SeaWorld Abu Dhabi to open on Yas Island in May

The attraction will be the first SeaWorld outside North America

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will be the first SeaWorld location outside North America. Photo: Miral
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SeaWorld Abu Dhabi has announced its opening day. The aquatic attraction on Yas Island will open to the public on May 23.

It will be the first SeaWorld outside North America and is the latest addition to Yas Island’s attractions, which include Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi and Clymb Abu Dhabi.

"We are delighted to announce the opening of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi this May, and proud of our partnership with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment to bring the region’s next-generation marine life theme park to Abu Dhabi and to Yas Island," said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Miral, the property developer behind the project.

"As part of our commitment to the Year of Sustainability, the marine life park will embed Sheikh Zayed’s legacy and profound respect for nature and all its beauty, as well as play a key role in promoting environmental awareness and protecting marine life in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the wider region.

"Through its innovative programmes and its state-of-the-art facilities, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi aims to inspire the next generation of conservationists and marine life scientists while fostering a deeper appreciation for the natural world. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi's opening will mark an exciting new chapter in Yas Island and Abu Dhabi's ongoing efforts to promote tourism, showcase the emirate's truly unique offerings and position it as a top global destination.”

What's inside SeaWorld Abu Dhabi?

The attraction is being built over five floors spanning about 183,000 square metres and includes habitats, rides, interactive exhibits and immersive guest experiences, full details of which are yet to be revealed.

It's set to be home to the region's largest multi-species aquarium, with more than 58 million litres of water and 150 species, including sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.

The park will also be home to hundreds of bird species, from penguins to puffins. The animals will be looked after by expert zoologists, veterinarians, nutritionists and other animal specialists.

The central zone is called One Ocean and links six marine environments throughout the park, each telling a story designed to emphasise the interconnectivity of life on Earth and under the seas. There will also be a 360-degree media experience in this zone.

The building will use rooftop solar photovoltaic systems with a total capacity of 8.2 megawatts, Abu Dhabi clean energy company Masdar revealed last July.

Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Abu Dhabi

Inside Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Abu Dhabi

Inside Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Abu Dhabi

In February, Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Abu Dhabi began its operations.

The research centre was created with a focus on marine conservation and education, with the hopes of raising a new generation of conservationists and marine biologists in the UAE.

Describing it as the region's largest dedicated marine life centre, Mohamed Al Zaabi, chief executive of Miral, says the site's key pillars are “research, rescue, rehabilitation and return”.

Collaborating with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, the facility, with staff including scientists and veterinarians, will help with injured marine life in the region. People who spot an animal in distress can call 800 555 and depending on how severe the injury is, it could be treated at the centre.

While some SeaWorld sites in the US have been criticised over animal welfare concerns in the past, the focus in the UAE is on education and the transfer of knowledge.

The centre offers outreach programmes to "empower the UAE community to actively participate in conservation work", it states in its profile, and it has a 160-seat auditorium that can be used for events.

Scroll the gallery below to see more of the research and rehabilitation centre:

Updated: March 21, 2023, 8:06 AM