Explorers Reef Nears Completion

Explorers Reef Nears Completion

12/15/2013 3:05:00 PM

SeaWorld to Transform its Arrival Experience

With Explorer’s Reef

Guests will be immediately immersed in an undersea realm


SAN DIEGO (Dec. 2013) – SeaWorld® San Diego is nearing completion of its massive 16-month project that is completely transforming the marine park’s arrival experience into a world beneath the waves. The creation of Explorer’s Reef™, a multi-million dollar renovation effort, will not only make entering the park faster and more efficient, but will significantly enhance the guest experience by immediately immersing them in an undersea realm. Explorer’s Reef will open in March 2014 in conjunction with SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration.

          “At SeaWorld San Diego, we’re reinventing the arrival experience of a theme park with Explorer’s Reef,” said Brian Morrow, SeaWorld’s creative director. “Guests will have a new way of approaching the park, entering the park, and exploring the park right off the bat.”

          The new concept will replace the existing ticket booths with a beach-themed, concierge-style ticketing area that will provide guests with a single location to purchase admission, as well as sign up for tours, animal interactions and dining experiences.  Also eliminated will be the glass window between the guests and park’s ticketing service representatives, creating a more open and personal experience.

          “Explorer’s Reef will transform 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 will be delivered immediately, giving our guests opportunities to connect with amazing animals as soon as they enter the park.”

          Guests will 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’re creating with the new front gate.”

          Once inside the park, the tropical coral-themed design of the new animal attractions, buildings and shade structures will give guests the feeling of walking on the bottom of the ocean.  It is in this undersea oasis that visitors will also have their first chance to interact with a variety of fish in four different touch pools.

Both saltwater and freshwater, the 24,000-gallon touch pools will allow guests to connect with sea life in an intimate way. Four hundred brown-banded and white-spotted bamboo sharks, as well as more than 4,000 cleaner fish will highlight the interaction experience. The number of fish in the touch pools will total nearly 5,000.

     “The animal experiences will be fantastic at Explorer’s Reef,” said Morrow.  “Guests will be able interact with incredible sea creatures, including sharks, rays, skates and even horseshoe crabs, and the delicate little cleaner fish will nibble at your hands when you put them in the water.”

Explorer’s Reef, which will encompass more than three acres at the front of the park, will also include new and innovative retail and culinary opportunities for guests.

“Guests will have the chance to shop in a new shopping concept we call the open-air marketplace,” said Morrow.  “Our guests will 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 will transform the park experience for our guests,” said Reilly. “With Turtle Reef, Manta, new shows and events, and, coming in 2014, 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.  The parks offer guests a variety of up-close experiences, from animal encounters that invite exploration and appreciation of the natural world, to thrilling rides and spectacular shows.  In 2011, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment 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 maintains one of the largest animal collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also operates one of the world’s most respected programs to 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 22,000 animals in need over the last four decades. 

     SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment employs more than 21,000 people nationwide.