SeaWorld buys Knott's Soak City: San Diego water park to be renamed Aquatica San Diego

SAN DIEGO - SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has purchased Knott's Soak City in Chula Vista and plans to transform it into an "Aquatica," the company announced Tuesday.

Details of the purchase of the park, adjacent to the Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre, were not disclosed because negotiations over details are continuing, according to the SeaWorld announcement.

The park will be renovated and re-opened next spring as SeaWorld's third Aquatica. The other two are operated in Orlando and San Antonio.

Jim Atchison, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, said the Aquatica will include animals, making for a special experience.

"Aquatica San Diego, like its sister parks, will feature guest experiences with a variety of exotic animals," Atchison said. "Having animals in our Aquatica parks adds an educational component to a waterpark visit that is both unexpected and enriching."

The Aquatica in Orlando includes "Dolphin Plunge," in which visitors see marine line underwater as they go down a tunnel slide.

"I think it's so cool," said young parkgoer Alyssa Trasvina. "I will love going there. I like sea creatures."

"When the gates of Aquatica San Diego open for the first time next June, guests will see what visitors to Orlando and San Antonio already know: No theme park company can deliver a waterpark experience quite like SeaWorld," said John Reilly, president of the company's San Diego attractions. "Aquatica will be a great complement to SeaWorld and help us continue to bring value to our guests and enhance this destination."

That enhancement will likely mean higher ticket prices. Right now, ticket prices at Knott's Soak City are about $33 for adults and $23 for children. Ticket prices at Aquatica in Orlando are $45 and $40, although passes would likely be bundled with SeaWorld passes.

The expansion could mean more jobs. Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox issued a statement saying, "The company's presence in Chula Vista will improve the current water park, establish a new quality family attraction for our residents and create increased exposure for our city through tourism across SeaWorld’s many platforms."

Knotts Soak City was owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company of Sandusky, Ohio.

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