So what still needs to be built? If the last track is in place, what else is there that needs to be done that will make it take until Spring 2009
I then tend to think of the kinds of improvements in the animal facilities and education programs those same millions could have bought.
Sorry, but it seems like a poor trade-off to me. Always has, always will. Theme parks need to be theme parks, and oceanariums need to be oceanariums, though I have severe doubts that Sea World will ever remember that.
I applaud the addition of Manta, and look forward to riding sometime in 2010.
I agree with James in that "wild life parks" that integrate family and thrill rides as well as high quality shows do quite well and give the average family more of what they really want these days. Something for everyone.
I wish that SW CA. would get a couple of coasters like it's sibling parks.
But the milk was a "loss leader," he told us. He'd take the loss on the milk because it'd get people in the store, where they'd buy other stuff in addition to the milk. And the store would make up the loss on the milk with the profit from the other things that customers would buy.
In that sense, the millions spent on Manta (and other rides) are loss leaders of a sort, getting folks to spend money not only on SeaWorld admission, but to spend time in other SeaWorld exhibits. In this way, you can see the roller coaster as bringing people into an oceanarium the way that milk brought people into the grocery store.
Maybe without the coaster, many of those people wouldn't visit an animal exhibit, but with the coaster, they do. That's an opportunity for education... and to make some extra money for conservation as well.
I'll leave it to others (or for me at another time) to evaluate how well SeaWorld follows through with that opportunity, but SeaWorld certainly has created that opportunity with its attraction mix.
I'm excited to take a ride on this, too!
Not only do we get a brand new coaster, but we also get 10 aquariums with over 3,000 animals from over 60 different species inside including over 2,500 fishes and over 300 rays.
I think this is a great match, bring in those guests with a new coaster while at the same time, educate them about conservation and the animals that we share our world with.
"Maybe without the coaster, many of those people wouldn't visit an animal exhibit, but with the coaster, they do. That's an opportunity for education... and to make some extra money for conservation as well."
And Justin Trinh wrote...
"I think this is a great match, bring in those guests with a new coaster while at the same time, educate them about conservation and the animals that we share our world with."
You both make valid points. And, if this were anyone OTHER than Sea World, I would probably not have even griped about the thing to begin with.
Robert, you and Justin are both correct in saying that this new ride will draw people in, and there are always opportunities for education. But do either of you truly believe that the kinds of people who will be drawn in by the presence of any type of thrill ride are going to be seeking knowledge about marine animals, and human impact on them, in the same breath?
For that matter, I've always questioned whether Sea World's brand of "education" is truly in the best long-term interests of the animal species they claim to care so deeply about. From what I've seen, parts of it bear a much stronger resemblance to hard-sell marketing than anything you'd find in, say, a standard zoo exhibit.
This is drifting severely off-topic, so I'll let it go at that. If Manta is the kind of thing you've truly been looking forward to, may it bring you much enjoyment. Personally, I think the money could have been better spent elsewhere.
If you ever been to the park recently, you would notice how much they try to get you to care about animals and conservation. Its everywhere from signs all around the park about their conservation fund, to the previews before the Believe show, to their education department where if you ever visit their exhibits, they explain everything you would want to know about the animals from laws protecting them to how much they eat per day.
SeaWorld is also accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and SeaWorld in Orlando at least is also one of the top manatee as well as sea turtles rescue and rehabilitation program in the state of Florida.
The way I see it. Half the people who goes to SeaWorld probably would never go to a zoo anyway and because SeaWorld combines both thrill rides and live animal exhibits, while having fun, they could probably learn something as well.
Among the kids... I'd say many.
Among the teens and grown-ups without kids... I'd say very few.
Among the parents... I'd say a moderate percentage of those whose kids are interested.
If a thrill park got a dolphin show, or aquarium I doubt business would boom and draw travelers.
But a coaster at an animal park would....well look at all the buzz happening. I plan on going as soon as I can afford it.
I've gotta say that if SWO didn't have Kraken last time I was in Orlando, I probably wouldn't have visited. Yeah I'm one of those guys. But since I DID visit, I saw and learned some amazing things about our aquatic co-inhabitants that I would've normally missed out on. And re-newed a fascination I haven't had since childhood. So maybe coasters/thrill rides are good things at these parks. Hmmm? Maybe?
No. I don't believe thrill rides at oceanariums are necessary nor a good idea.
Here's why. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of other dedicated oceanariums and zoos that have enjoyed considerable success without ever laying one section of coaster track, without ever putting up one single "sideshow" or "midway" style attraction, without ever deviating from their reason for being there in the first place.
If all those other parks can do it, so can Sea World. Oh, they may not make as much money, or be able to afford all the fancy show production and marketing schemes, but I'm not convinced that such things serve the long-term interests of protecting the very animals they display.
As I've said -- If coasters are something you love, and you don't care where they crop up, then by all means enjoy the blazes out of them! All I'm saying is that it's going to take a LOT of changes at Sea World to convince me that they stand for anything more than being a marine version of Cirque du Soleil (did I spell that right?)
But as long as the attractions SeaWorld adds are top notch, well-thought-out, A-list, decently-themed, one-of-a-kind experiences like Kraken, Manta, and Journey To Atlantis, then I applaud, support, and encourage those additions. And as others have written, the influx of cash from the cross-over crowd (like me) should be beneficial to the marine exhibits as well, which is a win-win in my book.