SeaWorld Orlando Opens TurtleTrek 3-D Attraction

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This morning, SeaWorld Orlando welcomed the first guests into TurtleTrek, their new 3-D sea turtle attraction. Built on the bones of the former Manatee aquarium (the sea cows still have a home, though it's smaller) the new exhibit combines fresh and sea water aquariums with a high-tech simulation of life from a turtle's POV. The attraction's star feature is a dome theater in which a computer-generated film is digitally projected around and above guests. I'll detail my thoughts on the new experience in an upcoming issue of Orlando Weekly. In the meantime, watch this interview with Brian Morrow, chief designer behind TurtleTrek. He shares some insight on the attraction's creation, and gives some hints on SeaWorld's next expansion. [youtube i1RJjMIySis?hd=1IySis] Here are full details on TurtleTrek, direct from SeaWorld's press release:

SEAWORLD ORLANDO OPENS ALL-NEW TURTLETREK

All-new attraction and incredible values and offers make

SeaWorld Orlando a must-see for locals and residents

Orlando, FL (April 27, 2012) – SeaWorld Orlando’s new TurtleTrek – the only attraction of its kind in the world - plus amazing admission offers and values, makes the park a must-see for locals and residents. New adventures at TurtleTrek: TurtleTrek, SeaWorld Orlando’s newest attraction, comes to life with SeaWorld’s unique blend of up-close encounters with manatees and sea turtles and state-of-the art entertainment, making for a real adventure and a first-of-its-kind 3D 360 degree dome theater film that iscompletely surrounding and immersive. Guests first visit two massive naturalistic habitats, home to gentle manatees and gliding sea turtles, learning what makes each species so precious. Families then enter a domed theater and what happens next has never before been seen and is a first at any theme park in the world. Inside the dome, they’ll be surrounded by a hyper-realistic, 3D 360 degree film that takes them on the amazing life journey of a special sea turtle named Nyah. The experience is all around guests and even above them – not just in front of them or only on one screen. It’s this all-new and immersive way of showcasing a sea turtle’s epic adventure that is the heart of TurtleTrek. And for the first time, SeaWorld guests are given a turtle’s eye view of the ocean’s wonders. TurtleTrek is as inspirational as it is astounding. There’s a call-to-action at the end of the experience: SeaWorld urges guests to join in conserving the world we share. “Do a little, do a lot, but join us and do something to help the world and its animals,” said Brian Morrow, the attraction’s chief designer. “TurtleTrek is about the everyday heroes who can make a difference in nature.” And there’s even more at TurtleTrek: Families will love competing on the fun (and educational) “Race for the Beach” video game that plays out on massive video screens at the new attraction. And TurtleTrek’s gift shop is unique in the way it continues the attraction’s inspiration and guests will see exactly how a portion of each dollar spent benefits in-the-field research to help save animals. Starting at TurtleTrek, SeaWorld and all its parks are eliminating plastic gift bags within the next year. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment will be the largest theme park operator to make this commitment. The eco-friendly move will save an estimated 4 million plastic bags per year from both entering landfills and impacting wildlife. SeaWorld routinely rescues marine wildlife such as endangered sea turtles that sometimes mistake plastic bags for a favorite food such as jellyfish.

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