Sea World officials also attribute the increase to a variety of new shows, including an ice-skating extravaganza choreographed by Olympic champion Scott Hamilton and several nighttime shows featuring killer whales, sea lions and dolphins. Although usually open only until 5 p.m., Sea World has extended its hours until 11 p.m. since June 24.
Although Cabrillo National Monument has been charging admission fees--$3 per vehicle; $1 per pedestrian/bicyclist--since March, 1987, the effect of such fees on attendance has become clearly evident this year.
Through the end of July, 917,638 visitors have gone to the national monument at the southern edge of Point Loma, said Chief Ranger Howard Overton, an 11% drop from the same period last year, when 1,064,131 visited Cabrillo.
"Visitation is declining slightly at this park, and we attribute the decline primarily to the fact that we're collecting fees now," Overton said.
From 1984 to 1987, Cabrillo enjoyed annual attendance increases, reaching a peak of 1,772,037, Overton said. But the following year, in 1988--the first full year admission fees were collected--the growth pattern, Overton said. Attendance dropped to 1,674,004.