4/29 Sea World’s TurtleTrek Opens – Grand Opening Photos and Video

Hi everyone!

TurtleTrek, the highly anticipated new attraction at Sea World, opened to the public on April 27th. We were delighted to be invited to the Grand Opening! 

I didn't know exactly what to expect with TurtleTrek – even with all the information I had, it's something that needs to be experienced.

There are three parts to Turtle Trek, and guests will be standing the entire time. As guests draw closer to the movie part of the attraction, there are two separate exhibits to enjoy. The first contains four manatees rescued by Sea World, and the second habitat features the gorgeous sea turtles that Sea World has rescued – all are non-releasable due to "genetics, illness or being orphaned". There are over 1500 Caribbean-native fish living with the sea turtles, and more than 200 freshwater fish with the manatees. One of the larger sea turtles, as seen in our videos, no longer has one of his flippers. It's amazing to see him swim with all of the other turtles.

The theme of this attraction is "Everyday Heroes", and it shows how little changes by everybody can help save the endangered sea turtle. In that spirit, Sea World Orlando has – as of last week – stopped using plastic bags in their parks. 

Here are some photos of the Grand Opening of TurtleTrek!

 

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Terry Prather, President of Sea World Orlando said that TurtleTrek is "More than just an attraction. It's an experience, it's a story, it will take you to places that only Sea World can take you…you get to live the story".

 

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Terry Prather with Animal Ambassador Julie Scardina, who noted that it is a "miracle that sea turtles survive at all, knowing some of the challenges that they face from the moment that they hatch".  She also mentioned the new Sea World TV show "Sea Rescue", which is shown on Saturday mornings.

 

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Rescued animals were brought out by members of the Rescue & Rehabilitation Team. We were shooting into the sun here, so I missed some of the animals. But I loved the owl!

 

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We didn't have to wait in much of a line during our first trip through (we went twice), but I wanted to show what the wait time board looked like. In this case, I believe it did take us about a half hour to make it to the film. When we went through the first time, it took us about 15 minutes to get through (which allowed us time to enjoy the manatees and sea turtles).

 

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Manatees and fish:

 

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I could have watched the sea turtles for hours! 

 

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Jeff sizes up a sea turtle against our sea turtle press kit:

 

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The film is in 3D/360 degrees, in a fully domed theater. Some of the interesting facts are that each frame of the film is 26 million individual pixels,  there are 34 projectors needed, and it would take 3 months to download this six minute movie if available. It's 950GB!

The film itself is about the life of a sea turtle named Nyah. Guests are taken on this journey from her point of view. The first few hours of a sea turtle's life are the most dangerous, but it's perilous even once they get into the water. One of every 100 sea turtles makes it to adulthood. The film does have some intense moments, including showing a crab grabbing one baby sea turtle (and taking it out of view), as well as a cage closing down (Nyah does not get caught). The ending is quite moving, as a sea turtle is released back into the ocean.

 

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Informational signs:

 

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Sea World Park President asked why our website name was Mousesteps, and not "Whale Tail" (or is it Whale Tale 🙂 )…

 

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 There is a "Race for the Beach" game at the exit:

 

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We spoke with Brian Morrow, Director of Design and Engineering for Sea World Orlando, who is quite passionate about TurtleTrek (and about saving the environment). He kept getting asked about the Antartica attraction as well, which will open in 2013 – I'll share our YouTube interviews with him at the end of the article.

 

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When a guest makes a purchase in the gift shop, there is an orange glow from the counter – and guests will learn with each purchase how much they contributed to in-the-field research to help save animals.

 

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Guests can also enjoy the sea turtles from above:

 

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TurtleTrek is not only a terrific attraction, but a learning experience. We are Platinum Passholders to the Sea World/Busch Gardens parks, and look forward to experiencing TurtleTrek again in the near future.

Here are the videos we currently have on our YouTube channel from the event:

Sea World's Creative Designer Brian Morrow talks about Turtle Trek

Sea World's Creative Designer Brian Morrow talks about upcoming Antartica attraction (with construction video we took from the Skytower)

The TurtleTrek Experience (note – I highly recommend experiencing the full experience for yourself)

TurtleTrek is one reason to visit Sea World on your next trip to Orlando – but check out the Sea World website and see what other rides, shows and exhibits you can enjoy!