2016 is slated to be a huge year for the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks around the country, especially at the SeaWorld parks in Orlando and San Antonio and at Busch Gardens in Tampa. All three of these parks are in the process of building major new attractions, which will be open for the busy summer season.
The most animal-centric attraction, Discovery Point, is coming to SeaWorld San Antonio. Discovery Point will be the new home of the park’s Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, as well as a hub for the park’s animal interaction programs with these dolphins as well as California sea lions and belugas.
Discovery Point will feature an expansive habitat for bottlenose dolphins, which will offer guests a view into the dolphin’s world unlike anything they have seen before at SeaWorld San Antonio. Discovery Point will be separately gated from SeaWorld and Aquatica, but a SeaWorld San Antonio ticket will include access to some parts of the Discovery Point area. One such building is located at the top-middle of the concept art plan. This large building will enclose an underwater viewing gallery along with educational displays about the lives of bottlenose dolphins.
Some additional viewing areas outside of this large building will also be accessible with a general SeaWorld admission ticket. The remainder of the guest areas will be exclusive to guests who have purchased a ticket for one of the up-close animal interactions in Discovery Point. SeaWorld San Antonio’s shark exhibit, Explorer’s Reef, will now be accessible through Discovery Point, and there will be a few exciting updates to the exhibit when it reopens.
More changes coming to SeaWorld San Antonio will include a division of the park into three separate gates: one for Discovery Point, one for Aquatica, and one for SeaWorld. After passing through the iconic arches into a central plaza, a brand-new 85-foot long wave structure reaching 24 feet in height will serve as SeaWorld’s separate gate. While no concept art has been released for the new entrance, it is possible that the new wave structure will resemble the one greeting guests at SeaWorld San Diego.
Jumping over to central Florida, at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa, guests will be able to experience two new roller coaster attractions, each inspired by wildlife and accompanied by animal displays. Mako opens at SeaWorld Orlando this summer – a 200-foot-tall B&M hyper coaster. At such a height, Mako will claim the title of the tallest roller coaster in Orlando. As if having the tallest roller coaster wasn’t enough, Mako will also be the fastest, at 73 mph, and longest, at 4,760 feet long.
Mako will be accompanied by a reimagining of the nearby Shark Encounter and Sharks Underwater Grill attractions. Together, these three experiences will create Shark Wreck Reef.
Just over an hour away, Busch Gardens Tampa will be opening Cobra’s Curse, a spinning coaster that will take guests on an adventure weaving under and over guest paths and the train tracks, all while attempting to escape a close encounter with the ancient Egyptian snake king, Venymyss. While the story behind the coaster is fictional, in the queue of the ride will include some natural encounters, such as cobra exhibits.
With so many additions coming to SeaWorld Parks this year, 2016 will be a year you do not want to miss!