The Miami Seaquarium is a 38-acre (15 ha) oceanarium located on the island of Virginia Key in Biscayne Bay, Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States and is located near downtown Miami. Founded in 1955, it is the oldest oceanarium in the United States. In addition to marine mammals, the Miami Seaquarium houses fish, sharks, sea turtles, birds, reptiles, and manatees. The park offers daily presentations and hosts overnight camps, events for boy scouts, and group programs. Over 500,000 people visit the facility annually. The park has around 225 employees, and its lease payments and taxes make it the third-largest contributor to Miami-Dade County’s revenue.
The park was founded by Fred D. Coppock and Captain W.B. Gray and was the second marine-life attraction in South Florida. When it opened in 1955, it was the largest marine-life attraction in the World. From 1963 through 1967, eighty-eight episodes of the 1960s TV show "Flipper" and two movies starring Flipper were filmed at the Miami Seaquarium.
Lolita (Tokitae) the Killer Whale
One of the Miami Seaquarium's attractions is Lolita, one of the world's oldest captive orcas. She is currently the park's only orca. Lolita arrived at the Miami Seaquarium in 1970, where she joined the park's first orca, Hugo. On January 24, 2014 the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed amending the Endangered Species Act to remove the exception that did not include Lolita as part of the ESA-listed Southern Resident population of orcas that live in Washington State and British Columbia waters. Activists, who proposed such an action to the NMFS in 2013, are hopeful that this might lead to an eventual release and reuniting with her pod which is believed to include her mother.