Turtle-y awesome

SeaWorld San Antonio shells out 3 splashy new attractions in time for summer

SeaWorld San Antonio shells out 3 splashy new attractions this summer

SeaWorld San Antonio Turtle Reef
Get up close and personal with turtles at SeaWorld's newest attraction. Photo courtesy of SeaWorld

Summer is just around the corner and San Antonio kids are going to have a lot of time on their hands. It’s a good bet that some of it will be filled at SeaWorld.

This year, the long-running theme park is giving guests a little more for their money. On May 3, three new attractions will debut, including an awe-inspiring animal experience and two new rides.

The showpiece is Turtle Reef, a massive 126,000-gallon tank with immersive viewing from floor to ceiling. The coral reef environment will be alive with hundreds of brightly colored Caribbean fish and rescued and non-releasable green sea turtles, according to a release.

The attraction is the result of a new partnership for SeaWorld San Antonio. The University of Texas Marine Science Institute’s Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) will receive 5 percent of the net proceeds from turtle merchandise sold at the park, which will help the nonprofit in its mission to save South Texas coastal wildlife. As part of Turtle Reef, guests will also learn about environmental stewardship.

“Our guests not only will learn about amazing sea turtles but also how all of us can improve ocean health,” said Chris Havel, SeaWorld San Antonio senior aquarist, in a release. “One big way is to keep plastics out of the aquatic environment. Thus, it’s no coincidence that almost a decade ago SeaWorld started limiting plastics in its parks.”

One of the new rides will keep the eco theme going. Riptide Rescue is described as a reptilian recovery mission, although it is not clear how newly drafted fieldworkers will accomplish that mission while their pontoon is spinning in the air.

Rounding out the new attractions is the Sea Swinger, a pendulum thrill ride that will hurl (no pun intended) brave guests 180 degrees in both direction. The release promised “amazing views of the park,” but a good portion of the riders will undoubtedly have their eyes closed.

Tickets and season passes are available now. Annual passes start at $79.89 and a one-day ticket to SeaWorld and cousin water park Aquatica is $52.99 for a limited time.