when Shamu the Killer Whale was the ocean-themed amusement park’s star attraction.

Vintage Sea World: There’s a world of things to see and do. (1976)

See Shamu in his star-spangled Yankee Doodle Whale show. He’ll sign the Declaration of Independence, crack the Liberty Bell, and take Paul Revere on his famous midnight dive.

Feel the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, as dolphins compete in the Wet World of Sports! And don’t miss the Great White Shark Exhibit. Take a good, close look at this 13-foot, 1,400-pound predator of the deep.

Plenty of free parking. Guided tours available. It’s a full day of fun for one low price. Sea World, Mission Bay, San Diego.

Sea World San Diego in 1976


This is the time for Sea World (1977)

Time to see 35 exciting shows and attractions. Featuring Shamu, the 3-ton killer whale, a crew of talented dolphins, and a seal and otter circus.

Time to meet sea creatures you can pet and feed, and time to play pirates in Cap’n Kids World. One low price buys a whole day of adventure. The time to go is now.

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Sea World San Diego 1977


Sea Shows. Sea Wonders. Sea World. (1978)

Meet magnificent Shamu everyone’s favorite killer whale and see why he’s such a huge splashing success.

Watch seals and otters perform in the zaniest fairy tale you’ve ever seen. And sky-high jumping dolphins outsmarting and outswimming human contestants in the wettest game show in town. Never has the sea put on such a show!

What could be more wonderful than to pet and feed a dolphin, hold a shimmery pearl fresh from the oyster, feed fish to sea lions and walruses and seals, touch a starfish in a crystal tide pool, and be eye-to-eye with the secret creatures of the sea?

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Sea World is a full day of discovery with one low price buying it all, like Cap’n Kids World where children can live their pirate-sized fantasies on 20 incredible play centers.

It’s 35 shows and adventures, exotic birds, and lush gardens. It’s where time stops and enchantment takes over, and where you can lose yourself in laughter and delight. This is Sea World, where your time together is as special as your memories.

Sea World San Diego 1978


It wouldn’t be a vacation without Sea World (1981)

Sea World is America’s largest and finest marine life park. It’s a day full of spectacular live shows, sights and sensations you won’t find anywhere else.

You’ll thrill to Shamu, the four-ton killer whale you’ve seen on many TV specials — and meet his new partner, Namu.

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You’ll feed a dolphin, pet a pilot whale, hold a starfish in your hand. There’s a fantastic new dolphin show, seals who court a princess in a Flippered Fairy Tail, and a creative play area just for pint-size pirates called Cap’n Kids World.

All this in acres of flowers, lagoons, exotic birds and winding paths. So don’t go home ’til you see Sea World!

Sea World San Diego - 1981


San Diego’s finest hour. After houe. After hour. (1983)

No other vacation day offers so much entertainment, excitement, adventure and learning.

Meet Shamu; the world’s most famous killer whale. Touch and feed whales, dolphins and walruses, and see an awesome live shark exhibit. It’s a full day of shows and adventures for all — including Cap’n Kids’ World, a pirate playground just for children.

More than 60 million people have visited America’s largest and finest marine life park. Now it’s your turn. Sea World San Diego.

ALSO SEE: Vintage Busch Gardens: See the theme park in Tampa, Florida through the 20th century

Vintage Sea World San Diego 1983


The biggest thing since Shamu: New Penguin Encounter (1984)

Sea World has always been San Diego’s most magical, memorable day, filled with shows and experiences you can’t get anywhere else. And what’s attracted people most of all is Shamu, the world-famous killer whale.

Until now, that is. Sea World introduces the Penguin Encounter.

It’s as if Antarctica suddenly moved to San Diego… complete with snowstorms, mountainous terrain and frigid temperatures. Here hundreds of penguins and other polar inhabitants live and love just as they do at the bottom of the globe. And you can view these cuddly, comical creatures face to face.

The new Penguin Encounter. And they said it would be a cold day in San Diego before anything could be as big a hit as Shamu.

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Sea World San Diego 1984


Vintage SeaWorld: No other day makes you feel this way. (1986)

Take a look at the expression on this child’s face. A good, close look.

What you see is more than just fun. It’s love. Amazement. Awe. Curiosity. And a huge helping of sheer happiness.

That pretty well describes the difference between Sea World and any other vacation attraction in Southern California. The marvelous way it makes you feel.

Imagine a chilling encounter with 8-foot sharks. A heartwarming tete-a-tete with 400 Antarctic penguins. A friendly finshake with a playful dolphin. And of course, the touching performance of Shamu, the killer whale.

They’re all part of the most magical day you will ever spend. At Sea World — Truly the heart of your San Diego vacation.

Old ad for Sea World San Diego

MORE: See what Disney World in Orlando, Florida, looked like when it first opened in 1971

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