Tanks will never be appropriate homes for orcas. In the wild, these aquatic giants love to dive nearly 1,000 feet and may travel up to 140 miles every day! It’s no wonder that in captivity, they suffer from rotting-skin infections, go insane, and have even killed trainers—what would happen to you if you were forced to live in a bathtub?
SeaWorld’s claim that its tiny tanks—which range from only 8 to 34 feet in depth and are roughly 170 feet long*—are suitable enclosures for orcas is deceitful. To put that in perspective, here are seven things that are bigger than the marine park’s tanks:
1. Its Own Parking Lots
This disgraceful disparity has been the subject of memes for quite some time now. SeaWorld San Antonio also had the audacity to build an artificial lake for water-skiing shows that dwarfs the adjacent orca tank.
2. A Bowling Lane
Since bowling lanes are 60 feet long, “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski could actually roll a ball nearly twice as far as orcas can dive in SeaWorld’s deepest tank.
3. The Distance From Home Plate to First Base
Baseball players run 90 feet between bases, much farther than an orca can dive at SeaWorld.
4. One Block
A mere city block is roughly twice as long as SeaWorld’s largest tank at its busiest park—in Orlando, Florida.
5. The Wingspan of a Boeing 747 Airplane
Coming in at 224 feet, the 747’s wingspan dwarfs SeaWorld’s orca tanks.
6. The Distance That Toddlers Walk in a Day
Mere toddlers—between 12 and 19 months old—can walk a distance that puts the length of orca tanks at SeaWorld to shame. Experts have observed that these tiny tikes can walk up to 2.6 miles a day. That’s 13,558 feet farther than the length of a tank.
7. A Football Field
Shameful. An orca tank isn’t even half of 360 feet of gridiron.
In contrast, on any given day in the wild, orcas can travel about half the length of the entire Grand Canyon—or more than the distance from Los Angeles to Tijuana, Mexico. At SeaWorld, they’d have to swim the lengths of their tank roughly 4,348 times to cover the distance that they might in the ocean.