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A Reunion that I’m really looking forward to

By Ken May

On March 22nd, 2014, Sea World will be hosting all former and current employees to their 50th Anniversary Reunion at Sea World of San Diego. This event will actually occur 50 years and one day after the park first opened its doors.

I worked at Sea World right out of high school from the summer of 1974 through 1982. I started in the Rides Department working on the Skyride for one and a half years until I transferred into the Animal Behavior Department to become a marine mammal trainer.

By the time I left Sea World, I had graduated from the University of San Diego, gotten married (my wife worked at the gift carts behind the Seal and Otter Show), and had a beautiful baby girl. It was when I left Sea World that I opened my first insurance agency on Hill Street (now South Coast Highway) in Oceanside.

Sea World has been getting some bad press lately after the showing of Blackfish on CNN. A little bit of it was warranted while a lot of it was not. I am not going to go into that this month but plan on giving you my thoughts on the matter within the next couple of months.

Today, I’ll just say that I can’t wait to see friends that I’ve had for over 35 years. Many will be flying in from all over the country and some from other countries. The gentleman who is putting this all together is John Spafford who I worked with while a trainer and performer at the Shamu Show.

Our Sea World group on Facebook has over 1000 members and everybody is buzzing about the reunion! John mentioned that there will be a display at the park filled with old photos plus a video of Sea World through the years. I know of one picture that will be displayed of my mentor, Dave Self and I getting ready backstage at the Seal and Otter Circus show. Dave was preparing to be the ringmaster while I was donning the suit of clothes to be Boo Boo the Clown. I was 20 years old in the photo but looked like I was 12.

I really hope that the video has footage of me performing in the Shamu Goes to College Show. I would really like to obtain some footage to show my kids and my granddaughter.

My time spent working at Sea World was so special to me. I made lifelong friends, had experiences that some can only dream about, met my wife there, and best of all, I had the opportunity to work with and enjoy a variety of animals including Killer Whales, Beluga Whales, California Sea Lions, Dolphins, Malaysian Otters, Penguins, Pacific Pilot Whales, and Elephant Seals.

I can’t wait until March 22nd because the old gang will be there to pick up where we left off all those years ago!

Posted 3:36 PM  View Comments

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