I didn't know what to expect when we entered the front gates of the park (speaking of which the entry plaza is beautiful). Looking at the map it looked like a big park so we decided to start with the shows and then do the rides. Here goes an "interesting" review considering that most of the park is animal attractions. I will still use the standard 1- ot 5+ scale on everything though.
FOOLS WITH TOOLS
SEA LION, WALRUS, SEA OTTER COMEDY
This was a vry cute show that relied on some very tried jokes. In other words you knew what would happen before they happened, but yet a very cute show. This is a family show, so do go expecting anything besides that. The preshow is quite humerous with the "karoke" style that it has. Good show.
KILLER WHALE SHOW
Crowd interaction is a major plus for this show. The main thing that thrills me is seeing these large mammals doing flips out of the water and such. A very well prepared show that got lots of people wet. Oops! I was not one of the them that got wet though, for some reason the first few rows all the way around were painted a dark blue with "splash zone" in big white letters painted on them. Usually that means something. Oh and the interactive quiz before the show is quite fun.
ROCKIN SKI PARTY
WATER STUNT SHOW
A "kooky" water adventure that is definitely catered to the older "teen" audience. Features choreographed dances and then high flying water stunts. A very good show for the older audience, I just think that the younger kids got a little bored with it, mainly because they didn't understand the jokes.
BELUGA WHALES, PACIFIC WHITE SIDED DOLPHINS, HIGH DIVERS, CIRCUS STUNTS
It's like Cirque du Soleil only wetter! Viva is a multi-sensory show that incorporates everything you can think of. The show begins with leap frog fountains jumping around in the audience viewing area. Then it "rains" on the back wall of the arena and divers come out dressed like lizards and start jumping into the pool. The show continues and you have whales and dolphins jumping around and then you have trapeze artists and lots of other stuff happening. It's almost a sensory overload trying to capture everything that is going on. I loved it and highly recommend it. Arrive early though, the seats fill up quick.
PENGUINS & PUFFINS
The exhibit is nice, but I have seen better ones at zoos. I did find the moveable walkway a nice touch so that people would actually move so others can see. It was a nice exhibit though.
SEA LIONS & OTTER COMMUNITIES
I liked how the park would allow you to purchase food to feed the sea lions. It was expensive, but I think that it's a neat opprotunity for guests to interact with the animals (no I didn't buy any fish for them). The otters in the exhibit were very cute and stood up like Timon off of the Lion King. Cute.
Another place where you can buy fish to feed the animals. Only difference here is that you are a lot closer to the animals and can actually "pet" them. They have a really neat feel and it was a lot of fun.
SHARK ENCOUNTER & REEF ANIMALS
A nice exhibit showcasing sharks, and eels. They also had some sea horses and other sea life. Overall I prefer EPCOT's LIVING SEA over this exhibit, but I thought that it was a very nice exhibit, the just could do a little more with it.
When you can see them any time at Grant's Farm, it wasn't to WooHoo.
*****RIDES - RIDES - RIDES*****
THE GREAT WHITE
2 rides - both in front
Ok, my second BTR for the trip. I must admit that I like the blue track the best so far. The yellow at SFoT didn't do anything for me. I thought it was interesting how low the station is compared to the ground. I am used to the eleveated stations when it comes to B&M coasters. The coaster was very smooth, but then again it's a beemer. I just wish SWT would have gotten an original course instead of a clone. Oh well.
4 rides - 1 front, 2 back, 1 near front
I gave this ride a chance, really I did. I just couldn't get over the fact that it wasn't intense at all. I think that I am spoiled by MAMBA, when it comes to hyper coasters. This thing seemed short height-wise and short length-wise. Also what was with that funky turn around, and why does it almost come to a complete stop at the midcourse, are we afraid it might actually have speed for the finish? I was disappointed with it, and I am very glad that MAMBA is at my homepark and not this "whimpy" coaster.
OVERALL PARK GRADE: B-
POINTS TO IMPROVE ON:
First of all I think the park needs to decide what it is going to be. It is at that point where it could go either way. It's very probable and possible that this could become a "Busch Gardens" style of park ala BGW or BGT, the only thing holding it back is the willingness to do it. The second option for the park is to go overkill marine park. IMHO they should spend lots of money and do both. I wanted so bad for a Shamu viewing tank, where you could go underwater and see the killerwhales (in a tube walkway mind you), I would also have liked that opprotunity with the shark tank (walk through area). Oh and another thing that bothers me is the waterpark. If they are going to go that way, get rid of the coasters (send them to Orlando or something) and just go that way (waterpark). To me it seemed as if the park is confused with what it's role is and is trying to put as many different options as they can into their park...maybe one day they will discover their identity, but until then, it will be just another zoo with some rides.
S W :) :) S H
I saw all of the shows in between my coaster riding excursions. Pretty good, especially the one with Dolphins and high divers.
I agree this park needs to add more rides. SE and GW just aren't enough. Why not a Krakken or Mamba type ride?
The lines on both coasters were non existant when I visited the park last year.
I was able to get tons of rides on both. Although I got quite a headache from riding GW 11 times in a row without getting off.
As for SE, I tend to be kinder with my review of this ride than most. It seemed to have lots of airtime when I rode it. However, the air was definately the "Buttslammin" kind. The third drop on SE was especially brutal on my backside. I agree the ride nearly stopped on the mid-course, but I thought the banking turnaround was kind of fun.
The last three airtime hills on SE were standard Morgan fair. That is, they'll pop you out of your seat, but slam you down hard again afterward. LOL
From what I could see, this park had tons of room for expansion. I wish they would build a true Hyper. and get a B&M original, maybe even a flyer.
This park is near to where I live and I can easily drive to it in 3 hours time. It would be great to have another truly awesome thrill park within easy driving distance.
*** This post was edited by DAN-EL on 3/22/2002. ***
Here's something I don't understand:
Sea World Texas is just a few miles down the road from a full-fledged amusment park (SFFT) and they add two coasters. Sea World Florida has a coaster, despite being miles from IOA. Yet Sea World in San Diego has no coasters, despite being in a city that has just one coaster in its entirety.
Opinions? Are the Florida and Texas SW's losing visitors to the coaster parks?
He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.
S W :) :) S H
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