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SeaWorld breaks ground on Ocean Explorer attraction

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Posted at 6:34 AM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 17:53:54-04

SAN DIEGO - SeaWorld San Diego began construction Wednesday on a multimillion-dollar attraction that park officials say will take visitors on an exploration of the Earth's seven seas.

Ocean Explorer is scheduled to open in the late spring next year on the southeast side of the theme park, where the Animal Connections exhibit and Circle of Flags currently stand. According to SeaWorld officials, it will combine multiple aquariums, rides and digital technology aimed at providing guests with a sense of adventure while inspiring them to protect the oceans.

Ocean Explorer will consist of a series of undersea research bases housing aquariums and interactive activities displaying unique and elusive ocean animals. Educational displays, technology and graphics will be key components of each section, according to SeaWorld.

On one of the four rides planned at the three-acre attraction, visitors in chairs suspended from tentacles will fly through thousands of bubbles. A mini-submarine ride is also planned.

"This newest, fully immersive attraction at SeaWorld San Diego is the next chapter in creating experiences that can create both wonder and curiosity for the oceans," said Brian Morrow, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment's vice president of theme park experience design. "Park guests will trek through sea-base stations, make special connections with incredible animals and discover how they too can take action to protect the oceans."

Mike Price, SeaWorld San Diego's assistant curator of fishes, said Ocean Explorer will give visitors a chance to "come eye-to-eye" with giant octopuses, spider crabs and dozens of moray eels, some of which have never been seen at the park before.

Guests will be able to see the animals and their habitats from multiple vantage points, Price said.