Dive into the world of jellyfish: a huge interactive aquarium will open in California
Next year, SeaWorld (San Diego, California) will open Jewels of the Sea: The Jellyfish Experience, which will allow visitors to see jellyfish up close in a three-room interactive aquarium housed in a former Clydesdale barn. Writes about this San diego union tribune.
Jellyfish will be a major attraction next spring when the park opens aquariums filled with the gelatinous sea creatures.
The aquarium, called Jewels of the Sea: The Jellyfish Experience, will be the first exhibit of its kind for any of SeaWorld's marine parks. It will be housed in a former Clydesdale barn, located next to the Journey to Atlantis attraction, and will allow visitors to see the tentacled sea creatures up close in a three-room gallery, complete with special lighting and theming. The barn has been largely unused for the past few years.
Four species of jellyfish—moon jellyfish, Pacific sea nettle, upside-down jellyfish and comb jellyfish—will be displayed in a variety of tank shapes, including an 18-foot (5,4 m) tall cylindrical acrylic tank that will be the centerpiece of the attraction. Jellyfish are distinguished by their saucer-shaped shape, translucency and thin, stretching tentacles that captivate the eye. It is not uncommon to see some species of jellyfish off the coast of San Diego or in the bay.
A family attraction, Penguin Trek, will open in Orlando, taking viewers on an expedition across the Antarctic expanse on snowmobiles. The new attraction in San Antonio will be Catapult Falls, which is described as the first "abseil ride" and the only vertical lift in North America.
Arctic Rescue debuted at the San Diego park earlier this year, its fourth ride in the past five years.
Eric Oetjen, SeaWorld San Diego's vice president of zoological operations, said it makes sense to refocus on marine life while educating visitors about ocean health.
“We've always been focused on marine life, that's our main focus - educating about the marine life that we care about, so the time was right for San Diego to have a marine animal attraction,” he said. “We are thrilled to bring habitat to the San Diego park and are continually looking for the best ways to expand our park and attractions.”
Visitors to the new attraction will not only be able to easily view different varieties of jellyfish, but also see them in different life stages and sizes. As a rule, jellyfish, according to park aquarium curator Daniel Castillo, live no more than a few years.
“As for jellyfish, they are indicator species, that is, they serve as a good indicator of the state of the ocean,” he explained. “And because they are so mysterious and people have a legitimate fear of jellyfish, we want to give them the opportunity to get up close and learn about them.”
Although the park already has several moon jellyfish, the remaining three species will be purchased from other aquariums that already house and breed jellyfish, Otjen said. A San Diego park will accelerate its own jellyfish breeding program.
“We want to make it feel like you're entering a world that a lot of people don't get to experience,” explained Otjen. “Jellyfish are very beautiful and many people don’t know much about them, so you go into a quiet, dark room with nice music and see these beautiful creatures around you.”
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Design of a room with an area of 11 sq. ft. (000 sq. m.) is still in development, so SeaWorld was unable to detail the lighting and other decorations planned for the attraction's interior. However, for an undetermined price, the park will offer visitors an updated option - a behind-the-scenes tour that will allow them to see the area where new jellyfish are grown and reproduced. Visitors will have the opportunity to touch the moon jellyfish, and a tour will be led by one of the nursery's staff, Castillo said.
Visitors who become season ticket holders next year will be able to view the new exhibition before it opens to the general public.
The San Diego park, located on leased city land in Mission Bay, has drawn unwanted attention in recent weeks for failing to pay rent during the pandemic. Earlier this month, the city of San Diego filed a lawsuit against the amusement park for violating its lease, seeking to collect more than $12,2 million in back rent, interest and late fees.
SeaWorld previously argued that it was not required to make minimum lease payments during COVID-19 shutdowns.
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