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Culture / Travel

SeaWorld San Antonio’s New Attractions Make Waves as the Texas Theme Park Wars Heat Up

It's All About Bigger and Better Thrills

BY
photography SeaWorld San Antonio

SeaWorld San Antonio is taking things to a new sea level. The sometimes maligned theme park is unveiling a trio of high-profile new attractions on May 3. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or an animal-lover, there’s supposed to be something for you.

Turtle Reef is the crowning jewel, an equally immersive and educational attraction. The whopping 126,000-gallon tank offers impressive aquarium floor-to-ceiling views of marine life.

Endangered and threatened rescued sea turtles will swim and play among a thriving coral reef habitat populated with hundreds of Caribbean fish. Think unbelievable sights, coupled with info on environmental stewardship.

Turtle Reef comes as a collaboration between the aqua-park and The University of Texas Marine Science Institute’s Rehabilitation Keep, or ARK. Five percent of the net proceeds from turtle merchandise sold at the park will go to ARK.

The nonprofit is devoted to protecting coastal wildlife in South Texas, like the rescued sea turtles that were previously vulnerable to becoming cold-stunned from sudden cold weather snaps.

From a technical standpoint, Turtle Reed also wows. It boasts a unique natural bio-filtration system, the only one of its kind in a zoological site in the country.

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“Our guests will not only learn about amazing sea turtles but also how all of us can improve ocean health,” SeaWorld San Antonio senior aquarist Chris Havel says in a statement.

For the adventurous, there are a couple new rides to get the adrenaline pumping. Sea Swinger, which gives park-goers a whirl on a massive swinging pendulum, is sure to offer incredible views of the entire park, thanks to a bold 180 degrees in motion.

Meanwhile, the eco-friendly Riptide Rescue has visitors boarding an airborne pontoon to recover reptiles.

This is just another entry in the long list of Lone Star State theme park updates, like Six Flags’ Wet ‘N’ Wild SplashTown takeover, and the emergence (eventually) of Houston area newcomer Grand Texas Theme Park.

You could say they’re all making quite the splash. It’s amusement park season. Buckle up.

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