SeaWorld offers “up close” tours of orcas

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — SeaWorld Orlando is now offering “up-close” tours of its killer whales where visitors hear stories from trainers and are educated about the habits of orcas.

The new “Killer Whale Up-Close Tour” announced Tuesday is another move by the theme park toward education and away from orca shows.

During the 45-minute tours, visitors will also watch husbandry demonstrations and learn the whales’ health care and feeding habits.

Reservations are required for the tours, which cost $79 per person and aren’t included in the regular admission ticket.

SeaWorld moved toward an emphasis on education following years of protests by animal rights activists, the documentary “Blackfish” and the 2010 death of a trainer, who was drowned by a whale.

The company has ended orca shows and stopped breeding orcas.

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