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Sunday, June 20, 2010

LEGO® Harry Potter™: Years 1-4 Xbox 360® Videogame Debuts at LEGOLAND® California

Special two-day sneak-peek event June 26-27 features Xbox360 game preview 

CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 17, 2010) – Wizards and Muggles alike will be enchanted by the all-new LEGO® Harry Potter™: Years 1-4 Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft during a two-day preview event June 26-27 at LEGOLAND® California.

During the two-day preview event, all 13 game stations in LEGOLAND California’s Xbox 360 Family GameSpace and all Xbox 360 kiosks throughout the family theme Park will give guests a special sneak-peek of the new action/adventure game, allowing them to experience the magic of the first four Harry Potter stories – LEGO® style. In addition, life-size LEGO models of Harry Potter and Hagrid will welcome guests to the Xbox 360 Family GameSpace and offer a fun photo opportunity for the entire family. As an added treat that weekend, Harry Potter fans can be the first to purchase the new game at The Big Shop at LEGOLAND before it debuts to the public on June 29.

The LEGO® Harry Potter™: Years 1-4 Xbox 360® videogame allows players to build the Harry Potter adventures from the doorstep of Privet Drive to the final task of the Triwizard Tournament as they relive Harry’s first four years at Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The game features tongue-in-cheek humor and creative customization that is unique to LEGO videogames.

Other key game features include playing as your favorite character including Harry Potter, or his best friends Ron Weasley™: and Hermione Granger™, as well as over 100 other characters from the wizarding world! Players will attend lessons, learn spells, mix potions, fly on broomsticks and complete tasks to earn rewards as they explore iconic settings including Dragon Alley™, the Forbidden Forest, Hogsmeade and, of course, Hogwarts castle. The Hogswarts school grounds are a grand, immersive 3D environment and the largest, most detailed LEGO game location ever built.

LEGOLAND California’s Xbox 360 Family GameSpace is located in the Imagination Zone and provides family-friendly games in an optimal gaming experience. The LEGO® Harry Potter™: Years 1-4 Xbox 360® videogame has an ESRB Rating: Everyone 10 and up with Animated Blood, Cartoon Violence and Crude Humor.


Universal City, California, June 17, 2010—The Halloween Horror Nights event at Universal Studios Hollywood SM will expand in 2010, growing to a 17-night schedule, offering spine-chilling new mazes based upon the horror genre’s most compelling characters, all created in collaboration with top filmmakers and artists.  This year’s event will also include a tram ride through the world’s largest and most intense 3D experience, King Kong 360 3D, created by Peter Jackson.

The 2010 “Halloween Horror Nights” 17 nights of terror will begin on Friday, September 24 and continue on weekend and other selected nights through Sunday, October 31.  New content for the event’s expanded number of attractions, including five mazes, six “scare zones” and a new “Terror Tram” experience, will be announced shortly.

Universal Studios Hollywood’s favorite thrill-ride attractions will also remain open for “Halloween Horror Nights” nocturnal affair, many with menacing twists.  Favorites include “The Simpsons Ride®,” “Revenge of the MummySM – The Ride” and “Jurassic Park® In the Dark.”

Updates on “Halloween Horror Nights” will be available at and also on Twitter and Facebook, as Creative Director John Murdy reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information.  Fans are invited to follow John Murdy on Twitter at: or via Facebook at: “Halloween Horror Nights - Hollywood (Official).”

Image from Wizarding World of Harry Potter Grand Opening

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort kicked off its grand opening celebration recently with help from Harry Potter film stars Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Bonnie Wright, Oliver Phelps, Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Warwick Davis, Rupert Grint and James Phelps.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of Hogwarts castle for a spectacular display of fireworks choreographed to a special performance of music from the Harry Potter films conducted live by renowned composer John Williams.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter officially grand opened to the public Friday, June 18.

The International Café, New Universal Studios Hollywood Restaurant Offers Delicious, Healthy Food In a Relaxed European Bistro Setting

Part of NBC Universal’s Company-wide Health Initiative

Universal City CA, June 16, 2010 -- Universal Studios Hollywood has opened the new International Café to provide theme park guests with healthy food choices in a casual, unhurried European bistro-style atmosphere. The new café is part of NBC Universal’s “Healthy At NBCU” initiative, which aims to connect consumers, marketers and employees with the company’s health and wellness content.

The menu of food choices includes creative salads, cheese plates, and healthy artisanal sandwiches, along with juices, mineral waters and many other food options suitable for a relaxed, sit-down meal or an on-the-go meal for hungry theme park guests.

Located just adjacent to the theme park’s “Streets of the World” film locations, which re-create European streets and plazas, The International Café offers indoor and outdoor seating. 

Sample menu choices at the International Café include a shrimp cobb and Greek salads, a grilled vegetable sandwich with gorgonzola cheese, a turkey with muenster cheese and arugula sandwich and a “caprese-style” plate featuring heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella and basil.

Consistent with Universal Studios Hollywood policies for all of the theme park’s restaurants, all foods at the International Café are trans-fat free.

LEGOLAND® Water Park Hosts VIP Celebration

Merlin Entertainments CEO Nick Varney Takes Inaugural Tour

CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 15, 2010) – Merlin Entertainments CEO Nick Varney took an inaugural tour of LEGOLAND® Water Park today following a VIP reception in honor of the world’s first LEGO® themed Water Park. Today’s festivities included rhythm water drummers, rafts customized with soft LEGO bricks modeled by Water Park lifeguards and 40 local children celebrating the start of summer.

Today’s special guests were among the first to see the newest features of LEGOLAND Water Park and many accompanied Varney on a tour led by LEGOLAND California Resort General Manager Peter Ronchetti.

“For me, the Water Park has a lot of significance, a lot of meaning,” said Varney during the event where he started his presentation by describing how much he loved both LEGO and water as a child. “It is at base, a Water Park based on LEGO. From my perspective, to every child in the whole of California, that makes it the most exciting place to go this summer.”

Ronchetti also spoke during the event: “After all the discussions and brainstorming and creative thinking that went into the Water Park design, the magic ingredient was adding the children – it was when we added children that we could really see how they would behave and interact with the Water Park. I can tell you that we are really, really thrilled and excited with their reactions.”

Today’s VIP guests came from all over San Diego County and included 40 children from local schools. They were among the first to see Build-A-Raft, the LEGO inner tubes kids customize with soft LEGO bricks before floating down the lazy river; the Imagination Station, where kids can build bridges, dams and cities out of DUPLO® bricks and test them against the flow of water; Aqua Tune, a musical fountain where kids conduct their own water symphony with the touch of their hand and the Water Fall dumping water down from the 45-foot-tall LEGO themed tower. While many of these features were in the original design, several had not been revealed to the public yet as final touches needed to be made.

Key attractions at LEGOLAND Water Park include Orange Rush, a family tube slide where up to four people can ride together down a 312-foot-long curving track on an 11-foot in diameter half pipe; Twin Chasers, two side-by-side enclosed red tube slides that stretch nearly 130 feet; Splash Out, an open body slide that invites guests to slide 240 feet and “splash out” into the water below;  Joker Soaker, a fun interactive platform in the wade pool where kids can aim water cannons at each other as a LEGO jester model tells jokes and pours 350 gallons of water down upon them; the Build-A-Raft River, an 850-foot-long lazy river where guests are splashed and sprayed by jumbo LEGO models;  DUPLO® Splash Safari, a water play area designed especially for toddlers with three small slides and interactive DUPLO creatures including an alligator, polar bear and an elephant; and Kid Creek, a mini lazy river built with younger kids in mind.

LEGOLAND Water Park is located at the north end of LEGOLAND California adjacent to Fun Town with the entrance located between the Factory Tour and the Adventurer’s Club. LEGOLAND guests can upgrade their Park tickets to include LEGOLAND Water Park for just $10. Geared for families with children ages 2 to 12, the Water Park will be included in the price of Water Park Hopper tickets and Resort Hopper tickets which include SEA LIFE Aquarium as well. Water Park admission will also be included in Resort Memberships. To learn the latest Water Park news, see photos and video, visit


A Day of Music & Dance at Sacramento's Fairytale Town
July 3, 2010 - 11AM to 3PM

The INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL returns to the Mother Goose Stage on July 3 with performances from 11AM to 3PM. Musical styles from around the world mix with exotic dancing and colorful costumes in this entertaining and educational day of live performances.

This year's attractions include Mexican folk dancing from Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento, and infectious African rhythms from the Fenix Drum & Dance Company.  Indian dance will be offered by Sangeet Bharati, and Kyla's School of Highland Dance returns to represent the Scottish Isles. Representing dance forms from Japan will be Minyo Tamoshimi Kai, and El Ka Pa Hala Kalama demonstrating various Polynesian dance styles. Fairytale Town favorite UNMATA will also be back with their own evocative and breathtaking brand of tribal bellydance.

Bringing world cultures to Fairytale Town is just one way that the organization is furthering its mission of educating children. "Learning is more than just reading and writing, its also about seeing cultures from around the globe, to understand that we are a part of a multi-cultural community and world," says Kathy Fleming, Executive Director.

For more information and talent updates, please visit

Cool Facts About Manta

In honor of Manta's first anniversary, SeaWorld Orlando posted a new blog entry, "Cool Facts About Manta".

Check it out!

Tickets on Sale Now for Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights 20

For 24 Nights This Fall, Guests Will Face New Haunted Houses, Scarezones, Shows at Nation’s Most Frightening Halloween Event

Two decades of diabolical icons.  Two decades of preying on the fears and nightmares of millions of people.  Twenty years of horror.

For 24 nights this fall, Universal Studios Florida will be home to all-new haunted houses, inescapable scarezones, hundreds of frightening “scareactors” and live shows.  Guests will be immersed in the horrors of years’ past and introduced to brand-new frights.

The Gory Getaway Vacation Package includes three-night hotel accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel, one 2-Day Base and Halloween Horror Nights Combo ticket, one 5x7 souvenir photograph and access to live entertainment at Universal CityWalk.  Guests visiting during the day also receive Early Park Admission to Islands of Adventure before the general public. The Gory Getaway Vacation Package starts from $299 per adult, and can be booked online at or by calling 1-888-467-7677 (HORROR-7).

Advance tickets for Halloween Horror Nights are now on sale for $74.99 plus tax.

Guests can purchase Halloween Horror Nights 20 tickets at or by calling 1-888-467-7677 (HORROR-7). Because of the event’s popularity, tickets for weekend nights are expected to sell out and should be purchased well in advance.  For more information, visit

WHERE:   Universal Studios Florida theme park at Universal Orlando Resort

WHEN:   September 24-25, September 30-October 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 20-24 and 27-31


Four baby birds now, with more on the way

Most people who visit the San Diego Zoo are familiar with the lush flamingo exhibit on the front plaza with its gorgeous pink birds strutting through the water on stilt-like legs. But there's a different feel to the exhibit right now; many of the birds --- both moms and dads --- are sitting on their mud nests keeping eggs warm, while others are following around fluffy gray chicks learning to walk and swim with those long, long legs.

"This is an exciting time to visit the San Diego Zoo, the time of year when our flamingos are hatching," said Dave Rimlinger, the San Diego Zoo's curator of birds. "We have four so far, and expect four to six more."

The San Diego Zoo is home to more than 100 flamingos. The four new chicks are between three and 10 days old. More eggs are expected to hatch within the next few weeks. 


More Than a Dozen Young Exotic Goats, Sheep and Antelope hopping about

There's quite a springtime baby boom going on at the San Diego Zoos Wild Animal Park- about 100 young exotic animals are playing in the field exhibits right now. Guests to the Wild Animal Park don't need binoculars to get a close-up view of the adorable antics of the Parks adolescents because 14 more goats, sheep and antelope are growing up in the nursery. At the nursery, Wild Animal Park guests can watch bottle feedings and see the young animals at play. Among the delightful creatures practicing their leaps and head-butting are fuzzy Turkomen markhors,  striped nyalas and spotted East African sitatungas.

"While we prefer that our baby animals are raised by their mothers in our wide-open field exhibits at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, sometimes that isn't possible due to medical problems or a mother's inexperience," said Kevin Yates, a senior keeper. "In those cases, we raise them in our nursery where guests can watch them grow up.

"We have babies on view here in the nursery almost year-round; some days it is cheetahs and rhinos and on others, like today, its leaping goats and antelope."

The 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park is operated by the not-for-profit San Diego Zoo and includes a 900-acre native species reserve. The San Diego Zoo focuses on the conservation of endangered species and their habitats, engages in conservation and research work around the globe, educates millions of individuals a year about wildlife, and maintains accredited horticultural, animal, library and photo collections.  The Zoo also manages the San Diego Zoo's Beckman Center for Conservation Research.  The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.


Up-Close Encounters with a Variety of Australian Species Expand the Range of Park Experiences

TAMPA, Fla. (June 8, 2010) – Guests can now discover unique animals indigenous to the Land Down Under at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s new Walkabout Way, an immersive animal attraction opening June 14.

In Walkabout Way guests can hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies, laugh along with a kookaburra and encounter magpie geese, Australian black swans and other Australian species.

“Offering encounters with Australian animals fits into our park’s theme, which is all about connecting guests with the natural world,” said Glenn Young, vice president of zoological operations at Busch Gardens. “Whether it’s gorillas, giraffes or kangaroos, animals share important lessons about other cultures and their natural environments. As a renowned zoo, Busch Gardens has the opportunity to introduce guests to exotic animals from all over the globe.”

Kangaloom is the centerpiece of the new area. The immersive exhibit features red and grey kangaroos and Bennett’s wallabies. As guests meander through, they’ll encounter wallabies hopping right along the sidewalk. During daily scheduled feedings, guests can purchase a cup of food and hand-feed both kangaroos and wallabies. Feedings will be offered a few times throughout the day; a schedule is available each day at the park’s entrance. The cost for a cup of food is $5. The experience is available to ages 5 and older.

Also in Walkabout Way is The Kookaburra’s Nest, a free-flight aviary featuring species native to Australia and other parts of the world. At Aussie Station, guests can have up-close encounters with the park’s animal ambassadors. Interactions will vary, but animals may include small Australian parrots, a tawny frogmouth, cockatoos and other exotic animals that share an important message of conservation.

Walkabout Way is an addition to the Bird Gardens area. Admission to Walkabout Way is included with a day’s paid admission or any annual pass.

For more information on Walkabout Way at Busch Gardens, visit or call 1-888-800-5447.


 Now THREE Nights a Week, You Can Enjoy Music, Entertainment and Food from the Islands at Busch Gardens’ Water Park

TAMPA, Fla. – This summer at Adventure Island, when the sun goes down, the fun heats up during Island Nights. From June 10 to Aug. 14, it’s a vacation from the everyday as Busch Gardens’ water park transforms into a celebration of island life with live music, authentic entertainment and inspiring cuisine. New in 2010, Island Nights has been extended to a three-day weekly celebration, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 5 to 9 p.m.

Exotic birds and larger-than-life stiltwalkers greet guests, and a steel drum band strolls throughout the park. Family-friendly DJs lead the party with games and music on two beaches, including a new beach area near Riptide.

Each event night, Polynesian dancers and a skilled fire performer captivate guests on the main beach. On Mango Joe’s deck, live bands perform a variety of styles, from Latin to beach party music. Sample the tastes of the islands with unique offerings added to the daily menu, such as coconut shrimp and conch fritters, sangria and frozen drinks.

Island Nights is the perfect night-time escape for all ages, and admission is included with any daily park admission or Adventure Island Pass. An ideal way to escape to Island Nights this summer is with an Adventure Island Weekday Pass. Pay for a day and come back any weekday – that’s any Thursday or Friday of Island Nights – all season long. Visit for more information.

About Adventure Island
Located right across the street from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island is 30 acres of water-drenched fun in the sun featuring the ultimate combination of high-speed thrills and tropical, tranquil surroundings for guests of all ages.

Thrilling slides and tube rides include Riptide, Wahoo Run, Key West Rapids, Runaway Rapids, Everglides, Calypso Coaster, Aruba Tuba, Caribbean Corkscrew, Water Moccasin and Gulf Scream. Guests can also stretch out on the beach or in the 17,000-square-foot wave pool, play on professional sand volleyball courts, breeze through tropical gift shops or let the current sweep them through a half-mile of lush landscapes and tropical waterfalls on the Rambling Bayou.

For the ultimate Island Nights experience, your family can enjoy an exclusive cabana. Each of the 15 VIP cabanas includes four chaise lounges, a locker, a mini-fridge with assorted drinks and four souvenir towels. Daily rental prices range from $149.99 to $179.99, based on the time of year.


With thousands of Earth's animals and ecosystems in peril, the San Diego Zoo has launched a new online program-San Diego Zoo's Global Action Team-to generate support for its worldwide conservation efforts and empower a global community to take small steps toward making a big difference in our planet's future.
"The San Diego Zoo works to connect people with endangered species," said Douglas G. Myers, chief executive officer of the Zoological Society of San Diego. "Through the San Diego Zoo's worldwide conservation efforts, we are involved in more than 100 conservation programs in 35 countries around the world. The Global Action Team program connects members not only with animals at the Zoo and Wild Animal Park but with the efforts to conserve them in the wild.
The Global Action Team Web site,, will highlight some of the Zoo's conservation projects and feature updates from its conservation researchers about their day-to-day efforts in the field via blogs and e-newsletters.  The initial project in the Global Action Team spotlight is elephant conservation in southern Africa.  Based in Botswana, this project involves tracking GPS-collared elephants to study their migration routes, which in turn helps the researchers mitigate human/elephant conflict.
"We feel its important to provide people-no matter where they live-with the opportunity to become involved in our conservation work," said Allison Alberts, Ph.D., chief conservation officer.  "We envision the Global Action Team as a platform for people who want to support conservation as well as learn about and follow our critical work on behalf of wildlife in places like Africa, Asia, South America, and even locally, in our own backyard."
To join the San Diego Zoo's Global Action Team, people can visit to learn how they want to get involved.


Celebration of Elephant Herd Begins June 19 at African Summer Festival

After a slow start the outlook for a male African elephant calf born at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park is now upbeat. The calf was healthy and nursing after his birth on May 12, but a medical condition with his mother caused him to lose rather than gain weight. His mother, Umoya, is now recovering, which means the calf is too.

The unnamed baby elephant is the third calf born at the Wild Animal Park in 2010. He weighed 220 pounds at birth, lost weight and is now up to 229 pounds and is interacting with other elephants daily, including the two other male calves born in February and April. Thursday some of the youngsters were seen wrestling in the mud.
To celebrate the success of this group, the Park is highlighting elephants during African Summer Festival. Visit the elephant exhibit at 11 a.m. daily to watch the elephants search the 3-acre habitat seeking goodies hidden in the grass, trees or rocks.

The festivities continue during African Summer Festival, which runs June 19 through Sept. 6, with a swirl of activities that represent the wonders of the African continent, including acrobats, storytellers, live drum bands, bead working, a new animal show and Robert, the digital talking zebra.
There are now eight youngsters in the 16-member African elephant herd, ranging from 3 weeks to 6 years old. The herd has doubled its size since the eight adults were rescued from the Kingdom of Swaziland, a small southern African country, where they faced being killed because elephant overpopulation was destroying habitat.

The 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park is operated by the not-for-profit San Diego Zoo and includes a 900-acre native species reserve. The San Diego Zoo focuses on the conservation of endangered species and their habitats, engages in conservation and research work around the globe, educates millions of individuals a year about wildlife, and maintains accredited horticultural, animal, library and photo collections.  The Zoo also manages the San Diego Zoo's Beckman Center for Conservation Research.  The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.


 World’s First LEGO® Themed Water Park Opens to The Public
CARLSBAD, Calif. – LEGOLAND® California General Manager Peter Ronchetti smiled as the gates to the world’s first LEGO® themed Water Park opened today. “After months of designing and planning and building, it is thrilling to finally see children enjoying LEGOLAND Water Park,” he said.

Design of the 5.5 acre Water Park began more than 18 months ago after guest surveys indicated that a water park would be a very popular addition to LEGOLAND California Resort. The $12 million investment is the largest expansion in the history of LEGOLAND California. The Water Park builds on the foundation of LEGOLAND California with interactivity, imagination and fun and is geared specifically for families with children ages 2 to 12.
Prior to the Water Park opening to the public today, 50 foster children from Camp Connect were invited to enjoy the Water Park all to themselves as they spent time with siblings who they have been separated from due to their placement in the foster care system. Camp Connect is a program provided in partnership with Promises 2 Kids, United Way and Health and Human Services.

“These are children who can’t live at home because they’re in danger, they’re abused or neglected … they’re placed separately because there is no way to place them together,” said Susan Golding , CEO and President of Promises 2 Kids. “Camp Connect gives them a chance to spend a whole day with their brother or sister who they don’t get to see very often, if at all. This is a very special day and the kids are so proud to be the first official visitors of LEGOLAND Water Park.”  

Key attractions at LEGOLAND Water Park include Orange Rush, a family tube slide where up to four people can ride together down a 312-foot-long curving track on an 11-foot in diameter half pipe; Twin Chasers, two side-by-side enclosed red tube slides that stretch nearly 130 feet, Splash Out, an open body slide that invites guests to slide 240 feet and “splash out” into the water below;  Joker Soaker, a fun interactive platform in the wade pool where kids can aim water cannons at each other as a LEGO jester model tells jokes and pours 350 gallons of water down upon them; the Build-A-Raft River, an 850-foot-long lazy river where guests are splashed and sprayed by jumbo LEGO models;  DUPLO® Splash Safari, a water play area designed especially for toddlers with three small slides and interactive DUPLO creatures including an alligator, polar bear and an elephant; and Kid Creek, a mini lazy river built with younger kids in mind.

LEGOLAND Water Park is located at the north end of LEGOLAND California adjacent to Fun Town with the entrance located between the Factory Tour and the Adventurer’s Club. LEGOLAND guests can upgrade their Park tickets to include LEGOLAND Water Park for just $10. Geared for families with children ages 2 to 12, the Water Park will be included in the price of Water Park Hopper tickets and Resort Hopper tickets which include SEA LIFE Aquarium as well. Water Park admission will also be included in Resort Memberships. To learn the latest Water Park news, see photos and video, visit

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Caring for SeaWorld’s 303rd endangered turtle patient this year is no small task for park aquarists. The recently rescued reptile is a three-foot, 270-pound loggerhead, found in the waters of San Carlos Bay near Ft. Meyers, Fla. on May 6.

The large male was seen floating to one side for several days. Emaciated and covered in barnacles, his condition was most likely caused by ingesting a foreign object.

Immediately upon his arrival at SeaWorld’s Animal Rehabilitation Center, aquarists began removing the barnacles and treating him with antibiotics. Veterinarians performed x-rays in search of internal injuries. The animal has begun to eat on his own as the Animal Rescue Team hopes to eventually return him back to San Carlos Bay.

SeaWorld is a global leader in the rescue and rehabilitation of endangered se turtles. This year the park has rescued 304 turtles and released 245. Now through August is loggerhead sea turtle nesting period, a critical time period for the preservation of this species.

Below: SeaWorld aquarists Kate Grimaldi, left, and Lateesha Hektner measure an endangered loggerhead sea turtle at the park’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

Kansas City’s Only River Tubing Adventure Begins Daily Operation

The New Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Waterpark Is Open Daily Starting Friday, May 28 With Special Discounts To Officially Kick Off The Summer Season.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – You no longer need to spend hours of driving in order to spend a hot summer day float­ing in a tube on a refreshing river. The new Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Waterpark in Kansas City, Kan., is open daily for the summer season beginning Friday, May 28, providing the areas only tubing adventure that combines slides, rivers, chutes and beaches to create a complete family waterpark experience. And if the park’s everyday amenities like free parking, free use of tubes and lifejackets and the opportunity to bring your own pic­nic inside the park are not enough, there are even more special discounts available for the holiday weekend.

Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Waterpark features a thrilling uphill water coaster, two mammoth tubing rivers including the world's longest tidal wave river, three huge slides, a white water tube chute, 13 mini slides for kids, three relaxing beach areas and a giant hot tub with swim-up refreshment bar.

Many of the attractions are connected by the Transportainment™ River System which combines the concepts of transportation, sport and entertainment to minimize the time spent waiting in lines. Throughout most of the park, visitors may stay in the water and float in tubes to the next attraction through a series of interconnected rivers, chutes, beaches and a water coaster with a floating queue line. Guests receive a greater “play value” by replac­ing time lost walking and waiting in line with more fun time in the water.

“There is nothing like spending the day with family and friends relaxing on the water,” said Keith Fontenot, gen­eral manager for the Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Waterpark. “It’s important to know that Schlitterbahn Vaca­tion Village Waterpark provides an experience that is very different than the average waterpark. We look forward to entertaining a multitude of new fans during our first full summer season.”

In honor of Memorial Day this weekend, Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Waterpark recognizes our soldiers with special discounts during Military Appreciation Days. Members of the military are eligible to buy All-Day Admis­sions at the park for $16.50 plus tax on May 28–31, which is a 50% discount off All-Day General Admission and more than $8.00 off All-Day Child/Senior Admission. Active, reserve, retired, family and DOD employees simply show their military ID card at the park entrance May 28-31 to receive this discount (one discount per ID card).

This weekend is the last chance to buy 2010 Season Passes at a discounted price at or at the park. In addition, those who buy or process a Season Pass at the park on May 28-31 also receive a free sports bottle that can be refilled at the park all summer long for just 99¢, and they can bring a friend this weekend for just $12.50 plus tax (one discounted friend admission per pass holder per day). All Season Pass holders also receive a coupon book packed with great discounts on food, merchandise, lockers and admission tickets.

All-Day General Admission for guests ages 12-54 is only $32.99 plus tax and All-Day Child/Senior Admission for guests ages 3-11 and 55 & older is only $24.99 plus tax. Discounts on All-Day Admissions are available at, at Sonic restaurants and on gift card racks at hundreds of retail stores throughout the Kansas City area.

A new discount for afternoon visits after 3:00 p.m. is also available at the park entrance during the 2010 season. Afternoon General Admission is only $23.99 plus tax and Afternoon Child/Senior Admission is only $17.99 plus tax.

Attractions Include:

Bahnzai Pipeline – Climb to the top of a 42-foot-tall tower and take an open-air tube ride down a twisted path of water wrath…BAHN-style.

Black Knight – Plunge in a tube down a fully-enclosed dark and coiled slide.

Henry's Hideout Hot Tub Bar – Unwind in a giant hot tub that incorporates a swim-up refreshment bar and in-water seating to create the perfect place to break from the action.

Kinderhaven Kids’ Area – Splash and play in an area designed especially for families with smaller children. This shallow water playground includes nine mini-slides and is separated from the rest of the "big kid" activities. Conveniently located in the center of the park, Kinderhaven is surrounded by shaded seating and open-sun lounging areas. Both kids and parents have fun together as they explore the Wyandotte Express choo-choo train, a friendly frog, a giant turtle, a shipwreck and a bubbling fountain.

Pirate Ship – Kids play on a giant pirate ship that is equipped with climbing ropes, four mini-slides and sprayers.

Torrent Beach – Frolic in the waves on the best beach in Kansas! Whether catching rays, cooling off in the surf, or embarking on a journey through the mammoth Torrent River, Torrent Beach is the hub that connects all the elements of a great day.

Torrent Cove – Relax on an island surrounded by the Torrent River.

Torrent River – Float the world’s longest tidal wave river! In this continuous, endless tubing river, ocean-sized waves surge through a serpentine waterway to create an ever changing experience. Guests enter this attraction without waiting in line. The Torrent River is a signature attraction at Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Waterpark.

Wolfpack – Take a tube and skid through an extra-wide pipeline of wild water. This oversized slide provides an experience that is a different every time you ride!

Kristal Beach – Cool off in the shade along the shore of the Kristal River. This calm beach provides refreshment as riders on the Storm Blaster uphill water coaster fly by overhead.

Kristal River – Relax on a tube, alligator or log on an endless, slow-flowing river during a hot summer day in Kansas.

Raging River Tube Chute – Ride through an exciting series of white water rapids.

Storm Blaster – Race uphill on a Master Blaster™ water coaster, another signature Schlitterbahn attraction. Storm Blaster combines the up and down thrills of a roller coaster with the unique experience of being propelled upward by jets of water.

Transportainment technology links Kristal River, Raging River, Torrent River, Storm Blaster, Kristal Beach, Tor­rent Beach and Torrent Cove, allowing guests to travel from one end of the park to the other without leaving the water!

For more information, contact the Schlitterbahn Vacation Village office in Kansas City, Kan., at 913.312.3110 or visit

"The Monkey King: Bollywood SuperStar!" @ Fairytale Town

The Fairytale Town Troupers feature Martial Arts Champion & YouTube Sensation


in their next production: "The Monkey King: Bollywood SuperStar!"

Saturday & Sunday Matinees

July 10 to July 25, 2010
The Fairytale Town Troupers are proud to announce that Martial Arts Champion and Youtube Sensation MIEKE ROSECRANS will play the lead role in their next production:"The Monkey King: Bollywood SuperStar!", written & directed by John Lee, Fairytale Town's resident Theatre Arts Educator and multiple Elly Award winner for Excellence in Young People's Theatre.
Set in ancient China & India, this original stageplay re-imagines the mythological "Journey to the West" as a magical mash-up of modern movie musicals and Martial Arts mayhem. There's no singing, but plenty of music, dance and action in this family-friendly production. Mieke Rosecrans will be portraying the title role of "Sun Wu Kong, the Monkey King", the Kung-Fu Super Hero of the East who journeys to the West to seek the "Book of Enlightenment"--braving all manner of mystical monsters en route. Having won six State Belt Titles, three International Titles and thirteen Tournament Grand Championships--in addition to 121 Medals, Plaques, and First Place Trophies for her Martial Arts acumen, Mieke is a perfect fit for this fresh and exciting new all-ages entertainment. "The Monkey King: Bollywood SuperStar!" is a thrilling combination of "The Wizard of Oz", "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Enter the Dragon", interlaced with joyous dancing and hilarious hijinks, and all set to the tune of infectious, Bollywood-style melodies.
"The Monkey King: Bollywood SuperStar!" will be performed LIVE on the Mother Goose Stage at Fairytale Town on weekends beginning July 10. Performances are FREE with paid park admission.
Event Details
What: The Fairytale Town Troupers present "The Monkey King: Bollywood SuperStar!" starring Mieke Rosecrans

When: Saturdays & Sundays, July 10 through July 25, 2010

Time: 12PM & 1PM (2 Matinee Performances per day)

Cost: General Admission to Fairytale Town is $4.50 on weekends / Children 2 and under are free ( Performances on the Mother Goose Stage are free with paid park admission)

Where: Fairytale Town 3901 Land Park Drive, Sacramento CA 95822

Contact phone: Boxoffice: 916-808-7462 / Theatre Arts Dept: 916-808-8884


Open Wide! Proud Parents Feed Their Chick at SeaWorld Orlando

ORLANDO, FL -- Open Wide! Proud Parents Feed Their Chick at SeaWorld Orlando

A tawny frogmouth chick, hatched April 11, gets fed by its mother, while the father looks on. In less than a year, six chicks have been hatched at SeaWorld and all are now thriving.

Until recently, the population of tawny frogmouths in North American zoos was facing extinction -- and breeding programs were largely unsuccessful. SeaWorld worked with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to develop a program to sustain the species' growth.

SeaWorld aviculturists have bred an unprecedented 24 chicks over the past 10 years. Typically as a part of this program, chicks are hand-reared by aviculturists to ensure they receive the best care during their first few fragile weeks. Through years of research, SeaWorld has made it possible for this chick to be raised by its parents.

Tawny frogmouths are native to the forested savannas and open woodlands of Australia. When fully grown, the insect-eating birds will be between 9 and 21 inches tall. To discover more, visit


Black-and-White Baby Plays with Gifts from Online Fans, Donors

Nine-month-old giant panda Yun Zi was in a playful mood this morning at the San Diego Zoo. The cub was given several toys in the exhibit he shares with his mother, Bai Yun. The hard-plastic disks, donuts, balls and cylinders are items that are used by animal care staff to keep the pandas physically and mentally stimulated, which helps with their growth and development.

"We had the opportunity to present Bai Yun, our mother, and Yun Zi, the cub, lots of toys that have been provided through the generosity of our online viewers and many, many, donors, to whom we are very grateful," said Karen Barnes, senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo.

The purchase of the enrichment items for the pandas was made possible through donations from people who are regular watchers of the Zoo's Panda Cam during a baby shower, hosted online using Facebook, in November 2009.

"Pandas are embraced by so many people and Panda Cam viewers are really a community that appreciates and loves these animals," added Barnes.

The San Diego Zoo is home to five pandas: Gao Gao, a 16-year-old wild-born male; Bai Yun, a 16-year-old captive-born female; and three of their offspring, Su Lin, born in 2005, Zhen Zhen, born in 2007 and Yun Zi, born in 2009.

Aquatica Now Offers Swimming Lessons

Now that summer is almost here, it’s a perfect time to get your little ones swimming safely. And there’s no better place to do so than at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark. American Red Cross certified swim lessons taught by Aquatica’s water saftey instructors are now available for children 6 months and older.

Swimming lesson enrollment ends 48 hours before first class. Level one classes begin on June 14 and level two classes begin on June 28.

The best way to experience Aquatica is with the purchase of an annual pass, where you can splash all year long. Plus, passport members save $100 off the swim lessons.

An Aquatica pass for a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in swimming lessons is available for $49.99. The ticket must be scanned by 9 am and can only be used on days the swimming lessons take place.

To find out more, go to or call 1.888.800.5447.

Kidzpalooza and Kaptain Robbie Knievel Featured This Summer at Wild Adventures Theme Park

Park open daily, includes new entertainment, family concerts and Splash Island Water Park

Valdosta, GA – A summer full of discoveries awaits families at Wild Adventures Theme Park (WA) when the park starts its daily park operations on Thursday, May 20 including new shows, family-friendly concerts and the area’s largest water park, Splash Island Water Park. The park’s kid-centered special event, Kidzpalooza, starts a limited time nine-week engagement on June 12. The event invites children of all ages to explore the park and experience kid-friendly shows. In addition, on July 3, Kaptain Robbie Knievel, famed daredevil extraordinaire, attempts a motorcycle leap over Wild Adventures’ central lake.

“As the country recovers from rough economic times, travel trends indicate families are looking for summer getaways that are not too far, too expensive or too time-consuming. That’s where Wild Adventures fits in. Wild Adventures is a nearby affordable family theme, water and animal park vacation destination. A season pass lets you come back all summer long or general park admission gets you two days for the price of one,” said Bob Montgomery, WA general manager.

“And the best part is, WA lets families pick their level of adventure, from mild to wild. They can fill their days with the largest collection of family rides in the area including eight coasters, cool off on the new multi-million dollar Wahee Cyclone in Splash Island and then enjoy a family concert in the evening. New shows and events, like Kidzpalooza, and animal interactions round out the memorable summer escape,” he added.

Wild Adventures’ summer event, Kidzpalooza, June 12–August 15, features new entertainment for kids of all ages. The Anastasini Circus, joins the park’s show lineup June 12 with jaw dropping acrobatics, jugglers and more under a big top tent. Families can also marvel at the mesmerizing Tigers of India, and tap their feet to Country Rocks Live!, both showing during Kidzpalooza. Tigers of India is an award-winning show featuring eight majestic, multi-colored tigers. The live act highlights the incredible bond of man and tiger while showcasing the animals’ natural behavior. A variety of gifted singers bring music to life with country hits from yesterday and today during Country Rocks Live!

In June, popular hypnotist Tammy Barton also takes families on a journey of the mind. Starting in July, the antics of the Dana Kunze High Dive Show entertain with a mix of high diving tricks and comedy and man’s best friend takes center stage with Doggies of the Wild West. Marshall Rowdy Yo along with his sidekick, Calamity Jo, amaze and amuse audiences with a cast of “Pooches from the Prairie.”

During 4th of July weekend, WA welcomes a special guest appearance by Kaptain Robbie Knievel who will be attempting a daring leap over WA’s iconic lake. To date, Robbie has successfully completed over 250 professional jumps, including 20 world records, highlighted by the Caesars Palace Fountain jump in 1989, the building-to-building jump in 1999 and the Grand Canyon in 2000.

Featuring the region’s largest outdoor amphitheater, WA promises families a variety of musical experiences this summer, including performances in May, June and July. The park line-up includes family concert performances in the rock, pop, country, Christian and gospel genres. Already scheduled to perform are:

May 22 Rodney Atkins
May 29 David Crowder Band
June 5 Backstreet Boys
June 12 Steven Curtis Chapman
June 19 Tye Tribbett & Kirk Franklin
June 26 Kool & The Gang
July 10 World Class Rockers
July 17 Josh Turner
July 24 Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly
Sept. 25 Third Day
Oct. 2 Vince Neil

All concerts are free with general park admission or a 2010 Season Pass. Reserved seats are available for an additional $10.

Families can vacation anytime with season passes on-sale at Best prices are now available. Regular passes are $69.99 and Gold Passes including free parking are $89.99. Prices increase by $10 on June 14. General park admission includes the second day FREE. Adults tickets are $45.99, kids (ages 3-9) and seniors (55 and older) are $40.99. Prices do not include tax.

Ride 2,000 for Diamondback Fan!

KINGS ISLAND, Ohio – A jubilant Gary Coleman (front seat right) took his record-setting 2,000th ride on Kings Island’s Diamondback roller coaster Sunday. The 68-year-old retired minister began riding the 230-foot tall coaster daily when the ride opened in 2009. Since last season, the Montfort Heights, Ohio native has made 105 trips to Kings Island to ride Diamondback, an average of 19 rides per day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Knott’s Berry Farm Debuts Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular

BUENA PARK, Calif. (Summer 2010) –To celebrate the Peanuts 60th Anniversary, Knott’s Berry Farm will debut a new nighttime light show that showcases the Peanuts Gang and reminds us why our heart still belongs to good ol’ Charlie Brown.

Starting May 29, when darkness falls over Knott’s Berry Farm, Camp Snoopy will come alive with a continuous light show filled with Peanuts’ three dimensional figures, themed music, sound effects, voice-overs and colorful projections of the Peanuts’ characters. In “Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular” guests will see their favorite characters in scenes that personify them – Lucy’s dream of being a Hollywood starlet, Schroeder’s musical genius, even Woodstock gets into the act as he and Snoopy go on a camping adventure.

Over at the Charles M. Schulz Theatre, Knott’s Berry Farm is proud to present “Everyone Loves Snoopy” (dark Wednesdays) an exciting ice show debuting June 19. In this musical extravaganza you will fall in love with the Peanuts Gang all over again as Snoopy takes center stage along with world-class ice skaters in a show that will delight the entire family. Catchy tunes, elaborate costumes, special effects and show-stopping choreography make this production a not-to-miss experience.

Starting in August, Knott’s is proud to welcome Rock Band® Live to the Knott’s Boardwalk area. This one-of-a-kind multimedia experience combines the thrill of a stage show with live music that is guaranteed to rock! Guests will have an all-access pass to the hottest new show with the most triumphant rockers at the park’s Rock Band® gaming kiosks being chosen to participate in the show each and every day. Rock Band® Live runs August 5-8 and 10-15.

For the younger set, “Hooray for Hollywood” tells the story of the Peanuts Gang as they try to make it big in Tinseltown. This live musical review in the Camp Snoopy Theatre features the Peanuts Gang along with their friend JT in a show that’s sure to delight kids of all ages. Kids will also enjoy “Snoopy’s 60th Birthday Party” which will be held daily in Camp Snoopy August 1-8 in honor of the Peanuts 60th Anniversary. Kids ages 3-11 will enjoy a free chocolate chip cookie (Snoopy’s favorite food!), play some party games and even sign a giant birthday card for the Peanuts Gang.

Knott’s is also proud to announce an exciting new summer concert series featuring the music of some of the most celebrated groups and solo artists of all times. This line-up promises something for everyone starting with Raymond Michael as “Elvis” June 19, 20, July 3, 4 and August 7, 8, 14, 15. For all the Beatles fans, Knott’s will offer not one, but two, tribute bands “Abbey Road - A Tribute to the Beatles” will perform July 10, 11, and 18 and “BeatleMania Live!” will be performing July 24, 25, 31 and August 1, 21, 22, 28 & 29. The “Big Fat Steve Band” takes to the stage June 26 & 27, with their American Roots music which includes Rockabilly, Swing, Blues, Classic Rock, Country and Surf! And celebrating the last weeks of summer “Surfin’ Safari” will pay tribute to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

At twilight the Calico Square Stage becomes the place to learn the latest dances such as the “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” (selected dates) with Knott’s line dancing aficionados, J.T. and Dusty.

The summer really heats up with “Fiesta Folklorico.” Guests in Fiesta Village will be treated to beautifully costumed dancers as they present culturally-rich performances filled with intricate choreography.

Weekends were made for BBQs and Knott’s is firing up the grill every Saturday and Sunday through September 6 with Joe Cool’s Backyard BBQ. For just $39.99 for Regular, $29.99 for Juniors and Seniors (62+), guests receive admission into Knott’s Berry Farm as well as an All-You-Can-Eat BBQ served from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Guests can save even more with a coupon from

One of the best reasons to visit Knott’s Berry Farm during the summer is that Knott’s is open late, and guests can get in after 4 p.m. for only $26.99 for Regular admission and $23.99 for Juniors (3-11) and Seniors (62 years and older). All-day tickets to Knott’s Berry Farm are $53.99 for Regular admission and $23.99 for Juniors (ages 3-11) and Seniors (62+). Children under three are free. Discount tickets to Knott’s will be available at Ralphs stores starting June 9 through September 6 and are valid through October 31 (excludes Knott’s Halloween Haunt).

Just across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm, Knott’s Soak City is ready for another fun-filled season. Cool off in Tidal Wave Bay or take a ride on Pacific Spin, Soak City’s newest ride. Pacific Spin riders are blasted down into

a 132-foot long tunnel, then drop a stomach-churning 63 feet into the mouth of a six story funnel. This thrilling escapade culminates in a waterfall splash that deposits riders into a cool catch pool. Tickets to Knott’s Soak City Regular admission is $31.00, Juniors (3-11) and Seniors are just $19.99.

Knott’s Soak City Orange County will be open May 22 and 23, then daily May 29 through September 6, then weekends only September 11 through 19.

Knott’s Soak City San Diego will be open May 22 and 23, then daily May 29 through September 6, then weekends only September 11 through 26.

Knott’s Soak City Palm Springs is open weekends now until May 27 when it will be open daily through Labor Day and then weekends through September 26.

For hours on the day you plan to visit call (714) 220-5200 or check the Knott’s Berry Farm website at, where you can also save time and money with Knott’s Print@Home tickets.

Ape Pen Productions & The 1313 Club Proudly Presents - Walt Disney's Marvelous Mechanized Magic Kingdom

A Look at How Disneyland Revolutionized Entertainment Storytelling Through Mechanical Means - from Songbirds to Dragons and Beyond!

Once-in-a-lifetime event will celebrate Disney’s mechanical magic, from the shores of the Jungle Cruise and Monorail beams, to Pirate ships, and beyond!

This September 18th 2010, Ape Pen Publishing and the 1313 Club will host an event celebrating the incredible mechanical story of Disneyland—beginning with simple motorized figures and leading to the development of Audio-Animatronics.

Unique in the world of themed entertainment for its design and production of hundreds of mechanical devices for the revolutionary theme park, Disney’s creative efforts led from simple animated humans and animals to ride systems, vehicles, special effects, and some of today’s most striking lifelike animatronic characters.

The event will illustrate Disney’s incredible mechanical achievements by spotlighting attractions, characters, and memorable devices created by the Disney Studios and, later, the MAPO arm of WED Imagineering.

Using rare images, video, and authentic props and animatronics, guests will gain insight into the fascinating MAPO division as never before.

Disney Legends Bob Gurr, Alice Davis, Floyd Norman, Rolly Crump, and Xavier Atencio, Garner Holt, Bill Farmer, (plus many more!) will shed light on this little known but highly intriguing aspect of Disney history—plus performances by Disneyland entertainers and the World premiere of the world’s most advanced animatronic figure!

This once-in-a-lifetime evening will honor Disneyland as one of the world’s great storytelling environments, with special emphasis on its technological wonders. Combining history, entertainment, and lots of surprises, it’s an event not to be missed by any Disneyland Fan.

Sept 18th , 2010 at the Disneyland Hotel
Celebrating 55 Years of DISNEYLAND!
Staring Disney Legends!


Featuring Authentic Animatronics Presented By
Garner Holt Productions
Creators of many Disney Audio-Animatronics including Mr. Lincoln &
Toy Story Midway Mania's inner-active Mr. Potato Head

With Live Entertainment presented by:
The Original Golden Horseshoe
Can Can Girls
Golden Horseshoe Performer
Kirk Wall

Confirmed Disney Legend Speakers
X Atencio-Show writer/lyrist for Pirates of The Caribbean, & The Haunted Manson
Milt Albright-Original Disneyland Park Manager
Katherine Beaumont-The original speaking voice of Alice & Wendy
Rolly Crump-Show designer of it's a small world, Pirates, The Haunted Mansion, The Tiki Room
Alice Davis-Costume Designer, it's a small world, Pirates of The Caribbean
Bob Gurr-Creator of The Monorail, Autopias, Mr. Lincoln, The Flying Saucers
Bill Farmer-The one and only voice of Goofy
Floyd Norman-Artist & Animator

Don't wait! Seats are Limited!!!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

TPA Reader Photo!

The good stuff keeps coming in now - here's a shot of the original Snow White darkride mural from Disneyland. The artwork is by Disney Legend Ken Anderson, circa 1963...

Sunday, June 6, 2010



The United States Senate declared Friday, May 21st as Endangered Species Day to encourage people to become aware of threats to animal and plant species and to learn what they can do to help. It is estimated that the current extinction rate for species on our planet is more than 1,000 times the rate it would be naturally, as a result of human activities. There is cause to be concerned, from the loss of arctic ice to disasters like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Still, San Diego Zoo scientists are optimistic that there is still time to make a difference.

"At the San Diego Zoo, we celebrate national Endangered Species Day because these and countless other magnificent creatures are not yet gone," said Allison Alberts, Ph.D., San Diego Zoo chief conservation officer. "They are still our fellow travelers on this planet, and there is still time to save them as long as we have the will to do it."

The San Diego Zoo sees new reasons for hope every day. Following are the Zoo's ten best reasons.

1. This year, the 300th puaiohi hatched at Zoo's Keauhou Bird Conservation Center in Hawaii. And the 200th of these tiny forest thrushes will be released into its native habitat, rebounding this species from the brink of extinction.

2. Zoo scientists rediscovered gorilla and chimpanzee populations in Cameroon. Replete with wildlife, this forest haven is home to eleven species of primates, including gorilla and chimpanzee populations once thought to be extinct.

3. The first dedicated screening lab for chytrid fungus, a devastating disease that threatens amphibians around the world, was established by the Zoo. The lab will assist in the creation of healthy colonies for the most critically endangered amphibians.

4. The Chinese government banned logging in giant panda habitat and added 50 new reserves to protect wild pandas. The Zoo welcomed its fifth cub, little Yun Zi, contributing to a global baby boom that will reach 300 pandas worldwide this year.

5. San Diego County's unique flora, one of the most endangered in the continental United States, is being conserved for the future. The Zoo achieved a milestone this year, safeguarding seeds from 500, or a third, of our 1,500 native plant species.

6. In collaboration with Elephants Without Borders, the Zoo documented African elephants moving across the war-torn landscape, instinctively avoiding land mines to find their way home from Botswana to repopulate Angola for the first time in years.

7. The national movement to reconnect kids to nature continued to grow. The Zoo welcomed the 10,000th student visitor to the hands-on Conservation Education Lab, and made the decision to theme October as Children and Nature Month.

8. An ambitious effort to sequence the genomes of 10,000 vertebrate species was launched. Utilizing the resources of the Zoo's unique Frozen Zoo®, this endeavor will lead to innovative genetic approaches to diagnosing and treating animal diseases.

9. Zoo scientists worked with developers and local governments to successfully relocate more than 190 critically endangered Stephen's kangaroo rats from sites slated for housing projects onto protected reserves, where they are thriving.

10. California condors continue soaring toward recovery. The global population of California condors surpassed 350, with more than half now flying free in the wild.

The San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research is dedicated to generating, sharing and applying scientific knowledge vital to the conservation of animals, plants and habitats worldwide. The work of the Institute includes onsite research efforts at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, laboratory work at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Conservation Research, and international field programs involving more than 180 researchers working in 35 countries. In addition to the Beckman Center for Conservation Research, the Institute also operates the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Botanical Conservation Center, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaiian Bird Conservation Centers and the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center. The Zoo also manages the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, which includes a 900-acre native species reserve, and the San Diego Zoo. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund Participates in Bald Eagle Release

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 14, 2010) – The SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund participated in the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey release of an American Bald eagle this morning. This was the 396th rehabilitated bald eagle the Center has released since its inception in 1979.

Rob Yordi, a representative for the Fund, released the bald eagle from the Palm Cemetery in Winter Park Fla., very close to the location of its rescue in January earlier this year. The adult female eagle had puncture wounds and a fractured coracoid - a bone in its right shoulder - that Center specialists believe it obtained during a territory fight with another eagle.

“The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund is proud to have provided $60,000 in grants to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey since 2004,” said Yordi. “The Center’s work to rescue, rehabilitate and return birds of prey to the wild and to protect their habitat is vital to Florida’s ecosystems and the wide range of species in the region.”

The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit private foundation which focuses its resources in four strategic areas: Species Research, Habitat Protection, Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation, and Conservation Education. Since its launch, the Fund has granted over $6 million to more than 500 projects in countries around the world. The Fund’s grantees are diverse, including global organizations such as World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and Conservation International along with smaller, grassroots organizations. For more information, visit

Thursday, June 3, 2010

TPA Reader Letter: Disneyland 1955

My mom, dad and sister taken in November - four months after the Park opened!


No response necessary! THANK YOU! Awesome pictures!

TPA Reader Question: Knott's Preserved Omits

Dude... How do you write a long review about Merritt's [Knott's Preserved] book signing, mentioning everyone who was there, but nada a mention of Richard Harris or I, two well-known amusement park historians and authors? In fact, we're thanked in Merrit's book.

Later. J.


Hi J.,

Sorry if you felt left out. There were a lot of people at the event that we didn't mention that play a part in the industry and scene as well. The focus was the people primarily who were involved at some point with Knott's Berry Farm, and a handful of special guests such as Bob Gurr, who contributed to the general aura of amazingness that was the entire day.

If you'd like to respond to this with a link to your site and works, I am sure that our readers would be interested in checking it out.

- Rick

Questar to release “Disney Parks”

DVD 6-Pack, Blu-ray Plus Combo Pack, and DVD Single will reveal the hidden “secrets, stories, and magic” of the technology behind top Disney attractions

(Chicago)—Emmy-winning Lightship Entertainment of Orlando, Florida, has appointed Chicago’s Questar Entertainment the exclusive distributor of “Disney Parks” to be released on June 1, 2010 as a DVD 6-Pack (SRP $49.99), a Blu-ray Plus Combo Pack containing Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copies($34.99), and a DVD Single of highlights ($19.99). Produced for Disney Parks LLC by Lightship, “Disney Parks” gives viewers special access to top attractions and gives viewers unprecedented insight into the technology, design, and “imagineering” that goes into every aspect of the Disney experience.

“Disney granted us unprecedented access which allowed us to document the technology, engineering and ‘imagineering’ in their top attractions more comprehensively than anyone before,” said Andy Perrott, President and Executive Producer of Lightship Entertainment.

“Questar is truly honored to be the exclusive provider of Disney Theme Park content,” said Kevin Silverman, Vice President, Digital Distribution and Programming at Questar Entertainment. “This is an exciting release and proves that in its 25th year, Questar still has ‘Everything in the World Worth Watching.’”

The “Disney Parks” DVD 6-Pack (SRP $49.99, Program Length 5.5 hours) includes:

• Walt Disney World: Behind the Scenes—An exclusive look at the park that made Orlando the nation’s number one vacation destination.

• Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes— A journey through the incredible attractions and entertainment experiences at the original Disneyland Resort.

• Ultimate Walt Disney World—A close look at the exciting thrill rides that make Disney parks so exciting.

• Disney’s Animal Kingdom—A tour of Disney’s largest and most ambitious theme park to date!

• Disney Cruise Line—Exclusive access to Disney’s cruise ships and its private island, Castaway Cay.

• Undiscovered Disney Parks—A unique guide to Disney sites “off the beaten path” including properties and locations in Anaheim frequented by Walt Disney himself.

The “Disney Parks” Blu-ray Combo Pack, which gives consumers DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital copies of the program (SRP $34.99, Program Length 2.5 hours) includes:

• Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes

• Ultimate Walt Disney World

• Undiscovered Disney Parks

Finally, the “Disney Parks” Single DVD (SRP $19.99, Program Length 1.5 hours) contains:

• Walt Disney World: Behind the Scenes

• Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes

About Questar: Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2010, Questar Entertainment is one of the industry’s leading large content holders of quality Travel, Nature, and Inspirational programming for television, home entertainment, education, web and digital, with over 3,500 titles in its library. Questar has won five awards from The American Film Institute, and has been honored by Billboard Magazine and at The Covenant Awards. Questar’s “Rome: Power & Glory” was named Best Educational Documentary at The DVD 2000 Entertainment Awards, while “Bobby Darin: Mack Is Back” received a Certificate of Excellence as Best Music DVD. Questar products are distributed through Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Netflix, iTunes, Blockbuster, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Columbia House, and Reader’s Digest. Questar has produced more than 100 original programs for PBS, The Discovery Channel, TLC, The Travel Channel, The History Channel (A&E Networks), and PAX-TV Network. In 2010, Questar was selected to join YouTube’s beta rental program providing full-length premium content to users. Questar maintains offices in Chicago and Burbank. For more information, visit

TPA Reader Question: Bob Mattey


Do you know of any attractions at Disneyland in which Bob Mattey had a hand?

Scott Essman
Creative Director
A Multimedia Organization


Hi Scott!
Thanks for writing. Unfortunately, I am probably as unfamiliar with Mr. Mattey's Imagineering work as you! I did look up Bob's history online and it appears that while he was mainly a movie guy, he did lend his abilities to the WED side of things on occasion. Here's the simple link:

Sorry I am not of more help in this case - perhaps one of the folks reading this will comment and share some knowledge with you and me!

World's most nostalgic bookstore celebrates 10th Anniversary

On Tuesday 27 April 2010, (the world's largest specialist supplier of amusement park, fairground, circus and seaside books) celebrated 10 years of retailing the oddest, most nostalgic and quirkiest publications around with a series of light-hearted articles on amusement park nostalgia website was the first online retailer focussing only on amusement park and fairground books when it launched in April 2000. It was the idea of founder Nick Laister, who actually set it up as a way of promoting his own book, which was expected to be published that year:

“I would like to say that I had a eureka moment when I came up with the idea of setting up a bookstore specialising in books and DVDs that celebrate everyone's nostalgic memories of seaside holidays and classic amusement parks. But, in fact, I was writing a book on the history of seaside amusement arcades and the fascinating characters that worked in them and decided I need a website to promote it. As it turned out, the book (Pennies by the Sea) was not published until 2006 and rapidly sunk without trace, by which time Joyland Books had grown beyond all of my expectations into probably one of the most successful specialist retailers in the world.”

Nick, who works in the visitor attractions industry as a planning and development consultant to several major theme parks, is interviewed on themagiceye website, one of several behind-the-scenes features celebrating this anniversary.

Nick says: “I have to admit that the success of Joyland Books took me by surprise, but really it shouldn't have been surprising that it has captured the imagination of so many thousands of people. Virtually everybody has memories of walking along ornate seaside piers, or riding big wooden roller coasters. We celebrate everything from the smallest vintage slot machine to the biggest ferris wheel and visit everything from Butlin's holiday camps to beach huts passing through numerous colourful travelling fairs and thrilling theme parks on the way! We search out the oddest and quirkiest of books, many of which are not available at mainstream bookstores because they are self-published or produced by historical groups.” became nationally famous in 2003, when it set up a campaign to save Margate’s Dreamland Pleasure Park and to build the world's first amusement park exclusively made up of thrilling historic rides. founder, Nick Laister, is now chairman of the Trust that is building this exciting new attraction using several million pounds of grant funding awarded by the Government and Heritage Lottery.

Nick says: “After spending several years celebrating the heritage of Britain's seaside resorts and amusement parks, it seemed such a perfect fit for Joyland Books to lead this exciting project, which we hope will transform Margate's fortunes. Joyland Books continues to be centrally involved with the project and still hosts the websites and” started out being operated from a residential property on a free website domain, but is now based on a 5-acre site in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. The website now attracts an amazing 11.3m hits per year and has expanded to now include hundreds of rare and out-of-print books on the same subjects, covering everything from seaside piers and Madame Tussauds guide books to books about Disney theme parks and Carousel horses.

The anniversary articles are now live at Joyland Books is at

Sudden Impact! signs three new parks with its exciting interactive attraction TERMINATOR X: A LASER BATTLE FOR SALVATION

The Sudden Impact! Entertainment Company will open its TERMINATOR X: A LASER BATTLE FOR SALVATION attraction in three parks across three continents in 2010, following on from its successful launch in Australia at the end of 2009. It is the second laser themed attraction from Sudden Impact! which also licensed, created and produced AVPX (ALIEN VS. PREDATOR VS. YOU) at Dreamworld theme park, Australia last Easter.

La Ronde in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Sunway Lagoon in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Six Flags in Mexico have all signed up for the latest Hollywood blockbuster interactive attraction, TERMINATOR X: A LASER BATTLE FOR SALVATION, created, licensed and managed by Sudden Impact!

TERMINATOR X: A LASER BATTLE FOR SALVATION is an adrenaline-pumping live interactive adventure attraction, which gives guests the chance to experience what it’s like to be inside a live video game doing battle with each other and the apocalyptic environment of the TERMINATOR. Players enter a briefing room for their instructions and battle gear, before entering the themed arena armed with high tech laser guns, ready to take on their enemy.

TERMINATOR X: A LASER BATTLE FOR SALVATION is the brainchild of Lynton V Harris, Chairman, CEO & Creative Director of The Sudden Impact! Entertainment Company, which creates live productions, based on Hollywood blockbuster films and TV Shows for worldwide tours. Sudden Impact! brings the big screen to life by replicating its sets, characters, costumes and immersive action.

“Everyone wants to be in the movies,” explains Harris.

“Sudden Impact! puts you there by placing the audience in the middle of a heart- pounding, live, interactive, and tactile experience.”

Following on from the success of Sudden Impact!’s La Momie (THE MUMMY-TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR LIVE!) which was licensed from Universal Studios for the 2009 season at la Ronde, Six Flags-owned park La Ronde has signed up for a three-year contract with Sudden Impact! to operate TERMINATOR X: A LASER BATTLE FOR SALVATION, beginning in May 2010. Guests will buy a special TERMINATOR X combo ticket with their admission ticket, in order to battle their wits against another team, as well as the 12 actors trained and managed by Sudden Impact! who play the fast-paced laser game dressed as characters from Terminator.

Sunway Lagoon, which is owned by The Sunway Group and is Malaysia’s most visited tourist attraction, is launching TERMINATOR X: A LASER BATTLE FOR SALVATION to coincide with the launch of its new late-night hours. From May this year, Sunway will launch Sudden Impact!’s brand new live scare attraction TERMINATOR ALIVE! by day and convert it to the even more adrenaline-pumping TERMINATOR X: A LASER BATTLE FOR SALVATION by night.

Final negotiations are in place for Six Flags Mexico to open TERMINATOR X: A LASER BATTLE FOR SALVATION as its headline attraction, from June 2010. Sudden Impact! has just completed its first full year at Six Flags Mexico with THE VAN HELSING EXPERIENCE LIVE! under License from Universal Studios.

Along with Terminator, Sudden Impact! has licensed other major Hollywood brands for the attractions industry, including The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, The Scorpion King, Lara Croft – Tomb Raider, Van Helsing, Alien Vs. Predator, Saw, Night At The Museum and Prison Break. It’s also developing a brand new arena touring production on ice, based on the Hollywood blockbuster Ice Age franchise, ICE AGE on ICE!

As well as featuring in major theme parks worldwide, Sudden Impact!’s attractions have appeared at major events, shows and visitor attractions, including Madison SCARE Garden at Madison Square Garden in New York, and a six-year stint at Warwick Castle, with its Warwick Ghosts ALIVE! Show, for The Tussauds Group.

“Arenas, Theme park operators and tourist locations are looking for new ways to interact with audiences without the high costs associated with a hard ride attraction,” explains Harris.

“Sudden Impact!’s temporary attractions give operators an immediate hook for their audience because they’re well known, Hollywood brands. It’s also a chance for operators to give their park some Hollywood glamour.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Harry Potter Film Stars Get a Sneak Peek Look at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando has released ALL-NEW photos and video from a sneak peek visit by Harry Potter film stars Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, James and Oliver Phelps and Matthew Lewis to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The group spent the day visiting Hogsmeade, as well as touring through Hogwarts castle, home to the environment’s marquee attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Nights Are More Intense at Busch Gardens in 2010

Ride Coasters in the Dark, Stay for an Awesome Night-Time Finale

TAMPA, Fla. (May 21, 2010) — Busch Gardens amps up the fun in 2010 during Summer Nights with MORE contemporary entertainment, MORE special effects and MORE reasons to stay and play each night from June 11 through Aug. 15. This year, the rides are even wilder and, each night, Busch Gardens goes out with a big, rock-style bang when Kinetix explodes onto the stage in Gwazi Park at 9 p.m.

Kinetix brings together live musicians, singers, dancers and artists from around the world for an original, non-stop 30-minute contemporary rock experience that delivers awesome lighting effects, modern music and high-energy performances.

Also in 2010, Busch Gardens’ world-class rides are amplified with pulsating sights and sounds to intensify each experience. Thrill rides, such as SheiKra, incorporate strobe lights, black lights, music and other special effects for an even bigger thrill. Even the carousel is amped up with a disco ball, and the Serengeti Express is aglow as it chugs around the park.

Jeff Civillico returns to Marrakesh Theater with his amazing blend of comedy, juggling, balancing, athleticism and audience participation. On July 3 and 4, catch an illuminating fireworks display at Busch Gardens.

DJs up the energy each night throughout the park, playing party songs and inviting families to dance and play along. Every Friday and Saturday night, guests can bust their most impressive moves in the Dance Challenge. The best dancers will be selected throughout Friday and Saturday nights to compete in a dance off at 7 p.m. in Desert Grill – three rounds that challenge them to a variety of dance styles. First place winners each night receive 4 tickets to Busch Gardens, Adventure Island or SeaWorld.

Park hours for Summer Nights are extended until 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Summer Nights is included with a day’s paid admission or any annual pass.

While you’re at Busch Gardens, discover all that the park has to offer this summer – day and night. That includes Sesame Street Safari of Fun, a new sunny, funny play land filled with kid-size rides, cool water fun and plenty of memorable adventures. Dip and dive through the desert on Air Grover junior coaster. Climb and play in Elmo’s Treehouse Trek. Splash and refresh in Bert and Ernie’s fun-filled water play area. Watch your Sesame Street friends in African-inspired shows. In Sesame Street Safari of Fun, imaginations run wild, and there’s fun or everyone.

For more information on Summer Nights and Busch Gardens, visit or call 1-888-800-5447.