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SeaWorld Orlando launches Sea of Surprises: Scenes from March 21 celebration

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On March 21, SeaWorld Orlando joined its sister parks in San Diego and San Antonio to launch the Sea of Surprises celebration in honor of the company's 50th birthday. The event, which will continue for the next 18 months, means brand-new entertainment, more animal encounters, and daily prizes awarded at random to guests in the park by the Surprise Squad.

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Click the slideshow accompanying this article for scenes from the kick-off celebration, with took place in a stream of bright bubbles floating in the area. SeaWorld Orlando honored its charter pass holders and had performers from shows like One Ocean, Clyde & Seamore, and Blue Horizons greeting guests. There were several animal ambassadors on hand, too, and well as Shamu himself.

The park's president, Terry Prather, talked about what guests can expect over the next 18 months, and he reiterated the commitment to animal rescue. Over the past 50 years, SeaWorld has rescued around 23,000 animals, ranging from pilot whales to dolphins to manatees to sea turtles.

There's more fun still to come, as the new night time orca show, Shamu's Celebration: Light Up the Night, starts on June 21. In the meantime, watch for Bubble Blowout and Splash Dance, two mobile shows that will take place around the park. Beware, as Splash Dance just might get you wet!

There's lots of fun merchandise on sale in the 50th anniversary shop near the front of the park. Jump to this article to see it. If you'd like to see some of the animal ambassadors up close, go here. For the giant sculptures made from ocean trash, jump here.

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