Image via SeaWorld Orlando
Concept art of the new reimagined Dolphin Plunge, now known as Reef Plunge coming to Aquatica Orlando in 2022
SeaWorld has doubled down on its commitment to its water parks with new attractions confirmed for every single water park company-wide. From Adventure Island in Tampa to Water County USA in Virginia, SeaWorld’s chain of water parks will be filled with new attractions and enhancements come next year.
The company’s flagship water park, Aquatica Orlando, will see one of its opening day attractions, Dolphin Plunge, be reimagined with new tubes and improved animal interactions. Using the latest translucent tube technology, the reimagined attraction, rebranded as Reef Plunge, will see guests slide through colorful rings before racing through an authentic reef environment filled with sharks and marine animals.
Aquatica Orlando’s Commerson’s dolphins will be joined by leopard sharks, sardines, and a variety of other cold-water fish. Commerson’s dolphins are a rarity in aquariums, with Aquatica Orlando being one of the only places in the world to witness these mysterious dolphins in captivity. After unsuccessful attempts to increase its Commerson’s dolphin pod, SeaWorld announced in 2016 it would be ending breeding attempts for the species. At that time, we noted
Aquatica’s dolphins were already nearing the end of their natural life cycle.
Image via Ken Storey
The Commerson's dolphins at Aquatica Orlando prior to the introduction of other species in their habitat
The shift to now include other animals in the dolphin habitat is more than just a response to the inevitable end of Commerson’s dolphins in SeaWorld’s care, however. As part of their ongoing push to better improve the habitats, SeaWorld announced the Dynamic Habitat Initiative
last year. This program looks to develop more stimulating habitats for animals by introducing multiple species in a single habitat. Among the first habitats to see the DHI improvements were the Commerson’s dolphins at Aquatica. A spokesperson for SeaWorld confirmed to the Orlando Weekly
that the new reef reimaging of the Commerson’s habitat is part of the DHI, with more species planning to be added to the habitat in the future.
Aquatica Orlando will also be receiving new beach chairs, a walk-up beach bar, upgrades to the Banana Beach Cookout restaurant, and enhancements to several water slides.
Image via Busch Gardens Tampa
Rapids Racer will open at Tampa's Adventure Island in 2022
SeaWorld's other water parks won't be forgotten. The racing family water slide we reported on
in September was confirmed for Adventure Island in Tampa. It will be joined by a completely reimagined Wahoo Run, now known as Wahoo Remix
. The former dark tunnels of Wahoo Run will come alive with synchronized light and sound elements, similar to Disco H2O
at the now-closed Wet ‘n Wild in Orlando.
Image via Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Aquazoid Amped will open at Water Country USA in 2022
A similar family slide will also open at Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Virginia. In announcing the new Virginia slide
, SeaWorld noted the lighting elements make each ride on the attraction unique, providing an incentive to ride it multiple times.
In Texas, Aquatica San Antonio will be getting a racing slide, not unlike the one coming to Adventure Island. It will share a look and name with the similar attraction, Riptide Race
, that opened at Aquatica Orlando this year. The Orlando version took the title
of the world's tallest dueling water slide racer when it opened in April.
Image via SeaWorld San Antonio
Riptide Race, opening in San Antonio in 2022, is similar to an attraction at Aquatica Orlando that opened in 2021
Finally, in San Diego, the former Aquatica there is getting a complete overhaul as it becomes Sesame Place San Diego
. The kid-focused amusement and water park is slated to open in March.
Image via Sesame Place San Diego
The former Aquatica San Diego will reopen as Sesame Place in March 2022.
Unlike Disney, where its water parks can go decades without new attractions, SeaWorld has committed to regularly improving its water parks with new and reimagined offerings. Its water parks consistently rank among the most popular in the nation. Even as the pandemic has created a new normal for many things and despite the tourism sector still not fully recovered, SeaWorld’s water parks are returning to a tried-and-true reason to keep guests coming back. The slate of new attractions will open at SeaWorld’s water parks by this coming summer.
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