A unique tourist attraction opened on S. 1st Street and the bay on June 26, 1965. Known as Open Sea Marine-Land, it was the creation of John Moton, owner of the neighboring Oceanic Motel.
Moton wanted to build an up-close animal encounter with sea lions, porpoises and sea turtles with alligators and crocodiles as added attractions.
Unfortunately, the history of Marine-Land was filled with numerous animal escapes as its legacy. In August 1965 the sea lions broke out of their pens and some were never found. Others ended up in New York and Norfolk while one spent the rest of the summer in a lagoon in West Ocean City. Once the porpoises swam out of their pens in the middle of a storm, while on another occasion an alligator got loose and was found in the marsh behind 56th Street.
Marine-Land only lasted a brief time but left lots of memories of the days when sea lions, alligators, and porpoises spent the summer in Ocean City.
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Photo courtesy of Hal Adkins