Earlier this week we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at SeaWorld Orlando’s new TurtleTrek attraction during a soft opening. The attraction officially opens TODAY (April 27th), and I highly recommend making a trip to the park to experience this amazing, unique attraction as soon as possible!
When I initially heard that SeaWorld was creating an attraction focused on sea turtles, I was skeptical. Of all of the mysterious and exciting creatures that inhabit our oceans, why pick one of the most easy-going animals on earth? I was enthusiastic about seeing the new turtle exhibit, but I didn’t really have high hopes for the attraction as a whole.
Now that the attraction has come to fruition, I can see just how wrong I was. SeaWorld has taken the harrowing story of a sea turtle’s journey and turned it into an immersive adventure fit for (almost) the whole family.
When guests enter the attraction, they queue by the underwater viewing area of the new sea turtle exhibit. The turtles on display are SeaWorld rescues, animals that the company has rescued from the wild that are ineligible for release. The reasons for this vary, but in general an animal is considered ineligible for release if it will be unable to survive in the wild without assistance. The underwater viewing area is the perfect spot for a photo shoot, and children will love coming face-to-face with the stars of the show!
Up to 200 guests then enter into a domed theater that utilizes unique, 360 3-D projection technologies. The technology used to project the film was only recently developed, making this theater the first of its kind in the world. Thirty-four projectors run together to create a life-like experience as guests follow the life of a sea turtle from hatchling to full-grown adult. The seven-minute video is so complex, it takes up 950 GB of memory! The show also features a signature song, “Journey On,” that will be available on iTunes for purchase. This experience and journey truly cannot be described; it must be seen to be believed. One warning about the theater, though; when we saw the attraction, a few young children were frightened by the realism of the 3-D effects. Be sure to talk to a SeaWorld team member and consider your child’s individual circumstances before heading into the show.
After viewing the show, guests exit the theater and pass by the above-water viewing of the turtle’s exhibit. Guests also have the opportunity to play “Race for the Beach,” an interactive video game where you are a sea turtle attempting to reach the shore to lay eggs. This is also an opportunity for guests to observe Florida’s own gentle giants, the manatees. In addition, the exit area features a number of educational signs with tidbits of information on the life of the turtle and the manatee. And, of course, what attraction is complete without a gift shop? Guests have the opportunity to peruse and purchase turtle- and SeaWorld-themed curios on their way out of the attraction.
Overall, this attraction is great addition to SeaWorld Orlando as it demonstrates the company’s commitment to conservation and celebration of the world we all share and its signature “edutainment” method of helping guests connect with ocean animals. SeaWorld’s conservation efforts have saved thousands of sea turtles throughout the years, and their most recent initiative will likely save more; this past week (possibly in preparation for the opening of TurtleTrek), the company announced that it will be phasing out plastic bags, a danger to sea turtles and other marine life, at all 10 of its parks across the US (including Busch Gardens and Sesame Place). Hopefully, this attraction and these initiatives are signs of amazing things to come. If sea turtles can be so exciting, I can’t wait to see their future projects!
TurtleTrek: A look inside the dome and around the exit area – HD video
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TurtleTrek – photo gallery
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