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SeaWorld's Aquatica offers families water park fun with marine life


Walt Disney World may have revolutionized themed water parks here in Orlando, but SeaWorld has created its own unique and kid-friendly version, too, that is equally as fun.

Over the last several months, my family and I have explored Aquatica, and we have been impressed with what it has to offer. Until recently, my experience with Orlando water parks primarily was limited to Disney World's Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

Dolphin Plunge

The wow-factor is similar at SeaWorld's park, but perhaps the most obvious difference is that Aquatica is themed to feature sea animals, of course, rather than a freak snowstorm in Florida or a tropical paradise left in the wake of a ravaging hurricane. A popular ride in the park is Dolphin Plunge, which is a steep tube slide through a tank where Commerson's dolphins swim and play. A tip for younger (and shorter) guests from team members: If you sit up when the slide goes through the tank, you will slow down and have a longer time to view the dolphins. My husband and I zoomed through the tank segment so quickly we got little more than a passing glance at the dolphins each time we experienced the ride.

A Commerson's dolphin

Visitors who are not brave enough to take the plunge can see the dolphins from many other angles: at the water's surface, where daily training sessions are performed; an underwater viewing tank where guests can stand; and another view of the tank from the lazy river attraction. But note that if you choose the opposite path on the lazy river, Loggerhead Lane, you'll see a tank full of colorful fish instead.

Loggerhead Lane

Want to see other wildlife? No problem here, because SeaWorld team members introduce guests to other exotic animals throughout the park, as well.

Roa's Rapids

And while lazy rivers are a staple at water parks because of their widespread appeal for slow-moving relaxation, Aquatica offers a different take on a winding river with its fast-moving Roa's Rapids. In this attraction, visitors do not ride in tubes. Instead the experience can be almost like body surfing. The strong current propels guests forward whether they float or swim, bypassing islands and gushing geysers. Because of this, children shorter than 51 inches are required to wear a life vest. Roa's Rapids is one of our family's favorite attractions at Aquatica, and with multiple entry points, there is never a wait. The same is true of the park's side-by-side wave pools.

Walkabout Waters

Like Disney's water parks, Aquatica has carved out play areas just for kids. At Kata's Kookaburra Cove, only those 48 inches and shorter may play. The miniature versions of popular rides give youngsters a thrill without parents having to worry about them being overrun by the older children. Kids of all ages, though, can play at Walkabout Waters, a 60-foot-tall play area where "rain" from buckets, fountains and blasters is continual.

Located next to Walkabout Waters are two family raft rides, Walhalla Wave and HooRoo Run. We found these rides to be quite a bit rougher than the family rides at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. In addition to steeper banks and drops, these rides include dark tunnels. If your child is a daredevil, Walhalla Wave and HooRoo Run could be fun for the whole family. They're not gentle rides for timid parkgoers, though.

Taumata Racer

There also are many different types of water slides for those with varying degrees of bravery. On Taumata Racer, guests lie on mats and fly through dark tunnels and then down a very steep hill. My 8-year-old daughter and I love this one. It's much faster than the Tobaggan Racers at Blizzard Beach, and I definitely had the sensation of my stomach dropping when my mat did. My 10-year-old son is a big fan of Omaka Rocka, which sends inner tube riders up half-pipe funnels backward and forward.

Omaka Rocka

The food at Aquatica is similar to what is served in SeaWorld restaurants. Waterstone Grill serves burgers, sandwiches and salads; Mango Market offers favorites such as pizza, chicken tenders and French fries, plus so grab-and-go selections; and Banana Beach is an all-day buffet. Family picnics are available seasonally. Alcohol and Coca-Cola products are sold at Aquatica.

Waterstone Grill

Of course, lockers and beach towels are available for rental. And sunblock and souvenirs are well-stocked, too.

Mickey and Co. certainly know a lot about making waves of magic at Disney World's two water parks, but the park that is home to Shamu also knows how to make a fun splash, as well.

The previous post in this blog was Simple ways to create Disney valentines and where to find character sweets.

The next post in this blog is Don't miss seeing Oscar-nominated Disney animated short 'Paperman' online.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 31, 2013 8:18 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Simple ways to create Disney valentines and where to find character sweets.

The next post in this blog is Don't miss seeing Oscar-nominated Disney animated short 'Paperman' online.

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