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SeaWorld planning new rides, turtle attraction at San Antonio park

August 27, 2018

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. plans to build two new rides and an animal attraction featuring turtles to its San Antonio park, city and state permits show.

SeaWorld San Antonio will add a Huss Airboat ride, a three-armed ride that spins riders, and a Zamperla Midi Discovery pendulum ride, according to a construction permit filed with the city.

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The park will also build a turtle exhibit pool, the permit says. A separate filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation says the pool will feature guest viewing windows and be located between Shamu Stadium and its Rio Loco water raft ride.

SeaWorld San Antonio spokesman Chris Derby said the attraction is under construction but did not have additional details. The company told the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation the attractions could be finished in May 2019. SeaWorld estimates construction will cost $2.9 million, according to that filing.

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The embattled theme park company has sought to add new rides every year in an effort to rebrand following years of fallout from the 2013 documentary film “Blackfish,” which negatively depicted SeaWorld’s treatment of its captive orcas. The company has pledged $175 million toward new rides, events and attractions — including the Wave Breaker roller coaster that rolled out at its San Antonio park last year.

SeaWorld showed signs of a potential turnaround earlier this month when it posted a $22.7 million profit and a nearly 5 percent gain in attendance for the three-month period ended June 30.

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CEO Joel Manby resigned in February after SeaWorld lost $200 million in 2017, taking more than $23.3 million in cash and stock with him when he left. SeaWorld’s chief parks operations officer, replaced Manby on an interim basis as the company searches for a replacement.

Joshua Fechter is a San Antonio-based staff writer covering retail and tourism. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | jfechter@express-news.net | Twitter: @JFreports

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