No News is Bad News. Join the SA Current Press Club.

Current 25: SeaWorld and Highway 151 

1986-1990

click to enlarge 1155137.jpg

When William Jovanovich announced in early 1985 that San Antonio was to be the site of the next SeaWorld theme park, he declared that the city would be the next Orlando. And after years of rumors that the Disney organization would bring the next Disney World to San Antonio, the news seemed to put the city on the threshold of becoming a major international visitor destination. Jovanovich promised a year-round park, drawing three million annual visitors to start and reaching five million as the park and San Antonio grew in stature. His consultant, Harrison “Buzz” Price was less optimistic, forecasting just 1.5 million attendees. That conclusion got Price fired. We got a park that started strong with 2.9 million visitors. By the third year attendance was down to 1.45 million, about where it’s stayed since. We did get Fiesta Texas. But we never became Orlando, and likely never will.

We also go a new road, Highway 151, the Raymond Stotzer Freeway, from near downtown out to the new SeaWorld. And if 151 ended up not clogged with tourists meandering between Shamu and the River Walk, it did open up the Westover Hills area for a massive spurt of development. We didn’t get a flood of tourists. We got a deluge of new houses.

San Antonio Current works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of San Antonio and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep San Antonio's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 13, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation