SeaWorld San Diego is an animal theme park, oceanarium, and marine mammal park, located in San Diego, California, United States. The park is owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, a division of The Blackstone Group. SeaWorld San Diego is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SeaWorld was founded in 1964 by four graduates of the University of California, Los Angeles. Although their original idea of an underwater restaurant was not feasible at the time, the idea was expanded into a 22-acre (8.9 ha) marine zoological park along the shore of Mission Bay in San Diego. After an investment of about $1.5 million, the park opened with 45 employees, several dolphins, sea lions, and two seawater aquariums, and hosted more than 400,000 visitors in its first year of operation. Initially held as a private partnership, SeaWorld offered its stock publicly in 1968 enabling them to expand and open additional parks.
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