ORLANDO — Muppets fans are going to have more places to ask the question, “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. and the nonprofit behind Sesame Street announced Thursday that they are expanding their partnership to build another theme park by 2021, and possibly add more U.S. parks in the years beyond.
SeaWorld and Sesame Workshop, which run decades-old educational and entertainment brands trying to adjust to 21st century tastes, are extending their almost-four-decade partnership through 2031.
During that time, SeaWorld will build a second Sesame Place theme park to complement its existing location outside Philadelphia, open a Sesame Street land in its SeaWorld Orlando park by 2022 and possibly build more Sesame Place parks throughout the United States. Sesame Street lands already are in SeaWorld’s two Busch Gardens parks and two SeaWorld parks in San Diego and San Antonio.
For SeaWorld, the park expansion is a way to diversify its offerings as the company pulls back from the use of orcas that were the subject of intense protests by animal rights groups.
SeaWorld ended its orca breeding program last year after years of declining attendance and pressure from activists following the 2013 release of the critical documentary “Blackfish.” The documentary chronicled the life of Tilikum, an orca that killed a SeaWorld trainer during a performance in Orlando in 2010. The movie implied that killer whales become more aggressive in captivity.
“We do want to continue to diversify, and strategically, I think that’s the main point,” said Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld…
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