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Published on March 28th, 2011 | by simeon

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SeaWorld San Diego to Deliver Boatloads of Fun in 2011 and Beyond

As part of the upcoming 5th issue of our magazine, we wanted to share one of the articles from it with you.

Spread across 189 acres on beautiful Mission Bay Park, SeaWorld San Diego is known for spectacular animal shows, interactive attractions, aquariums, rides, beautiful landscaping, dining facilities and education programs for all ages. And of course, Shamu! Dave Koontz, SeaWorld San Diego’s communications director, was kind enough to answer a few questions about new developments and updates to one of the most popular marine-parks in the world.

What is new with SeaWorld this summer and what can guests look forward to?

Opening Memorial Day Weekend is an all-new Shamu show, “One Ocean” which features SeaWorld’s majestic killer whales as ambassadors of the sea, and the ocean as the center of our natural world. The show connects guests with these remarkable animals and immerses the audience in the vivid colors and sensations of the underwater world. At the core of the show is the unifying message that both animals and humans are part of one world, with one ocean, and its future is in our hands to cherish and protect. This new show is the essence of what guests love about our parks. It brings to life SeaWorld’s mission of education and conservation in the most powerful way yet.

What future expansions are planned for the park?

SeaWorld San Diego is excited to announce that in 2012, it will unveil its new launch coaster, Manta — a new mega-attraction that will seamlessly transition guests from the awe of watching rays in underwater flight into the sensation of actually being one. Swooping over sea and sky, Manta will not only inspire riders with amazing underwater animal habitats, but take them on an exhilarating ride on a roller coaster shaped like a giant manta ray. We are delighted to bring energizing new attractions to our guests year after year, and Manta does just that combining the thrill and excitement of a coaster, with the educational and entertaining value of an incredible marine-life exhibit.

What can you tell us about the planned Sea Turtle attraction?

Coming in summer 2011 is Turtle Reef, an amazing interactive attraction that gives guests an up-close look at more than 60 sea turtles, as well as an immersion into the life cycle of these threatened and endangered species. The focal point of Turtle Reef is a 300,000-gallon aquarium featuring hawksbill and green sea turtles. Also included will be interactive games, a touch-screen tracking map, and a ride that takes passengers on a rescue mission of their own.

As guests make their way through Turtle Reef, they will take a journey through the life cycle of sea turtles, learning about where they live, how they nest, what they eat and what threats they face. The total immersive experience also will include a game called Race for the Beach, and a touch screen map, Turtlelink, where guests can learn about sea turtle tracking and SeaWorld’s rescue efforts and conservation. Riptide Rescue, a new ride just outside the aquarium, is a flat spinner ride that will take passengers on a rescue mission of their own.

The new sea turtle attraction will also illustrate how trash and pollution can affect the species, with two cylindrically-shaped aquariums: one with jellyfish and one with trash that can be mistaken for food. This exhibit will help illustrate how sea turtles often confuse trash for food and can die after ingesting these items.
Thad Dirksen, SeaWorld San Diego Curator of Fishes, expalined it best when he said, “I think it’s important that our guests can learn that they too can play a role in keeping trash and pollution out of the sea turtles’ ocean environment.”

I am a big fan of your rides like Shipwreck Rapids and Journey to Atlantis. How tricky is it to balance adding new and exciting rides but not losing your identity as an marine-park?

Manta, which will also have significant focus on animals, is very consistent with our goals and values of education and inspiring guests, while at the same time being entertaining and creating fun and memorable experiences. I think Manta is a perfect complement to the rest of the park and all that SeaWorld has to offer its guests.

What can you tell the readers about Cirque de le Mer?

“Cirque de la Mer’ is a great show and it will be back this summer for its 11th season. It’s so unique because it’s a cirque-style show, but it’s performed right over Mission Bay.

Can you tell us about what we can expect for Halloween and Christmas as we understand you have special events planned.

More and more, we’re offering our guests a reason to come back each season at SeaWorld and this year is no different. For Halloween, we have our Spooktacular event back, bigger and better than ever, with Halloween-themed shows, family-friendly characters, trick-or-treating and more. Parents love it because it’s a safe and fun environment for kids to come out in costume and enjoy some Halloween fun, SeaWorld style.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration will return again this year with more holiday festivities and decorations than before. We’ll have our ice skating rink again, our 4-D movie ‘The Polar Express 4-D Experience.’ We’ve got holiday shows including “Shamu’s Christmas,” “Pets Tails,” and ‘Clyde and Seamore’s Night Before Christmas.’ SeaWorld is the place to be for the holiday season.

How much planning does it take to create a new show for the park and what are some of the criteria you use for selecting a new show and determining which ones will be retired or altered?

We are constantly refreshing the park. Every year, we try to present a new show, attraction or exhibit to our guests. Sometimes we’ll open multiple new attractions in single year. It’s important to keep the park fresh and new. Generally speaking we replace animal shows about every 4 to 8 years. For example, the “Once Ocean” Shamu show is replacing the “Believe” Shamu show after a five-year run. It can be a long or short process to create a new animal show. Sometimes it takes many years and in other cases a show refresh may take months. It depends on the scope and complexity of the project. A new Shamu shows can take years to get from concept, to creative development, to planning, to executing, to opening. On the other hand, we’ve created new Sea Lion and Otter shows, going through a similar process, in several months.


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