Friday, July 25, 2014

Niagara Journalist Details Marineland's Death Spiral

It is one thing to hear about Marineland's long miserable decline as a star tourist attraction in Niagara Falls from its usual detractors or from the general public on Trip Advisor or perhaps from friends who have personally visited there.  But as one long time Niagara Falls journalist recently found out its surreal seeing it for yourself.

In a story appearing on the front pages of all Niagara's major newspapers today reporter John Law wrote about his experience visiting Marineland for the first time in decades. Showing up unannounced, incognito and just like any other paying customer, his story attempts to cut through all the recent rhetoric and controversy that surrounds the captive animal facility and focus on the value received as a visitor and how the facility is looking.

What Law saw was what many have been hearing about for a long time. Outrageous admission and activity costs, broken down rides, closed facilities, sad looking animals with no purpose and lots and lots of empty space where visitors should be. He describes it in the article as almost apocalyptic:

"Inside, I headed towards the deer park, and immediately felt like I was in The Walking Dead. No one around. Like, anywhere. It would be understandable in October, but this was Niagara Falls in the thick of summer. For months I’d been hearing about a steep decline in attendance at Marineland. Now I was seeing it firsthand, and it was…weird."
Marineland has made a lot of 'coming soon' announcements over the years and Law did not hesitate to point out the broken promises. In his article he noted an almost two decade old billboard touting an aquarium attraction that never materialized.

Perhaps the most poignant part of Law's experience however was visiting Canada's last remaining captive orca, Kiska. Alone in her tank now for many years John Law came face to face with what Marineland has come to represent:

"Kiska doesn’t even seem real. She may as well be a black and white robot swimming methodically in circles in her tiny tank. Why is she here? What purpose does it serve? I watched her and felt an instant lump in my throat. An animal this beautiful and awe-inspiring shouldn’t be reduced to such a solitary life. It just can’t."

You can read the full story with photos here:

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