ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the Orlando-based owner of 10 U.S. theme parks, has acquired Knott's Soak City -- San Diego, a standalone Southern California waterpark, from Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.
The park, located just south of San Diego in Chula Vista, Calif., will undergo extensive renovation over the fall and winter and re-open next spring as SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment's third Aquatica-branded park. Both SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Antonio now operate Aquatica parks.
SeaWorld will make significant changes over the off-season transforming the park into an Aquatica: "These parks reflect the highest standard of quality in attractions, entertainment and theming, but the presence of animals makes the experience something truly special. Aquatica San Diego, like its sister parks, will feature guest experiences with a variety of exotic animals," said Jim Atchison, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. "Having animals in our Aquatica parks adds an educational component to a waterpark visit that is both unexpected and enriching."
The first Aquatica opened adjacent to SeaWorld Orlando in 2008. It is now among the nation's most visited waterparks, with annual attendance of roughly 1.5 million guests. In addition to birds and tropical fish, Aquatica Orlando features Dolphin Plunge, the park's centerpiece water slide, which includes an enclosed acrylic slide that allows riders to see animals underwater.
Last year SeaWorld San Antonio unveiled its own Aquatica, with some of the region's best ride attractions, along with displays of kookaburra, spoonbills and southern stingrays.
"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."
Aquatica San Diego will be located at 2042 Otay Valley Rd. in Chula Vista, Calif. Terms of the deal, which have been under negotiation for several months, were not disclosed.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment inspires people to celebrate, connect, and care for the natural world through the power of entertainment. The company now owns 11 parks across the United States, playing host to more than 24 million guests a year and provide lasting memories through up-close animal encounters, world-class shows and rides, and high-quality themed attractions. Locations include SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Aquatica San Diego in Chula Vista, Calif.; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg.
A global leader in animal care and conservation, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment cares for more than 67,000 animals including 200 endangered or threatened species. This commitment extends to animals around the world: The company operates one of the world's most respected animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. SeaWorld has assisted more than 22,000 orphaned, injured or ill animals over four decades.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment employs approximately 21,000 people nationwide and is a portfolio company of leading alternative asset management and advisory firm Blackstone.