SeaWorld said about 24 million people attended its 11 parks during the 12 months ended Sept. 30. The company did not disclose how that figure has grown or shrank in the past few years, but says it has a "stable attendance base." In the first nine months of 2012, SeaWorld's profit jumped 73 percent to $86.2 million from $50 million a year earlier, as revenue rose nearly 8 percent to $1.16 billion.
Some of the company's competitors have had a difficult climb back from the recession. Amusement park operator Six Flags Entertainment Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009, emerging in mid-2010. It has been growing revenue since then, although it posted a loss in 2011.
SeaWorld, which plans to trade under the ticker "SEAS" on the Nasdaq, did not name a date for its IPO or detail how many shares will be sold, and at what price, in its filing with regulators. But SeaWorld did warn investors of the risks involved with having its animals interact with human visitors, noting that accidents could hurt its parks' reputation and attendance. In 2010, a trainer at its SeaWorld Orlando park was killed by an orca, or killer, whale. Last month an 8-year-old Georgia girl said a dolphin at the same Orlando park bit her hand while she fed the animal as part of an attraction.