Miami Seaquarium

The Miami Seaquarium is a 38-acre (15 ha) oceanarium located on the island of Virginia Key in Biscayne Bay, Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States and is located near downtown Miami. It is the longest operating oceanarium in the United States. In addition to the marine mammals, the Miami Seaquarium also houses various fish, sharks, sea turtles, birds, reptiles and manatees. The park offers eight different marine animal shows and presentations daily and attracts over 600,000 visitors per year. The park employs over 225 full and part-time employees. It is the third largest contributor to Miami-Dade County’s revenue through land lease payments and taxes.


In 1945, as construction of a causeway to Virginia Key was nearing completion, the county offered to give the University of Miami the land adjacent to the Miami Seaquarium for a marine lab in exchange for UM operating a proposed new aquarium. However, the aquarium project was delayed when a municipal bond referendum failed, so UM leased the land instead in 1951, and was separated from the proposed aquarium. The park was founded by Fred D. Coppock and Captain W.B. Gray and was the second marine-life attraction in South Florida. Upon its grand opening in 1955, it was the largest marine-life attraction in the world. From 1963 through 1967, 88 television episodes and two movies starring Flipper were filmed at Miami Seaquarium.

Lolita (Tokitae) the Killer Whale

One of Miami Seaquarium's attractions is Lolita, also known as Tokitae, the park's female orca. Lolita was captured in August of 1970 in the waters of Pudget Sound in Washington State. She was then sold to the Miami Seaquarium and she arrived there on September 24, 1970.


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