SeaQuest Fort Worth is a crummy mall aquarium in Texas that forces wild animals to endure a barrage of dangerous encounters with visitors—and much like the other SeaQuest locations across the country, it has been plagued by animal welfare issues. Since its opening in 2017, it’s been the site of dozens of dangerous interactions that have led to injuries to staff and the public.
SeaQuest Fort Worth Knowingly Puts Animals and Visitors in Danger
SeaQuest is a chain of direct-contact mall aquariums that put visitors, employees, and the animals confined there at risk. These facilities are breeding grounds for bacteria, and wild animals may act in self-defense when they’re forced into unnatural and likely distressing interactions with humans. SeaQuest Fort Worth has a chronic history of allowing apparently distressed wild animals to injure visitors.
Incidents in Which Animals Have Injured Guests at SeaQuest Fort Worth
- June 6, 2022: The mother of an infant who was injured at SeaQuest Fort Worth told PETA that her child was bitten by a blue-and-yellow grouper after dipping her hand into a shallow stingray touch tank, leaving bloody scrapes across three of her fingers. Staff apparently placed the fish in the stingray touch tank because the animal was displaying signs of aggression in a previous tank. The mother told PETA that after the incident, an employee responded: “I wish I could tell you this is the first time this has happened.”
- June 5, 2022: A mother told PETA that her 3-year-old toddler was rushed to the emergency room after sustaining gaping wounds when an iguana “jumped from a rock and latched [onto] his arm.” According to her, no employees were supervising at the time of the attack. She said that while she was “freak[ing] out and bawling” because of how bad the wound was, her boyfriend had to go look for help in the employee break room, where four employees apparently looked at him like he was crazy until he mentioned the bite. The family reportedly was offered a bandage and waited 10 minutes for staff to respond but eventually gave up and went to the hospital. She also said that it took two days for SeaQuest to respond after reporting the incident to the business’s human resources department.
- January 20, 2021: During an encounter, a sloth bit a visitor who was reportedly trying to pet the animal’s head. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited the facility for the incident, as well as for confining a sloth to an enclosure made of materials that were “stained and dirty and [could not] be adequately cleaned.”
- December 2, 2020: A child who was able to reach over the side of the capybara enclosure was bitten, resulting in a bleeding wound on their palm. In February and June 2021, the USDA issued the facility repeat citations for failing to have sufficient distance and/or barriers between the animals and the public. The USDA also noted that because of incomplete records, the whereabouts of two capybaras and an otter’s cause of death were unknown.
- February 25, 2020: A coatimundi named Rocket jumped on a child during a public interaction and scratched or bit the child’s lip.
- November 18, 2019: Following a USDA inspection in which a coatimundi grabbed an inspector’s arm with their mouth “before the attendant was able to restrain [the animal],” the agency issued SeaQuest a repeat citation for inappropriately handling animals.
- February and March 2019: An otter named Xander injured visitors on multiple occasions. On March 30, 2019, he bit a visitor’s leg, leaving tooth marks and causing soreness, redness, and a rash. On February 23, 2019, he bit a 6-year-old. He’d already inflicted two minor wounds on visitors prior to both of these incidents, which the USDA cited the facility for.
- October 2017–2018: A capybara bit and scratched multiple members of the public who were allowed to go into the animal’s enclosure. The USDA issued a “teachable moment,” noting that even the presence of an employee hadn’t stopped the bites and scratches.
Want to Speak Up for Animals at SeaQuest Fort Worth?
You can start by never visiting this facility or any other SeaQuest location. Wild animals don’t want to be imprisoned in sleazy shopping mall aquariums, at petting zoos, or at other roadside attractions that allow strangers to poke and prod them. Tell SeaQuest to stop exploiting animals and send them to reputable facilities now: