Explorers Reef Is Open
12/15/2013 3:05:00 PM
SeaWorld Transforms its Arrival Experience
With Explorer’s Reef
Guests are immediately immersed in an undersea realm
SeaWorld® San Diego has completed its massive 16-month project that completely transforms the marine park’s arrival experience into a world beneath the waves. The creation of Explorer’s Reef™, a multi-million dollar renovation effort, not only makes entering the park faster and more efficient, but also significantly enhances the guest experience by immediately immersing them in an undersea realm. Explorer’s Reef opened March 21, 2014 in conjunction with SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration.
“Explorer’s Reef reinvents our guests’ arrival experience,” said Brian Morrow, SeaWorld’s creative director. “Guests now have a new way of approaching, entering and exploring the park.”
The new concept replaces the existing ticket booths with a beach-themed, concierge-style ticketing area that provides guests with a single location to purchase admission, as well as sign up for tours, animal interactions and dining experiences. Also eliminated are the glass window between the guests and park’s ticketing service representatives, creating a more open and personal experience.
“Explorer’s Reef transforms our guests’ arrival by providing them with unparalleled welcoming services and then transporting them into the world of the sea as they pass under an iconic and stunning wave,” said John Reilly, SeaWorld’s park president. “The promise of SeaWorld is delivered immediately, giving our guests opportunities to connect with amazing animals as soon as they enter the park.”
Guests enter the park beneath an immense wave sculpture, nearly 30 feet tall and 100 feet long, giving them the impression of actually entering an underwater world.
“The wave portal came to us as a very simple idea of going to the beach, wading into the shallows and diving into the water,” said Morrow. “We’ve all wondered what that would look like, and that’s what we’ve creating with this new arrival experience.”
Once inside the park, the tropical coral-themed design of the new animal attractions, buildings and shade structures gives guests the feeling of walking on the bottom of the ocean. It is in this undersea oasis that visitors also have their first chance to interact with a variety of fish in four different touch pools.
Both saltwater and freshwater, the touch pools (with a total of more than 26,000 gallons) allow guests to connect with sea life in an intimate way. The four pools contain the following animals: approximately 450 white-spotted bamboo sharks, 150 brown-banded bamboo sharks, 10 epaulette sharks, 25 round rays, 15 horseshoe crabs, five guitarfish and nearly 7,000 cleaner fish!
“The animal experiences are fantastic at Explorer’s Reef,” said Morrow. “Guests are able interact with incredible sea creatures, including sharks, rays, skates and even horseshoe crabs, and the delicate little cleaner fish nibble at your hands when you put them in the water.”
Explorer’s Reef, which encompasses more than three acres at the front of the park, also includes new and innovative retail and culinary opportunities for guests.
“Guests have the chance to shop in a new concept we call the open-air marketplace,” said Morrow. “Our guests walk underneath the giant coral formations and explore the shops to pick up the mementos and souvenirs of the day.”
Coming on the heels of a series of new attractions, shows and rides over the past three years, Explorer’s Reef demonstrates SeaWorld’s commitment to continually refresh the park to attract new visitors and give repeat visitors new reasons to return.
“This marks the highpoint of an unprecedented expansion of capital attraction investments at SeaWorld that transforms the park experience for our guests,” said Reilly. “With Turtle Reef, Manta, new shows and events, and now, a transforming arrival experience and animal attraction, SeaWorld is well-positioned for its next 50 years.”
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ inspires millions, through the power of entertainment, to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world. The company has been creating innovative entertainment experiences that blend imagination with nature for more than 50 years and is best known for its 11 U.S. theme parks, attractions that hosted more than 24 million guests in 2012 and include the beloved SeaWorld®, Busch Gardens® and Sesame Place® brands. In 2011, the company began expanding its popular brands into media and entertainment platforms to connect people to nature and animals through movies, television, and digital media; plus began developing new lines of licensed consumer products.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for one of the largest animal collections in North America and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. They rescue and rehabilitate ocean marine animals that are ill, injured and orphaned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team has helped more than 23,000 animals in need for nearly 50 years.
Updated: March 2014