SeaWorld announced Tuesday plans to open its first park without orcas in Abu Dhabi.
Set to open in 2022, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will also be their first location outside of the U.S., and will join other major attractions on Yas Island like Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, and the Yas Marina Circuit.
The new marine park will be the first of its kind for Yas Island. Miral Asset Management, working with U.A.E. developers, will create the new park with large-scale attractions, aquariums, and high-tech experiences for visitors.
Details are still scarce on what the park will look like, but customers can expect up-close animal encounters and experiences, and a dedicated research, rescue, rehabilitation and return center focusing on the habitats of marine life in the area, according to SeaWorld.
SeaWorld announced it would stop bringing in and mating orcas after receiving backlash from animal rights activists, particularly surrounding the release of the “Blackfish” documentary in 2013, according to Reuters.
While the removal of orcas is a point of interest with the new park, the park’s opening is still a concern for animal rights groups like PETA.
“In a country with a state-of-the-art Formula One racetrack, the world's fastest roller coaster, and buildings that push the limits of architectural imagination, tiny tanks filled with miserable animals couldn't look more out of date or out of place,” said Tracy Reiman, PETA’s executive vice president, in a statement.
Reiman recommended Abu Dhabi focus on new technological innovations that include 3D mapping and virtual reality to inspire and entice tourists.
SeaWorld is still finalizing details on the park and will release more information regarding coming attractions.