Spectacular Nature: Corporate Culture and the Sea World Experience

Spectacular Nature: Corporate Culture and the Sea World Experience, a book by Susan G. Davis, looks at the social construction of nature in Sea World of San Diego. She examines how ocean life in the park has been shaped by its corporate sponsors, its local context in San Diego, its ties to environmental education, and though not directly, media forms such as television and film. She writes:

“Television was central to the construction of the attraction and the city. For Sea World, it directly helped create exoticism and visibility. The park’s developers learned well from watching Disneyland: they connected the park to the dominant national medium by making its landscape resemble that of popular network programs like Adventures in Paradise. And from the beginning, they filmed TV shows in the park.”

Sea World is not only constructed in a way that draws from (and engages with) popular television (a spectacular but family friendly show, centered on ocean celebrities), but also serves as a set for future television and film. This was integral to getting the national audience necessary to keep Sea World afloat.

Even today, new media technologies, such as immersive worlds and large screen video, have continued to influence and become integrated with the park, assisting in the creation of ocean space as another (exotic) world.

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