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Why is SeaWorld in San Antonio and not in Houston ?


ehtx1

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Recently I went to San Antonio for the weekend and had a change to go to SeaWorld. I couldn't help but think and have always wondered "Shouldn't SeaWorld at least be by the SEA !!!" The one in SanDiego is and the one in Central Florida is surrounded by lakes and really not that far from either coast. To have a sea-life based theme park in the middle of dusty and hilly south texas hmmm..... I don't see the connection. Now if SeaWorld was in the Houston-Galveston Area that would make sense. First, there's 3 or 4 times more people in H-town, close by the water (Galveston), alot of the state marine research in done here. Not trying to put down the Alamo City but come on, having SeaWorld there is kinda weird. I think the Houston Area should at least make a pitch to the owners of SeaWorld of Texas to see if there willing to relocate from San Antonio to Houston. Maybe I'm wrong about this, just saying.

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It's not about being by the sea, but having a steady stream of tourists, and San Antonio is the clear winner for Texas because of the River Walk, Alamo, river tubing, hill country, and so on. It's just the town everybody drives to for a weekend getaway.

OK I still don't get it. If your talking about numbers then I don't see how San Antonio is on top. Let's see : San Antonio metro (2.1 million), Houston metro (6.1 million). I think H-Town has a clear advantage there. The amount that do all the things you mentioned in San Antonio, we fill that up every Houston Texans game at Reliant Stadium. Am I wrong ?

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OK I still don't get it. If your talking about numbers then I don't see how San Antonio is on top. Let's see : San Antonio metro (2.1 million), Houston metro (6.1 million). I think H-Town has a clear advantage there. The amount that do all the things you mentioned in San Antonio, we fill that up every Houston Texans game at Reliant Stadium. Am I wrong ?

Yes. You are wrong. Have you ever found yourself salivating over the prospect of a trip to Delhi, India? They have lots of people there, too. How about Karachi, Pakistan? How about...Dallas, Texas? Maybe that's where SeaWorld should move, if SeaWorld were going to move around within Texas. Maybe not...

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OK I still don't get it. If your talking about numbers then I don't see how San Antonio is on top. Let's see : San Antonio metro (2.1 million), Houston metro (6.1 million). I think H-Town has a clear advantage there. The amount that do all the things you mentioned in San Antonio, we fill that up every Houston Texans game at Reliant Stadium. Am I wrong ?

All of those people didn't keep Astroworld around. I would love to see something like that here in the Houston area. As has been discussed before on this forum, Houston just doesn't have much to offer for tourist, and for such a large city, that's a shame.

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As I recall, Astroworld was profitable when it closed. It closed so that some real estate speculators could build some condos or something. Then the real estate market melted down.

I'm not sure that's entirely accurate. From what I've read and heard they were losing money on the park. It had the lowest admittance fee of all of their parks and most of its visitors where locals. That's why they had such a problem with crime - kids would get dropped off for the day and they would just wander around... not buying anything.

One of the operator's options was to raise ticket prices... and they found that attendance would drop markedly. So... they sold and left town.

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There's so much competition in Houston for any kind of theme park, it's easy to see why they would choose to go into a different market.

Seriously though, I had often wondered this myself when I went to Sea World in San Antonio, why San Antonio? Why not Houston? Hell, why not Padre, or Corpus Christi? It's a valid question for sure, and I'm sure money, politics and marketing all played a strong role in drawing them towards their conclusion.

Edited by samagon
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Both of you are kind of right.

It started in the late 90's when Premier Parks from Oklahoma bought Six Flags from Time Warner. It was one of a very long string of acquistions for them. They took on a bunch of debt (and the name a couple of years later). They were OK for a few years, till the debt caught up with them. Then they had to start selling assets to pay down debt and calm a few big shareholders. Plus Katrina wiped out their New Orleans park.

So they sold their European parks and Astroworld (which they said had parking problems due to the Texans/rodeo - but was really driven by the fact that developers were salivating at the parcel). The next year they sold a bunch of other parks including Splashtown. It didn't help and Six Flags went into bankruptcy in 2008.

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Recently I went to San Antonio for the weekend and had a change to go to SeaWorld. I couldn't help but think and have always wondered "Shouldn't SeaWorld at least be by the SEA !!!" The one in SanDiego is and the one in Central Florida is surrounded by lakes and really not that far from either coast. To have a sea-life based theme park in the middle of dusty and hilly south texas hmmm..... I don't see the connection. Now if SeaWorld was in the Houston-Galveston Area that would make sense. First, there's 3 or 4 times more people in H-town, close by the water (Galveston), alot of the state marine research in done here. Not trying to put down the Alamo City but come on, having SeaWorld there is kinda weird. I think the Houston Area should at least make a pitch to the owners of SeaWorld of Texas to see if there willing to relocate from San Antonio to Houston. Maybe I'm wrong about this, just saying.

Tilman J. Fertitta

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OK I still don't get it. If your talking about numbers then I don't see how San Antonio is on top. Let's see : San Antonio metro (2.1 million), Houston metro (6.1 million). I think H-Town has a clear advantage there. The amount that do all the things you mentioned in San Antonio, we fill that up every Houston Texans game at Reliant Stadium. Am I wrong ?

Well, by your population logic, Houston should do more tourism than Orlando, New Orleans, or Las Vegas, but it doesn't really work out that way.

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Houston has tons of attractions, I too remember Sea Arama, I went once back in the late 80s, I was more impressed with the dolphin show at Astroworld, back when they had that.

Anyway, Houston attractions:

no zoning

feeder roads

first air conditioned domed stadium for baseball and football (deprecated dilapidated)

largest empty field that formerly hosted a theme park

I could go on and on, there's just so much competition in Houston when it comes to attractions, it would be impossible for any themepark to break into the market and take a share of it for their own.

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Recently I went to San Antonio for the weekend and had a change to go to SeaWorld. I couldn't help but think and have always wondered "Shouldn't SeaWorld at least be by the SEA !!!" The one in SanDiego is and the one in Central Florida is surrounded by lakes and really not that far from either coast. To have a sea-life based theme park in the middle of dusty and hilly south texas hmmm..... I don't see the connection. Now if SeaWorld was in the Houston-Galveston Area that would make sense. First, there's 3 or 4 times more people in H-town, close by the water (Galveston), alot of the state marine research in done here. Not trying to put down the Alamo City but come on, having SeaWorld there is kinda weird. I think the Houston Area should at least make a pitch to the owners of SeaWorld of Texas to see if there willing to relocate from San Antonio to Houston. Maybe I'm wrong about this, just saying.

You know, I was thinking more about this. While we are convincing SeaWorld of Texas to pick up and move, we ought to talk to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas also and convince them to move the Alamo here also.

The same reasons apply - we have 3-4 times as many people here. San Jacinto Battleground is already close by, (What a tie in - the two most famous battles of the war!) and we have plenty of room. Just look at all the empty parking lots downtown. There is plenty of room there and think what it would do for the downtown tourism and hotel industry.

Buffalo Bayou could be transformed into our version of the Riverwalk, and since Landry's already owns 1/2 the restaurants on the RW in San Antonio - it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to get him to build on our new improved ditch BayouWalk. He's alreadys started the process with Aquarium.

This could be the renaissance of Downtown that everybody on HAIF has been dreaming about!

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Houston has tons of attractions, I too remember Sea Arama, I went once back in the late 80s, I was more impressed with the dolphin show at Astroworld, back when they had that.

Anyway, Houston attractions:

no zoning

feeder roads

first air conditioned domed stadium for baseball and football (deprecated dilapidated)

largest empty field that formerly hosted a theme park

I could go on and on, there's just so much competition in Houston when it comes to attractions, it would be impossible for any themepark to break into the market and take a share of it for their own.

Dont forget:

-Tallest non-rectangular building with a statue of Linus Torvalds in a sky lobby.

-Tallest 5-sided building on the planet.

-Biggest bust of past presidents in an urban setting.

-Most number of office windows facing north outside of a downtown.

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Same could be said about Florida why does Orlando have Sea World and Miami doesn't, or why is Sea World in San Diego and not in LA. To me I think it's great that we have attractions in different cities across Texas. I could drive down to San Antonio and visit Six Flags or the riverwak and be back here in Austin the same day doing something else.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You also have to keep in mind that SeaWorld in San Antonio opened in 1988... Sea Arama in Galveston closed in 1990 if my memory serves me right. Meaning when Sea World was shopping around for a place to set up shop, not only did they need to be near established tourist attractions... But it would seem pointless to open SeaWorld in the Houston area at a time when Sea Arama was still open just down the street, on top of Astroworld, Waterworld, and Splashtown all of which were doing pretty good at the time. In the mid 80s, San Antonio probably seemed a better fit for being able to be profitable quicker. (Fiesta Texas didn't open until 1992, so Sea World had the market largely to themselves to begin with.

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  • 8 months later...

Yes. You are wrong. Have you ever found yourself salivating over the prospect of a trip to Delhi, India? They have lots of people there, too. How about Karachi, Pakistan? How about...Dallas, Texas? Maybe that's where SeaWorld should move, if SeaWorld were going to move around within Texas. Maybe not...

There is actually quite a bit to see in Delhi.

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