For nearly 50 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has focused its efforts on the rescue and care of sea animals, particularly manatees and sea turtles. In that time more than 20,000 injured, orphaned or ill animals have been rescued, cared for and in most cases, returned to their natural habitat. And this spring, SeaWorld Orlando is taking its rescue mission one step further with the opening of its newest attraction, TurtleTrek.
In the same way SeaWorld’s attraction “Manatee Rescue” sparked interest that helped save the species, the park believes the new attraction TurtleTrek will help showcase the vulnerable sea turtle in hopes that everyday heroes across the globe will help make a difference in savings the animals in the wild.
TurtleTrek features a 3D/360-degree dome that SeaWorld claims is the first at any theme park in the world. Designers have combined a state-of-the-art animated film and projection system with a fully domed theater, creating a unique theatrical experience. Guests are promised a seamless, 3D virtual environment all around them, even over their heads.
The 3D/360-degree movie is just one part of what TurtleTrek will offer park guests. Two massive, naturalistic saltwater and freshwater habitats will house sea turtles and manatees, some of them rescued and cared for by SeaWorld’s animal team.
The attraction’s sea turtle residents cannot be returned to the wild due to genetics, illness or being orphaned and have found a permanent home at TurtleTrek. The varieties of sea turtles found in the attraction include adult and juvenile hawksbill, Kemp’s, loggerhead and green sea turtles. Guests will be able to view these incredible sea creatures gliding past them from above or through a below-water window.
Four West Indian manatees can also be seen from above, or below water in TurtleTrek. Approximately 200 freshwater fish will accompany the manatees in their habitat. Guests will even be able to view fish native to Florida including large-mouth bass and bluegills; and exotic fish that can be found in Florida waters such as pacu and red-tail catfish.
The saltwater habitat will include more than 1,500 Caribbean-native fish with tropical varieties including angelfish, surgeonfish, filefish, butterfly fish and many more.
SeaWorld’s TurtleTrek is just one of three new attractions coming to the park and its sister park Discovery Cove over the next two years. Discovery Cove will welcome a new Freshwater Oasis that will feature an environment themed to a rainforest. The Freshwater Oasis will also open this spring, while Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin will replace the existing penguin encounter at SeaWorld in 2013. Stay tuned for opening dates for TurtleTrek and other SeaWorld Orlando expansion news.