Thursday, August 04, 2005

Remembering Sea-Arama Marineworld

Long before Sea World came to San Antonio, there was Sea-Arama Marineworld in Galveston. Located just off Seawall Blvd. on the west side of town, it was an honest little marine-oriented amusement park.

My parents took me there once in 1976 or 1977. I couldn't have cared less about the dolphins and killer whales. I was there to see the reptile show where a man kissed the head of a cobra. That was pretty cool. To this day, my dad and I mimic the park announcer's refrain, "Cameras up and cameras ready!" whenever there's a sight to behold.

A couple of weeks after our visit, my parents showed me a newspaper clipping. The snake man had been bitten by a rattlesnake during one of his shows. As I recall, he was rushed to the hospital and he survived. Sea-Arama Marineworld, however, did not. The park closed in 1990.

Last time I drove by, only a graffiti-riddled concrete husk in overgrown grass remained. Tilman Fertitta of Landry's Seafood reknown purchased the property in 2003 and was considering developing a water park there to compete with the new Galveston Schlitterbahn, which is scheduled to open its indoor section in December.

CORRECTION (4/28/2010): An earlier version of this post said Sea-Arama closed in 1986. As the comments below correctly note, the park actually closed in 1990.


jennifer said...

It makes much more sense to have a Sea-Arama in Galveston than a Sea World in land-locked San Antonio. I never understood that concept! It's not even near the three-inch deep river!


Anonymous said...

My family made a few trips to Sea Arama over the years when I lived in Lake Jackson. My sister and I were just discussing it this past weekend, wondering what had happened to it. Now we know. Thanks for the info.


Anonymous said...

There was a water-themed park (pretty lowbrow, not like this fancy Sea-Arama) near the Six Flags in Arlington. I believe it was called Seven Seas.

Terri R.

Anonymous said...

They need to film a horror movie inside the old building, I have snuck in there a couple of times and it is one of the creepiest places, with the old whale tanks partly full of green water and the crumbling bleecher and the huge round shark tank in the middle with all the glass broken out. I would love for someone to restore it. I was a wonderful place in its day.

cha cha said...

I just spent the weekend in Galveston and stumbled upon the old Sea-Arama. You can see my trip photos here, the Marineworld photos are at the end. Its a really fascinating piece of urban decay.

Anonymous said...

Park actually closed in 1990. I should know I worked there from 1986 to 1988. Head curator John left for Sea World in San Antonio. Roy took over as next head curator, did a great job with a declining park. Asst. Head Curator Eddie left in 1988 to go to Vet school. Park was having serious cash flow problems by then but we all did what we could for the animals. Miss the place, kind of sad it closed.

Tim G said...

The link at the top of this blog is my old website that has changed locations. To see photos and videos of Sea Arama when it was open go to:
Tim G.

Anonymous said...

I used to live really close to it in 69.When they had the alligators.