Saturday, February 20, 2016

Exciting Park Expansion - Ocean Explorer - Opening in 2017 at SeaWorld San Diego

Big news has been released for SeaWorld San Diego's 2017 season with the announcement of the Ocean Explorer expansion. The addition is a "fun, interactive and educational attraction" with several components, effectively creating a new land at the park. Inside the area will be a series of research bases that contain aquariums with unique undersea creatures, and interactive exhibits.

© SeaWorld San Diego
One of the most exciting parts of Ocean Explorer and its "signature" ride will be an immersive dark ride where guests travel in submarines on a global mission of scientific discovery. "Embarking on these mini subs, visitors will become researchers on a mission to collect data and learn how they can help animals. This three-minute experience will include an onboard digital navigation dashboard, as well as a few other surprises along their journey, enhancing the riders’ understanding of the ocean ecosystem."

© SeaWorld San Diego
Along with the submarine dark ride, a new wave swinger - themed as a giant jellyfish - will twirl guests around among thousands of real bubbles in the area.  The park will also add three yet-to-be-disclosed family style rides to the Ocean Explorer area.  I would expect these to be children's rides that accommodate parents as well.

As this is SeaWorld after all, there will be a host of new animals that can be seen and interacted with in this expansion.  The concept art above shows guests checking out Japanese spider crabs, the world’s largest arthropod, in a new reef area that will have multiple viewing areas and crawl tubes. 

© SeaWorld San Diego
This piece of art shows another of Ocean Explorer's new inhabitants, a octopus.  The area will be home to different kinds of the animals, like the Giant Pacific, along with hundreds of jellyfish in several aquariums.

Ocean Explorer, the “newest, fully immersive attraction at SeaWorld San Diego is the next chapter in creating experiences that matter for our guests,” says Brian Morrow, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s vice president of theme park experience design. “Ocean Explorer demonstrates our ongoing commitment to creating new and fresh attractions, exhibits and events that provide the exciting, educational and entertaining experiences SeaWorld is known for.”

Work on the addition should begin this summer, located on a three acre plot of land in the southeast part of the park, where Animal Connections and the circle of flags are located.  The expansion will officially open in the spring of 2017.