ArizonaGuy wrote:^^ The reason the park lacks theming is because it's not a theme park.
I think the word is continuity. For example SWO had different zones that are themed to different exhibits in that area. This usually includes a ride and decor theming in that area. SWSA really feels like a juxtopisation of ideas without any real long term planning.
This past Friday TPR was invited to preview Seaworld San Antonio's new Discovery Point. Discovery Point is now home to an amazing new ocean like dolphin habitat with multiple viewing areas in a tropical setting. I could not be more blown away with the attention to detail and the dolphins were eager to show off their new home!
This area uses part of the old dolphin pool which was expanded and enhanced. If you are a season pass holder you can expect to pay about $125 for the interactive experience, non-passholders will pay about $155 plus gate admission which will last between 2 and 2.5 hours. You'll spend a little time in orientation where you will learn dolphin etiquette and some cool tidbits about them. After that it's off to be fitted with your fashionable wetsuit. The changing area is country club like with combo shower/changing stalls. A locking box is provided to put your crap in because you never know when an otter might run off with it.
You'll get to spend 25-30 minutes with one or more of the 6 dolphins currently in the program, later this summer they will acclimate the females, for now it's an all male revue. I think the best way to describe the interaction is that you are a trainer in training. You'll get to do things like shake a fin, give em a big ol kiss on the mouth (no tongue please), and go for a ride as they take you from deep water to the shore line.
These are quite the intelligent animals, very curious, and very much like a kid who always wants to play. Not to mention they have huge personalities.
Another area they rehabbed was the old Shark Reef, now named Explorer's Reef. Don't worry shark fans, those guys are still there.
Insider Info: If you don't have a platinum or SWSA season pass (and you should) look for the 14 day vacation package online. Unlimited visits to both Aquatica and Seaworld for the 14d ays and you'll get the interactive dolphin experience. The price is only about $80 more than standard gate admission AND you'll get to swim with the dolphins!
I highly highly recommend all of the interactive experiences, rather with Dolphins, Belugas, Sea Lions, or swimming with stingrays, or all of them, you won't be disappointed, it's well worth the cost.
Huge thank you to Josie, Lindsey, rides maintenance (yeah, we have new coaster footage coming soon!), the trainers, and really the entire staff at Seaworld, you guys are awesome, thanks for having us out!
Ok, no more blah blah, let's get to it!
Okie dokie, guess I'll start here
This area is to the left after you enter through bag check. Bag check you say? What about the turnstiles? Well, more on that later :)
O.M.G. Freaking AWESOME!!!
This is the main underwater viewing area, this place is huge!
You could totally go snorkeling here and not know that you aren't in the ocean!
Outside the detail is just as plush
I want this in my backyard!
So here we are in the orientation room, this is where you will start off and learn and stuff. At the moment only 48 interactions are done per day.
Once you've been learned, you'll step back outside. Seriously, I want this in my backyard.
Rows and rows of sexy wet suits
In case you get lost.
The changing and restroom area is top notch. Time to get changed up.
Off to the beach!
"Honey, does this suit make me look fat?" Don't answer that, it was rhetorical.
Ok, so the salt water is 79 degrees because dolphins like that. The entry is graduated and they have life jackets if you feel you need one. There is a steep drop off from where I'm standing but don't worry, a row of rock will let you know you are close to plunging deep into the earth.
This guy loved to splash people, once we got him started he was all I can do this all day.
Nice to meet you.
You're a good dolphin, yes you are, yes you are
My uber driver was very energetic!
I highly recommend everyone putting this on your bucket list. You won't be disappointed!
Thanks for the swim buddy, I'll miss you too! I'm off to see some of your friends!
Why hello friend. Nice to meet you.
The trainers really love these animals and they love their trainers. This guy is used for both the part of Clyde and Seamore and wow, what a personality. Reminds you of a puppy, which might be why they're called pups.
"Feed me!" So each critter gets the same amount of food everyday, no exceptions. Contrary to what some might want you to believe, the reality is if the diet calls for 25lbs of fish, they get all 25lbs. They're weighed each week and calorie intake adjusted accordingly using a variety of different fish, but he poundage will normally stay the same, a percentage of their body weight.
They've got fur like a corgi and something I didn't know....they have toe nails! Thanks man, you're a cool dude!
Last stop of the interactive tour was behind Azul stadium to meet another favorite, the Beluga's.
The top of their head is basically sonar and feels like a hard boiled egg. I'm told you could put a box in the middle of their habitat and they could tell you what is inside. How Cool!
This girl is 38 years old, normal life expectancy in the wild is 35 and SWSD has one that is 47. Just goes to show when you spoil your animals they live long happy lives! You can sign up for an interactive session with this gals too and you'll get in the water with them. Afterwards you'll brag to your friends that you swam with a whale!
How about a little trip around the park. This is part of the new front gate introduced this year. The turnstiles have been moved with the original area now used for bag check allowing you to get strollers, souvenirs, quick q, dining passes, etc before the park opens.
The new process is fast, easy, and looks nice.
LOVE flamingos. (Ask Garbles where their leg goes when they stand on one)
Splish Splash machine.
Shows on the lake start in mid June.
Oh hey Shamu, hows it going? Full Stadium? You bet!
During 'open swim' times you can come in and watch these guys roam around.
Fun time as always.
Also new are electronic fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo which allow you to fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo hop for one price.
You've met one of the stars of the show, time to see the show! Me and a thousand of my closets friends that is. Great interaction, nice storyline, and more importantly the crowd was really into it.
Hey, what is this? Early in the evening the park hosted a cocktail party to celebrate the opening of Discovery Point
In typical sea world fashion they brought out the animals
I can't get over how nice the area looks.
1 each please.
OMG. Best. Mac & Cheese. Evar. Carnitas, bacon, or straight up.
Lovely evening. Have I mentioned I want this in my backyard?
Heaven. All sustainable.
I should have started here!
This area I can see used heavily for special events after hours.
Hey Busch Gardens, how's it goin?
SWSA's new Park Prez has an audience during his opening speech.
OMG MORE FOOD! OM NOM NOM NOM
Also rehabbed is Explorers Reef
Everything looks pristine. New display screens give you way more info than before.
Desert by the....
I'd love to have a fish tank like this.
So there you have it, great time, great experience, and I can't emphasis enough that you MUST add this to your bucket list!
Thanks for an amazing time SeaWorld, YOU ROCK! See you again real soon!
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