On August 31, SeaWorld San Diego broke ground on Ocean Explorer, a new submarine-inspired attraction scheduled to open in late spring 2017.
Ocean Explorer will combine multiple aquariums, rides, and digital technologies to engage park guests in an experience centered on exploration and adventure inspiring them to protect the wonders of our oceans.
Invitees to the groundbreaking ceremony included San Diego City Councilmember Lorie Zapf, San Diego Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders and San Diego Tourism Authority President and CEO Joe Terzi, along with SeaWorld’s President Marilyn Hannes and more than a dozen 7th and 8th graders from Knox Middle School.
“I’m extremely excited about Ocean Explorer and I know our guests, of all ages, are going to love this fun, interactive and educational new area of the park,” said Marilyn Hannes, SeaWorld San Diego’s park president. “The opportunity to see and learn about some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures, coupled with a mix of distinctive rides and activities, will give our visitors a meaningful experience only SeaWorld can create.”
As adventurers on a global expedition of scientific exploration, guests will travel to Ocean Explorer’s undersea animals aboard submarines, the signature ride of the attraction. 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.
“This newest, fully immersive attraction at SeaWorld San Diego is the next chapter in creating experiences that can create both wonder and curiosity for the oceans,” said Brian Morrow, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s vice president of theme park experience design. “Park guests will trek through sea-base stations, make special connections with incredible animals and discover how they too can take action to protect the oceans.”
The heart and destination of Ocean Explorer will be a series of undersea research bases housing specially-designed aquariums and interactive activities displaying unique as well as elusive ocean animals.
“I can’t be more thrilled about Ocean Explorer,” said Mike Price, SeaWorld San Diego’s assistant curator of fishes. “We will give our visitors the chance to come eye-to-eye with amazing animals like giant octopuses, huge spider crabs and dozens of moray eels – some of which have never been seen at the park before. We will also give everyone a variety of different vantage points to view the animals by taking them around and inside these underwater habitats.”
Guests will discover Visitors will come eye-to-eye with Giant Pacific octopuses, Japanese spider crabs (the largest arthropods in the world), and Moray eels in newly created aquariums, known as research pods, throughout Ocean Explorer. Educational displays, technologies and graphics will be key components of each pod.
Ocean Explorer will also feature an exhilarating wave swinger ride where guests will fly through thousands of real bubbles in chairs suspended from the tentacles of a giant jelly. Three additional family-friendly rides — an Octopus swing ride, a Jump-around submarine ride, and a Bounce/drop ride — will round out the fun of this immersive, new attraction.
“Our guests’ response to new attractions has always been tremendously positive,” said Hannes. “The scope of 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.”
Construction on Ocean Explorer began August 31, 2016, on a 3-acre site where the Animal Connections exhibit and the Circle of Flags are currently located on the southeast side of the park. This multi-million dollar attraction is scheduled to open in late spring of 2017.
For a birds-eye look at SeaWorld San Diego, take a ride on the the Sky Tower with this video: