The Miami Seaquarium is one of the largest landmarks in Miami, and most famous aquariums in Florida.
The Seaquarium is very large. It occupies a 38-acre facility. It is located in Miami, on the island of Virginia Key.
The Miami Seaquarium was first opened in 1955 and is the oldest “Oceanarium” in the United States. The park has been designated as a historic landmark in Miami.
The Miami Seaquarium continues to operate today, often amid controversy and reports of animal abuse and mistreatment.
The Seaquarium features a variety of wildlife, especially marine species, including:
- Sea lions
- Marine mammals
- A variety of fish and reptiles
- And more
The park also features several other shows, including:
- A dolphin show
- A sea lion show
- Wildlife habitats
- A tropical bird exhibit
The Miami Seaquarium is open to the public year-round.
The seaquarium is family-friendly and has a variety of educational programs and activities for visitors of all ages.
The Miami Seaquarium has been the subject of controversy over the years.
“It may seem like all splashes and smiles at the Miami Seaquarium, but conditions at the more than half-century-old marine park on Virginia Key are believed to be dire enough that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last month that it was stepping in to conduct an investigation amid a series of animal deaths and failing park infrastructure.” –Miami New Times
Much of the criticism is due to its treatment of marine animals, especially the enclosures and conditions in which they are kept.
Some of the main criticism is that the marine tanks and enclosures are too small, and do not provide adequate space for the animals to swim and move around.
Many experts agree that it is unacceptable and unethical to keep marine mammals in enclosures to begin with.
Animal welfare organizations have called for the park to improve the conditions for its animals, and for the park to be closed.
Many experts, and much of the public opinion, say that marine animals should not be held in captivity for entertainment purposes.
There have been frequent worries about the health and welfare of the animals, especially the dolphins and Orca whales.
There is much concern about the impacts of captivity on their behavior and well-being because they are sentient, intelligent creatures.
One major point of controversy is the continuous captivity of an orca named Lolita.
Lolita has been in captivity for almost 50 years.
“The aquarium, located in Virginia Key, Florida, has featured Lolita (also known as Tokitae), the orca at the center of controversy, since 1970. For close to 52 years she has existed in a concrete tank — the smallest orca tank in North America — and for nearly 42 of those years, has not seen another orca since the death of Hugo in 1980.” – The Dolphin Project
There have been accusations that the park has
- Mistreated animals
- Neglected their care
- Failed to provide appropriate medical treatment
There have also been reports of animals suffering from injuries and illnesses, sometimes related to the conditions in which they were kept.
It’s worth noting that the Miami Seaquarium has denied wrongdoing.
The park says that they provide a great service, including educating the public about marine life and its conservation.