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SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

P. 276: Penguin Trek construction update!

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^ The Mountian Dew thing occurred to me at Shamu stadium last night, I do love a nice cold Sprite though. Tilikum is very noticeably absent from the show. The folks at Seaworld have to be sweating that whole thing big time. Anyone on this forum would be lucky to get the healthcare that whale is getting right now.


I have been making a point to visit the penguins even though, you know, they smell like fermented bird crap. I have been courted with by a penguin at Seaworld her name was Lily and she was lovely. She was apparently quite into me, so I got that goin on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has sent us a press release regarding their new deal for the 2012 Preschool Pass!


It’s an awesome time to be a preschooler! Children age five and younger can now explore the depths of the ocean and the wonders of Africa for FREE with the new SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Preschool Pass. Little ones will experience kid-size thrills at Busch Gardens' Sesame Street Safari of Fun and SeaWorld's Shamu’s Happy Harbor play areas, get up close to their favorite furry and feathered friends in addition to seeing new shows brought to life.


The pass is good for all of 2012 at both SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Kids are welcome to experience all there is to do for the preschool set, along with the chance to enjoy seasonal events including SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular and festive holiday events at both parks. New this year is SeaWorld’s all-new festival that’s “Just for Kids!” featuring concerts by Lazy Town, Max & Ruby, the Doodlebops and Choo Choo Soul, along with plenty of family-friendly fun and activities on Saturdays, Jan. 14 through Feb. 4. And Busch Gardens will delight guests with its biggest ice show ever, Iceploration, premiering this February.


Parents and older kids can join in on all the excitement with a Fun Card, when they pay for a day and come back all year through Dec. 31, 2012, with no blackout dates.


“Must-see” preschool attractions at SeaWorld Orlando


SeaWorld’s littlest guests can enjoy the wildly popular 4-acre play area, Shamu’s Happy Harbor. It’s a kid’s dream come true, complete with kid-size rides, a 4-story net climb, and a great place for parents to relax while watching their kids have splashes of fun. The park’s first family-oriented roller coaster, “Shamu Express” can be found here along with other kiddie rides to explore.


Of course no visit to SeaWorld is complete without being splashed by Shamu! SeaWorld’s newest killer whale show, “One Ocean,” features majestic whales performing spectacular behaviors, including thrilling high-energy leaps, while educating and inspiring kids and their families to make a difference in this world. And at “Blue Horizons” kids will be awed by graceful dolphins, false killer whales, a rainbow of exotic birds, and entire cast of divers and aerialists.


Kid-favorite “Pets Ahoy!” will leave children giggling as a menagerie of rescued dogs, cats, birds, rats, skunks, pot-belly pigs, and other animals performing a series of uproarious and amazing skits.


While older kids are flying, gliding and soaring on Manta, younger ones can experience the incredible underwater world of tropical fish and rays in the floor-to-ceiling aquariums. Manta’s underwater viewing area is home to more than 3,000 species. Kids can even “pop up” in the middle of a small aquarium, surrounding themselves with hundreds of fish for some great photos.


At Dolphin Cove, kids (and parents) can touch and feed dolphins and also go below the surface for an underwater view where they just might see a dolphin blowing a bubble or two!


Plus, SeaWorld features a cozy Baby Care Center located at Shamu’s Happy Harbor with top-of-the-line changing facilities, private feeding rooms and pint-sized potties. This brightly-colored building gives parents the privacy and comfort of a home-away-from home in the middle of all the fun and is a one-stop shop for baby necessities.


Busch Garden loves kids, too!


Don’t forget this awesome new FREE Preschool Pass also includes Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Just a short hour’s drive away, in addition to all the wondrous animal encounters at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, preschoolers will delight in Sesame Street Safari of Fun, a sunny funny play land, filled with moments that your family can share for the first time — like a first coaster experience aboard Air Grover. And everyday smiles can be repeated time after time —clapping along to original shows, splashing in our expansive water play area and enjoying kid-size rides.


Sign up today!


The Free SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Pass is an exclusive online offer, available at SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampaBay.com. It is exclusively for Florida residents ages 5 and younger and is valid for unlimited admission – with no blackout dates – through Dec. 31, 2012 at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The Preschool Pass does not include parking or Premium Passport discounts or benefits.


After registering through either park’s website, registrants can pick up the Preschool Pass for their child by bringing a printed confirmation and a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate to any ticket window at SeaWorld’s or Busch Gardens’ front gate.


For more information on the Free SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Pass, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampaBay.com.


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SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment this month boosted employee salaries across the board, the first pay raise for company workers in more than a year. The raises follow a 2011 in which the Orlando-based theme-park operator said it produced record earnings. The raises totaled 3 percent, according to one recipient. SeaWorld, the parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks, has approximately 5,700 employees in Central Florida.


A corporate spokesman confirmed the increases Thursday. "While we do not discuss compensation or benefits publicly, we can confirm that the company has implemented an across-the-board salary increase for 2012 for both hourly and salaried employees, acknowledging the contributions made by the industry's best team members," SeaWorld Parks spokesman Fred Jacobs said.


SeaWorld, which operates 10 theme- and water parks in five states, said it generated record revenue and earnings in 2011. Executives at SeaWorld Orlando, the company's biggest theme park, also said this week that the marine park just completed the strongest December in its history.


It's a turnaround from a year ago. Company attendance and earnings fell in 2010, prompting SeaWorld to freeze employee pay through 2011.

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^^And even more brilliant, they're marketing directly in the preschools!


KT got a lunch box and goodies along with a flyer for the preschool pass and the upcoming shows. What a nice deal! Too bad KT's already got her Platinum Pass! We will be checking out the shows for sure though.

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We’re excited to share the first of many “webisodes” about the different aspects of TurtleTrek, opening this spring at SeaWorld Orlando. From this overview to dome construction to animation and the animals you'll find here, these videos will give you an insider’s look into how this amazing attraction will come to life.


Remember, TurtleTrek is going to be the world’s first 3D, 360-degree domed theater experience that takes you on a sea turtle’s incredible journey and invites you to become an everyday hero. Take a look…



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SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment today announced James M. Heaney, former Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance and Travel Operations for Disney Cruise Line, will join the company as Chief Financial Officer.


Heaney brings nearly 25 years of finance, analysis and operations experience to his new role. The bulk of his career has been spent in the travel industry, initially with Royal Caribbean Cruises and later with the Walt Disney Company. Before leaving Disney in 2011, Heaney had risen to CFO with additional responsibility in Revenue Management, Travel Operations, and Risk Management for the company's cruise division. In that role he managed the cruise line's call center, air/sea department, terminal operations and ground transportation system.


"Jim will be a great addition to the senior leadership group at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment," said Jim Atchison, President and Chief Executive Officer. "In addition to the significant roles he has played in managing a large and complex organization, he also brings experience in other types of travel businesses and has proven skills in leading functions outside the traditional scope of finance."


Heaney played a key leadership role in the launch of Disney's cruise business and made significant contributions in finance and operations as Disney Cruise Line evolved into one of the segment's most prominent operators.


Prior to joining Disney in 1994, Heaney worked as a finance manager for Royal Caribbean Cruises, where he provided analysis, projections and strategic planning services for the company's operations segment. Heaney began his career with Gould Electronics as a financial systems analyst and moved to Pueblo Xtra International, a grocery store chain based in South Florida, in 1989.


At SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Heaney will lead the company's Finance, Strategic Sourcing, Procurement, Accounts Payable, Internal Audit, and Planning and Development groups.


Heaney earned a bachelor's degree in Operations Management from Texas Tech University and an MBA with an academic emphasis in finance from the University of Florida.


He lives in Celebration, Fla. with his wife and two children.


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. The parks play host to more than 23 million guests each year and provide lasting memories through up-close animal encounters, world-class shows and rides, and 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.


SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also is a global leader in animal care and conservation, helping animals in need around the world. The company has rescued more than 20,000 orphaned, injured or ill animals over the past four decades and contributed $50 million to conservation, wildlife rescue and environmental stewardship programs worldwide. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, a non-profit, 501©3 charitable foundation, supports wildlife research, habitat protection, animal rescue and conservation education in the U.S. and around the world.


SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment employs 20,000 people and is a portfolio company of Blackstone (NYSE: BX).


SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment today announced James M. Heaney, former Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance and Travel Operations for Disney Cruise Line, will join the company as Chief Financial Officer. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. Orlando, Fla. (PRNewsFoto/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment)

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SeaWorld Orlando has sent us a press release regarding a very unique marriage proposal that recently took place at Discovery Cove!


Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Romantic Twist at Discovery Cove in Orlando


At Discovery Cove in Orlando, Halid Shokunbi took the plunge and proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Kyla Brown, while 14-feet underwater during the new SeaVenture experience.


Both from the Chicago area, Shokunbi popped the question in a most unique way -- surrounded by schools of exotic fish and velvety rays gliding overhead.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, there’s nothing more unique than celebrating with dolphins in a tropical paradise as part of Discovery Cove’s Special Occasions Packages.


Discovery Cove is part of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, based in Orlando, with more than 21,000 employees nationwide. The other parks include: SeaWorld and Aquatica in Orlando; Busch Gardens Africa and Adventure Island in Tampa; Busch Gardens Europe and Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Va., and Sesame Place near Philadelphia. For more information on multi-park tickets and vacation planning tips, guests may visit WorldsofDiscovery.com or call (800) 327-2424.

Learn more at Discovery Cove’s website or call 1-877-557-7404.


SeaWorld Orlando has also sent us a press release regarding this year's Bands, Brew & BBQ Festival.


SeaWorld Orlando’s Bands, Brew & BBQ festival is twice as fun this year when the park hosts rockin’ concerts Saturdays AND Sundays on Feb. 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, and March 3-4. That’s four weekends of smokin’ hot bands, sizzling BBQ from your favorite local restaurants and SeaWorld’s very own culinary team, plus a thirst-quenching beer garden and amazing atmosphere.


Bands, Brew & BBQ is included with park admission. And the best way to experience this festival is with a Fun Card where you pay for a day’s admission and come back all year – with no blackout dates – to experience all of SeaWorld’s remarkable events.


This year’s awesome line-up features top artists in classic rock and country music including a side stage showcasing local bands. For those who want to show off their line dancing and boot scootin’ skills, a DJ will be spinning music to satisfy movers and shakers of all levels.


Concert times are at 4 p.m. and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.


Saturday, February 11: Foreigner

Sunday, February 12: Gary Allan

Saturday, February 18: Trace Adkins

Sunday, February 19: Kenny Rogers

Saturday, February 25: Doobie Brothers

Sunday, February 26: Ronnie Dunn

Saturday, March 3: Sara Evans

Sunday, March 4: Scotty McCreery


This year beer lovers will rejoice with our “brew”-licious Beer Sampler. Hoist your mugs in our thirst-quenching beer garden that showcases nearly 50 craft beers from domestic and international breweries.


A haze of sweet-smelling BBQ smoke will fill the air as SeaWorld’s culinary team serves up a cornucopia of all things BBQ including the authentic Homemade Beef Jerky and bodacious Famous BBQ Spare Rib Platter. In addition, favorite local restaurants will be on hand serving BBQ foods tendered to perfection.


For those who want to feel like a rock star there are VIP and Elite VIP ticket packages available. Guests who take advantage will enjoy the best seats in the house, mouth-watering food and a unique experience that they’ll never forget as they get up-close and personal with some of today’s hottest classic rock and country music performers.


Regular, single-day SeaWorld admission is $81.99 for adults and $73.99 for children ages 3-9. The Fun Card is valid from the date of purchase and good throughout all of 2012 with no blackout dates.


Fun Cards are available at the front gate, online at SeaWorldOrlando.com or by calling 1-888-800-5447. Event dates, times and artists are subject to change. Performances are included with any daily admission or annual pass. Concert seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Concert dates and artists are subject to change.


Edited by jedimaster1227
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We’re excited to give our fans a special glimpse of the new Freshwater Oasis opening at Discovery Cove later this spring!


At the Freshwater Oasis you’ll be able wade, relax and come face-to-face with playful otters and curious marmosets. Designed with a rainforest canopy above and sparkling-clear springs below, Freshwater Oasis is a natural fit within Discovery Cove’s tropical atmosphere. No matter where you turn, you’ll find endless discoveries.


Take a look and be sure to stay connected on Facebook as this will be the first of many “webisodes” all about Freshwater Oasis. For move information, visit DiscoveryCove.com.





Take a look at the next TurtleTrek “webisode”, this one focuses on the dome construction. Coming soon are more videos about the animals, technology and animation that will bring this amazing attraction to fruition.


Remember, TurtleTrek is going to be the world’s first 3D, 360-degree domed theater experience that takes you on a sea turtle’s incredible journey and invites you to become an everyday hero.


Edited by jedimaster1227
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Just when you thought law suits couldn't get any weirder or more stupid, they just did




A US judge is considering a complaint by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (Peta) against SeaWorld.


It is reportedly the first time a US court has heard legal arguments over whether animals should enjoy the same constitutional protections as humans.


SeaWorld's legal team said the case was a waste of time and resources.


The marine park's lawyer, Theodore Shaw, told the court in San Diego: "Neither orcas nor any other animal were included in the 'We the people'... when the Constitution was adopted."


He said that if the case were successful, it could have implications not just on how other marine parks or zoos operate, but even on the police use of sniffer dogs to detect bombs and drugs.


'Historic case'

Peta says the killer whales are treated like slaves for being forced to live in tanks and perform daily at the SeaWorld parks in California and Florida.


It is not considered likely that the whales will win their freedom, but campaigners said they were pleased the case even made it to a courtroom.


The lawsuit invokes the 13th Amendment to the constitution, which abolished "slavery or involuntary servitude" in the US.


Jeffrey Kerr, the lawyer representing the five whales, said: "For the first time in our nation's history, a federal court heard arguments as to whether living, breathing, feeling beings have rights and can be enslaved simply because they happen to not have been born human.


"By any definition these orcas have been enslaved here."


Hearing the arguments for about an hour, US District Judge Jeffrey Miller raised concerns over whether animals could be represented as plaintiffs in a lawsuit.


He will issue a ruling at a later date.


Peta names the five wild-captured orca plaintiffs as Tilikum and Katina, at SeaWorld Orlando; and Kasatka, Corky, and Ulises, at SeaWorld San Diego.


It is not Tilikum's first time in the media spotlight - he drowned his trainer before horrified spectators in February 2010, prompting a ban on the Florida park's employees entering the water to perform tricks with the orcas.


The same whale has also been linked to two other deaths.



OMG, this is just ridiculous, I really have heard it all now, curious to see if this will have any effect on the future of the shamu shows, but hopefully it will just be laughed out of court

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Free Tilly! I'm probably the very first person ever to say that.


Their only goal here was to move their agenda forward, which they did manage to do. I think they (PETA) mostly suck but this is already a big succsess for them. Put this in the hands of a judge and we are in scary territory. The case is something to loosely keep your eye on if you are a fan of the parks. The fact that, the argument that people and animals are to be equal as it pertains to captivity, made it to a court of law is not good news. It would be a hard case to win but it only takes the right judge at the right time.

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A federal judge in San Diego on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that had sought an order forcing SeaWorld to free five orcas.


U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller ruled that a lawsuit on behalf of the orcas could not be brought under the anti-slavery 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because the amendment pertains to human beings, not animals.


Even in defeat, PETA hailed its lawsuit as a victory, "one more step taken toward the inevitable day when all animals will be free from enslavement for human amusement."


Three of the five orcas mentioned in the PETA lawsuit are at SeaWorld San Diego; the others are at the SeaWorld park in Orlando, Fla.

SeaWorld had asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, branding it a publicity stunt.


In a statement praising Miller's decision, SeaWorld said, "We cannot hope that this is PETA’s last publicity stunt but we can now refocus our energy in more positive and constructive ways: delivering high quality educational experiences to our guests and providing the highest possible standard of care to our animals."

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So today Theme Park Review was invited to participate in a media construction tour of TurtleTrek's new 3-D, 360 degree dome whose construction was completed yesterday. The dome will be the centerpiece of the new attraction which will borrow many pages from other SeaWorld attractions (tying in a lot of the messages we already find in the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties) but will also empower guests with a new message, inspiring them to become "everyday heroes" in their local environment. The new attraction retains much of the original structure used by the former Manatee Rescue exhibit but has some significant modifications to allow for it to become the new TurtleTrek later this year. The manatees will return with the attraction but will be joined in an adjacent tank by sea turtles in the attraction's pre-show experience. Guests will then experience a "hyperrealistic" 3-D digital film running for around seven minutes detailed the twenty five year journey of the sea turtle from birth in the sand, its travels in the ocean and its return to lay eggs in the same sands in which it was born.


We were fortunate enough to be joined by Brian Morrow, Creative Director for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment who happily shared many details about this (and other new attractions on the company's horizon). He shared that the film will feature easter eggs of sorts throughout its duration, though wouldn't mention what that might entail. He also noted that other well known creatures seen already in the park would make appearances in the film, such as the manta ray, spotted eagle rays and dolphins (those specifically were the topic of his favorite scene in which he described our title sea turtle being rescued by dolphins from vicious predators including sharks).


Here is the short version of today's video I filmed including a one-on-one interview with Brian Morrow regarding TurtleTrek!


[coastertube]http://www.themeparkreview.com/coastertube/play.php?vid=TurtleTrek_awr1[/coastertube] Here is the longer version of the video including a very detailed description of the TurtleTrek film which will be shown in the dome.

[coastertube]http://www.themeparkreview.com/coastertube/play.php?vid=TurtleTrek_Long_c2ba[/coastertube] And finally, here is a quick look at some of the other projects Brian Morrow is working on for the other SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties for this year.

[coastertube]http://www.themeparkreview.com/coastertube/play.php?vid=Other_SeaWorld_stuff_with_Brian_Morrow_yu17[/coastertube] I'd like to thank Brian Morrow and the rest of the SeaWorld team for welcoming us today--it was another incredible media event and I truly look forward to seeing TurtleTrek when it debuts later this Spring!


So you all remember that awesome new concept SeaWorld is bringing us in the form of TurtleTrek right?


That "hyperrealistic 3-D" digital animation Brian Morrow had told us about during the original announcement? Today he told us that that was the most understated way of describing it!


Yesterday the dome theater was completed as the last panel was stapled into place.


Since SeaWorld knows none of us could get a full theater shot, they supplied an awesome wide angle view of the completed theater!


Now here's where we come in! It's time for another hard hat tour!


Even though it isn't finished, walking into the theater for the first time really takes your breath away.


One thing is for sure. Even though this was once the Manatee Rescue pre show theater, this dome theater is a HUGE departure from what once was.


Guests will stand on the elevated platform in the center of the theater enveloped by a fully-immersive dome screen with no portion of the dome empty of digital projection detail.


As Brian Morrow described it to us, he made sure to note that this is really six different films stitched into one giant canvas. Despite seeing the journey from the eyes of the turtle, guests will be able to look in different directions to see the actions of the different creatures the turtle encounters along the way. So, that's five different angles looking directly ahead at the screen...


Plus one more when looking directly up at the top.


If you've ever had the pleasure of talking with Brian about his projects, you can always tell how passionate he is by the sheer wealth of knowledge he holds not only on the project itself, but on the creatures and environments directly associated with the work he does.


You can tell he, along with the rest of the SeaWorld team are extremely proud of this new project...


And they plan to continue to share new milestones in its development with a few more webisodes in the coming months.


The dome really is massive!


This attraction is a world's first by the way. It will be the first ever 3-D dome theater. Dome theaters exist elsewhere (like the Bubble Show/Dragon's Treasure show at the City of Dreams Casino in Macau) but no installations aside from this are also in 3-D.


Brian also shared a little teaser with us, as he was wearing the show's main character, the sea turtle we'll follow in the film.


It is always an awesome experience to get to talk to Brian about his work--plus, we know he's got a soft spot for Theme Park Review!


There's still plenty of work to be done on the entrance, pre-show and post-show experiences for TurtleTrek, but with the dome complete, SeaWorld can now prepare the main element of the new attraction as the rest is gradually finished.


Would've loved for this hard hat to join my Manta one in my personal collection, but it had to be returned.


From the Skytower the TurtleTrek theater can only be seen slightly from behind the trees.


While we're up here, let's take a look at the demolition of the Penguin Plaza to make way for Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.


Land has been cleared between the old Penguin Encounter building and the sea lion habitat.


The retro fountain has survived the demolition so far!


Friends of the Wild and the gift shop have been totally gutted.


Over in the Dine with Shamu tank work continues on the emergency lift system.


A slightly closer look.


It will be interesting to see if this structure is even slightly retained for the new area.


This one's marked for demolition...


The old Penguin Encounter building is being taken down quickly.


Not much left to salvage.


The Skytower is now free to all guests! Plus they take your photo before you get in line. Those photos can be seen here at the exit.


This is really awesome to see the attraction open for everyone!


The line has been slightly reconfigured to allow for this change to take place.



Heading towards the Pacific Point Reserve...




New nets have been added along the path next to Manta.


Games have been relocated from the former Penguin Plaza.



The entrance for TurtleTrek is taking shape quickly.



Another look at the outside of the theater.



We really can't wait for TurtleTrek to open!

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Thanks to this report, my interest in TurtleTrek has increased tenfold. REALLY excited about the dome theater and the fully immersive (so to speak) experience that promises. The whole concept just hadn't sunk in (so to speak) until now.

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^TurtleTrek takes up the entire complex. The manatees will still use up a section of the former tank, but a good deal of the tank will become the home of the new turtles from San Diego. The alligators in the water in front of the complex are not being affected by this project.


I have updated the photo report post to include the short version of the footage I filmed during the construction tour. Expect a longer version of the video, along with another video in which Brian Morrow details some of the other SeaWorld Parks projects he is currently working on, to be posted very soon!

Edited by jedimaster1227
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