SeaWorld announces Aquatica San Diego for June 2013

November 20, 2012, 4:58 PM · SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced today that it's bought the Knott's Soak City water park in Chula Vista, California, and will transform it into SeaWorld's third Aquatica park.

Aquatica San Diego
Concept art courtesy SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

For those of you not up on Southern California geography, Chula Vista is located about 20 miles away from SeaWorld San Diego. Chula Vista's south and a bit inland from SeaWorld's home on Mission Bay. That makes Chula Vista a more attractive location for a waterpark than the cooler (and often gloomier) theme park site, which is right on the coast.

That said, when I tweeted the news earlier today, I didn't get much response until I followed up with "None of you really cares about water parks in California, do you?" And then, more people agreed than disagreed. California's a tough market for waterparks, which can thrive in hot, humid, landlocked markets. Texas has great waterparks. Holiday World's Splashin' Safari in southern Indiana might be the best one anywhere. Midwestern visitors love hitting up the Orlando waterparks when they visit Central Florida.

In California, water parks lag far behind theme parks in annual attendance. The state's most popular water park, Raging Waters in San Dimas, only ranked 13th in the nation among waterparks for attendance, drawing fewer than half a million visitors in 2011, according to the most recent TEA/AECOM annual report. For comparison, SeaWorld's original Aquatica, in Orlando, ranked third - drawing 1.5 million visitors in 2011.

Maybe Aquatica San Diego will provide the waterpark formula that will click with Southern Californians. The park is scheduled to open in June 2013.

Replies (6)

November 20, 2012 at 5:08 PM · This is going to be interesting to say the least. The reason being it is right next to a concert venue . It does make me wonder if they thought about get the other two Soak City's (Orange County & Palm Springs. The park does need a whole lot of work.
November 20, 2012 at 5:16 PM · Aquatica (Orlando) makes for a very relaxing day (except for the photo Nazis that try to force an expensive package on you after the dolphin swim). We have gone twice after that, but spent the whole day in the section where you snorkel with the rays, ride the lazy river and go through the bird sanctuary.

We have never made it into the water park, however. By the time we arrive, the place is already at capacity. Then again, we visit Orlando at the hottest and busiest part of the Summer.

November 20, 2012 at 7:10 PM · N B...I believe you are referring to Discovery Cove, which is a separate park from Aquatica.
November 21, 2012 at 8:40 AM · This is an example of where I view Sea World / Aquatica / Discovery Cove all as the same place since they are all owned and operated by the same company.

We are always given complimentary tickets for Sea World and Aquatica when we book Discovery Cove, so there is no distinction between them, at least from my point of view.

I guess my point was we have never made it into Aquatica, even with free tickets. Aquatica hits capacity within an hour of opening in June / July.

November 21, 2012 at 5:08 PM · As a SoCal native I can tell you why water parks don't do well here, is because they all STINK!
Soak City is undersized and WAY too crowded.
I've never been to Raging Waters, I haven't heard good things about it and it's too far away.
The water park by Magic Mountain is the worst of all since it looks WAY too small and is too far for me.
I liked Wild Rivers, but it's closed now.

I might journey to Aquatica San Diego if it's as nice as the one in Florida.

November 23, 2012 at 4:39 AM · Nice blanket review of CA waterparks by anonymous poster above. One he/she definitely hasn't been to, one he/she implies they haven't been to (it "looks WAY too small and is too far for me") and one that no one can go to any longer because it doesn't exist.

But on the bright side, that .250 batting average would probably get you a $7M major league contract.

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