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SeaWorld celebrates 50-year anniversary

Danielle Bradbery meets a bottlenose dolphin during a visit to SeaWorld San Diego, August 16, 2013.
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Danielle Bradbery meets a bottlenose dolphin during a visit to SeaWorld San Diego, August 16, 2013.

SeaWorld on Friday kicks off a series of events to mark its 50th anniversary, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The marine park's origins date to a restaurateur's desire for an underwater cocktail lounge in California's Long Beach Harbor. The 190-acre marine park with 10 killer whales in San Diego now draws an estimated 4.6 million visitors each year, a giant leap from the 200,000 visitors 50 years ago, and company now operates 11 parks in six cities.

Attendance remains at record levels despite the popularity of a documentary, "Blackfish," that is critical of the park's treatment of its animals and has spawned legislation in California to prohibit keeping orcas in captivity for entertainment purposes.

Read the full story in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

(Read more: Theme parks 'out of reach' for some families)

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