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SeaWorld Parks Purchases San Diego Waterpark


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From the Sun Sentinel:

 

SeaWorld buys California water park, plans third 'Aquatica'

By Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel

 

5:10 PM EST, November 20, 2012

 

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment said Tuesday it has acquired a water park in San Diego that it will convert into the company's third "Aquatica."

 

The Orlando-based company would not say how much it paid for Knott's Soak City, which was owned by amusement-park operator Cedar Fair L.P., nor how much it will spend renovating the water park. SeaWorld said it has been negotiating the deal for "several months."

 

SeaWorld said it will make "significant changes" while the water park is closed for the winter to overhaul it to fit its Aquatica brand. The SeaWorld water parks are best-known for combining water-based attractions with marine-life encounters, such as a water slide through a pool filled with Commerson's dolphins or a raft ride through a stingray-filled lagoon.

 

"These parks reflect the highest standard of quality in attractions, entertainment and theming, but the presence of animals makes the experience something truly special. Aquatica San Diego, like its sister parks, will feature guest experiences with a variety of exotic animals," SeaWorld Parks President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Atchison said in a prepared statement.

 

The company's first Aquatica opened in 2008, a standalone water park adjacent to SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove. The second one opened last year inside SeaWorld San Antonio.

 

The third Aquatica will be located about 23 miles from SeaWorld San Diego and will become the company's 11th standalone park in the U.S. Company parks drew a combined 23.6 million visitors last year.

 

Since being acquired by private-equity giant The Blackstone Group in late 2009, SeaWorld executives have made it a strategic goal to expand the company's footprint, both geographically and across new platforms. The company has launched film and television studios, created a consumer-products licensing unit and evaluated plans for everything from hotels to overseas theme parks.

 

In an interview last year with the Sentinel, Atchison singled out Aquatica as a concept that the company hoped to expand. The executive also singled out Discovery Cove, the limited-admission boutique park in Orlando, and Sesame Place, a children's park in Pennsylvania, as other likely targets for expansion.

"Do I think that in the U.S. marketplace there's a place for 10 more SeaWorlds? Probably not," Atchison said at the time. "But there's probably other locations that could support other concepts that we have and, I think, do very well."

 

 

Interesting to hear they are thinking of building/adding more parks. Could we see more Discovery Cove or Sesame Place parks? Or maybe another park being purchased and becoming a Busch Gardens...

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Interesting. It's a very small park, but it looks like there's a decent sized piece of property right across form it which I would have to guess is part of the property. I wonder if that could become a Discovery Cove or even Sesame Place? I'd bet on another Discovery Cove coming, and putting the two together would be smart since the SeaWorld park is 32 miles away. As it is the SeaWorld in San Diego gets celebrities constantly, and having a Discovery Cove park there would be a HUGE draw for the west coast.

 

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This is the artwork SeaWorld posted of the "new" park:

 

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Interesting to note that flamingos are the only animals pictured as part of the park's makeover. Maybe because the time frame from purchase to re-opening in the spring is so short and just a few simple animals are being added in the first season.

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