Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
This theme park opened in 1961 as the Marine Wonderland and Animal Farm. Owner John Holer started with two steel tanks and three sea lions, but
the addition of more animals expanded the attraction. The name soon was switched to Marineland and Game Farm. Kandu the orca, or killer whale, became one of the park's
big attractions in the 1970s. Thrill rides started appearing in the 1980s. In addition to the marine life, the park currently has elk, buffalo, deer, and black bears. The King
Waldorf Stadium Show features performances by walruses, sea lions, and dolphins. The park is now officially called Marineland of Canada Inc., but is most often called Marineland or
Marineland Canada. Marineland has over 40 beluga whales, more than any other park. The park itself is huge with a
ton of wide open spaces. Nearly 1,000 acres of land are encompassed in the park's property.
Like many other zoos and aquatic parks, Marineland has had its share of controversies and protests from animal rights activists. Former employees have
claimed that the whales and seals were kept in poor conditions, yet many investigations by various authorities, including the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, have not shown any significant problems with enclosures or water quality. In the past
few years, so many claims and counterclaims have been made that I can't list them all here. Nearly a dozen orcas have been at the park, including Keiko, the whale made famous in
the 1993 Free Willy movie. Keiko performed in the park in the 1980s before Holer sold the whale to a Mexican aquarium in 1985. In one of the more recent whale episodes, Sea World sued them to
force the return of Ikaika, a killer whale that was loaned to Marineland. The Ontario Superior Court ruled that the whale must be returned to Sea World.
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