ORLANDO, Florida, USA — SeaWorld designers announced new experiences to open in 2012 at SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove, and released a few details of a massive expansion set to debut at SeaWorld in 2013. Discovery Cove is a swim-with-dolphins resort across the street from SeaWorld in Orlando. The new attractions represent the biggest attraction expansions in the history of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the parks’ parent company.
Terry Prather, president of the company’s Orlando parks, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Aquatica, said, “With TurtleTrek at SeaWorld Orlando and Freshwater Oasis at Discovery Cove, travelers will have all new reasons to visit Orlando. What we’re creating will take you places you’ve never been before, places only SeaWorld can take you.”
While creating TurtleTrek (opening at SeaWorld Orlando in spring 2012), designers stayed true to SeaWorld’s unique blend of nose-to-nose animal encounters and state-of-the art entertainment. Guests first visit two massive naturalistic habitats, one filled with hundreds of freshwater fish and gentle manatees, the other home to more than 1,500 saltwater fish and more than a dozen sea turtles. Many of the manatees and sea turtles were rescued by the park’s animal team or were born at SeaWorld. Since SeaWorld Orlando’s rescue programs began, the team has cared for and returned to the wild nearly 240 manatees and 1,000 sea turtles.
Moving on from the habitat, guests enter a domed theater. Coming to life in front of the guests is an immersive, 3-D/360-degree dome theater film. The dome allows a hyper-realistic 3-D movie to be shown all around guests and even above them. It’s this unique and immersive way of showcasing a sea turtle’s epic and astounding journey that is the heart of TurtleTrek. And for the first time, SeaWorld guests are given a turtle’s eye view of the ocean’s wonders.
Just across the street from SeaWorld Orlando is Discovery Cove, a limited-admission, all-inclusive tropical resort where guests swim with dolphins, hand-feed tropical birds in a free-flight aviary, snorkel among thousands of colorful fish and rays and relax on pristine beaches.
Opening at Discovery Cove in spring 2012 is Freshwater Oasis, an all-new attraction featuring swimming and wading adventures and face-to-face encounters with playful otters and curious marmosets. When guests participate with nature at Discovery Cove, they unlock discoveries that can be life-changing. Freshwater Oasis is an all-new opportunity to wade up-close with wildlife in a relaxing tropical setting. It’s an exhilarating tropical exhale.
Also announced was SeaWorld Orlando’s biggest-ever attraction expansion, Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin, opening spring 2013. Through the years, SeaWorld Orlando has taken guests to far-flung corners of the globe, immersing them in the character and feel of exotic places and introducing them to unique worlds of adventure.
At the park’s “Wild Arctic” guests ride a simulated jet copter to the frozen north, into a habitat of polar bears, beluga whales and huge walruses. “Key West at SeaWorld” sets guests down in the funky ambience of the Florida Keys, with dolphins, stingrays and colorful birds. The rocky northern California coast is found at “Pacific Point Preserve,” with dozens of seals and sea lions. The park’s other attractions take guests into the worlds of sharks, sea turtles and manatees, or let guests soar like a ray on the Manta roller coaster or ride the back of a mythical beast, the Kraken.
But, says SeaWorld, no journey is bigger — or as incredible — as the one to come in 2013. “It’s a voyage to the bottom-of-the-world, to the coldest and windiest continent, to a place of ice more than 9,000 feet thick. It’s a journey to Antarctica and to the empire of the penguin.… Guests will be surrounded by the sights, sounds and awesome encounters found in this frozen place, embarking on a one-of-a-kind ride and an incredible family adventure.”
The goal is to deliver an experience of the mystery and wonder of life on the ice through the eyes of a penguin, sensing the beauty and drama of their sometimes-dangerous habitat. Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin combines close-up animal connections with state-of-the-art interactive ride technologies for adventures that are different each time. Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin is also being billed as “the coldest theme park attraction in the world.”
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment inspires people to celebrate, connect, and care for the natural world through the power of entertainment. The company owns and operates 10 parks across the United States, as well as the newly formed SeaWorld Pictures division. The parks play host to 23 million guests a year and provide lasting memories through up-close animal encounters, world-class shows and rides, and high-quality themed attractions. Locations include SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg.
A global leader in animal care and conservation, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment cares for more than 60,000 animals including 200 endangered or threatened species. This commitment extends to animals around the world: The company has contributed more than $50 million to conservation, wildlife rescue and environmental stewardship initiatives and operates one of the world’s most respected animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. SeaWorld has rescued more than 18,000 orphaned, injured or ill animals over four decades. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment employs 20,000 people nationwide and is a portfolio company of The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX).