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Monday, January 31, 2011

Busch Gardens Endangered Species Safari Now Includes Up-Close Cheetah Experience

Agile Cats Are Living Behind the Scenes Until
New Cheetah Run Habitat Opens Next Spring

Friday, Jan. 27, 2001 (Tampa, FL) – Guests who experience Busch Gardens’ popular Endangered Species Safari this spring will have the opportunity to meet some very special members of the adventure park’s animal collection.

Five cheetahs recently arrived at the park in accordance with the international cheetah Species Survival Plan. Next spring, Steelman, a 12-year-old male, Ngoma, a 10-year-old female, and littermates Jagati, Iraja and Juno – all born in October 2009 – will be part of Cheetah Run, the innovative new habitat opening alongside the Cheetah Hunt launch coaster that will bring guests face to face with these agile predators and teach them about cheetahs’ plight in the wild.

During the Endangered Species Safari encounter, guests will learn that while these five cats came from the White Oak Conservation Center in Jacksonville, FL, their wild cousins are highly endangered. There are less than 10,000 cheetahs left in the world, and repopulation is made difficult by low birth rates and many natural and man-made threats to their survival.

Busch Gardens’ zoo educators will also talk about the efforts of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, which has donated almost $100,000 to cheetah efforts in Africa since 2005 and also helps fund conservation programs for white rhinos, marine animals and many other species around the world.

The 45-minute Endangered Species Safari also includes up-close encounters with giraffes, zebra and rhinos on the 65-acre Serengeti Plain. The experience is $39.95 per person, plus tax, and park admission is required, but not included.

To book an Endangered Species Safari, click here or call 1-888-800-5447

Universal Orlando Resort Completes Its Nationally Renowned Mardi Gras Music Line-Up With The Roots

The “Legendary Roots Crew” Joins the Biggest Celebration Outside of New Orleans on March 19

Orlando, Fla. (January 28, 2011) – The Roots – one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s “twenty greatest live acts in the world” – will perform live at Universal Orlando Resort on March 19 as part of Mardi Gras.

The band is famous for its jazzy, eclectic approach to hip hop, and currently performs on national television as the official house band of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” The band is nominated for five Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Album for “Wake Up!,” their latest album done in collaboration with John Legend, and Best Rap Album for “How I Got Over.”

The Roots completes this year’s diverse concert line-up during Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration. Other headliners include Neon Trees, The B-52s and Pitbull. For a complete list of this year’s performers and dates, visit

Universal Orlando will kick off the best party outside of The Big Easy on February 12, running every Saturday and select nights through April 23. In addition to top-name talent, the event features an authentic Mardi Gras parade, dozens of colorfully costumed performers, authentic Cajun cooking, and hand-picked New Orleans bands to capture the look, feel and fun of New Orleans – all inside Universal Studios Florida. Guests can enjoy the Mardi Gras event and great theme park entertainment for the price of regular admission.


Book a SeaWorld Vacation Now and Eat Free All Day Add Aquatica or Busch Gardens Tampa for just $39

At a glance:

·         Staying at one of SeaWorld Orlando’s official hotels now provides unique & exclusive benefits

·         Booking a trip through brings even more value, including free all-day dining deals

· is a one-stop shop for Orlando vacations

ORLANDO, FL (Winter, 2011) – Floridians are looking for a getaway and with spring break just around the corner, SeaWorld rolls out Orlando’s hottest, all-new vacation deals and values.

Staying at one of SeaWorld Orlando’s six official hotels now means more value than ever and the best deals in Orlando, including:

·                Early entry to SeaWorld on select days during peak seasons

·                Complimentary front-of-the-line access to SeaWorld’s thrill rides

·                Discounts on select food and gift purchases at SeaWorld and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark

·                Complimentary transportation to SeaWorld, Aquatica, Discovery Cove and Universal Orlando

·                Exclusive access to the SeaWorld Rescue Tour

No matter how they’ve booked their vacation, all guests staying at an official SeaWorld hotel will receive the exclusive benefits.  Families need only visit the hotel’s guest service desk – staffed by knowledgeable staff from Expedia Local Expert – to receive their privileges.

SeaWorld Orlando’s official hotels represent a broad spectrum of lodging types, from affordable “select service” brands, to full-service resorts and even fully furnished vacation villas.  Each of the six hotels will offer the exclusive benefits and each hotel is within walking distance of SeaWorld.

Looking for more information on the special benefits and SeaWorld’s official hotels or to book now? is the place.

There’s additional good news for families who want to have the most fun but still keep an eye on their expenses.  And Orlando vacation now can include value, convenience and maximum fun. is their one-stop vacation shop to book hotel rooms and purchase theme park tickets.

For a limited time only, each trip booked through includes free all-day dining deals at SeaWorld and the opportunity to include admission to Aquatica and/or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for only $39 each.  Guests buying admission to those parks eat free all-day there, too.

SeaWorld Orlando immerses guests in the mysteries of the sea through up-close animal discoveries, amazing attractions and rides and unforgettable performances. Whether riding a flying manta ray –  on Orlando’s must-see roller coaster, Manta – getting drenched by Shamu, meeting dolphins, braving astounding thrill rides, counting the teeth on a shark or feeding seals and sea lions, vacation adventures become lifelong memories at SeaWorld.

Aquatica is Orlando’s one-of-a-kind waterpark that could only come from SeaWorld. Inspired by a whimsical take on the South Seas, Aquatica immerses guests in the playfulness of the sea, taking them in, over and under the water with the world’s most unique water rides and animal encounters. Aquatica mixes animal experiences, waters from serene to extreme, high speed waterslide thrills and wide, sandy beaches to create a day of non-stop fun.

For more information, go to

SeaWorld Orlando’s official hotels include:

Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld


Doubletree by Hilton


Hilton Grand Vacations at SeaWorld


Hilton Garden Inn at SeaWorld


SpringHill Suites at SeaWorld


Fairfield Inn at SeaWorld



ORLANDO, Fla. (January 27, 2011) – Thierry Coup has been named Senior Vice President of the Creative Studio at Universal Creative, the planning and development division of Universal Parks and Resorts. In his new role, Coup leads the creative development activities for upcoming attractions at all of Universal’s theme parks world-wide.

Coup began his career with Universal Creative more than 10 years ago and has played an integral part in shaping the award-winning rides and attractions at Universal’s theme parks ever since. His work in creative theme park development has taken him around the world to Japan, Shanghai, Hollywood, Paris and to Universal Orlando Resort, where he served as Creative Director for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the most innovative theme park ride ever — Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Additional attractions to his credit include, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Shrek 4D, The Revenge of the Mummy and King Kong 360 3-D. Currently, Coup is leading the creative team developing the new Transformers attraction for Universal’s theme parks in Hollywood, Calif., and Singapore.

“Thierry has a tremendous reputation of delivering unparalleled attractions and experiences for our guests,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “He is an industry leader and continues to bring strength to our team with his creativity and vision.”

Prior to his work in theme park and attraction development, Coup worked in the film and TV commercial industries, creating visual effects and stop-motion animation for movies ranging from the Oscar-winning “Total Recall,” to “Gremlins” and TV commercials for many of the world’s iconic brands.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Tears and cheers erupt among Zoo guests watching as birth happens before their eyes

     A bouncing, baby hippo was born today (Wednesday, January 26, 2011) at the San Diego Zoo in front of about a hundred Zoo guests. Two okapis from the adjacent exhibit also strained to watch the event through a fence. The crowd had gathered during the two-hour labor of mother Funani.  At 11:30 a.m., Funani backed into the pool in her enclosure and soon a baby hippo, known as a calf, popped up in the water beside her.
     The crowd that had been urging her to "Push! Push!" gasped and cheered. Tears poured from the eyes of Karen Grupe, a visitor from Wisconsin. Her husband, Keith Grupe, said the family, which included three children, had waited an hour at the exhibit for this moment.
     "You saw her (Funani) fidgeting and fidgeting and all the sudden there was a baby in the water with her," he said. "It's the coolest thing you could ever see."
     His daughter, 10-year-old Rachel Grupe, gasped: "I cant wait to go home and tell my friends I saw a hippopotamus born!"
     The birth is something San Diego Zoo keepers have been hoping for. Two years ago, male hippo Otis, 36, came from the Los Angeles Zoo to meet Funani, 26, at the San Diego Zoo.  There were fireworks right away as the Hollywood hippo and Funani, who had been in the exhibit for more than a decade, struggled for dominance. But after a cooling-off period and re-introduction, they became an affectionate couple. Otis recently garnered national attention when a photo of him "smiling" went viral.
     Keepers began to see breeding between the two in April 2010. Typically, a hippo's gestation period lasts 8 months. Otis was taken off exhibit a few weeks ago because he has not fathered a calf at the San Diego Zoo and keepers did not know how he would react to a newborn. Funani is an experienced mother who had three babies with Jabba, the previous male hippo in the exhibit. Otis came to the Zoo in hopes of diversifying the hippo population.
     "Since June 2010, Funani has gained about 300 pounds," said Matt Akel, a San Diego Zoo animal care supervisor. At this point, the calf has not been named, keepers do not know its sex, and there are no plans for whether it will stay at the Zoo after it is weaned or be moved to another zoo for breeding purposes.
     The hippopotamus is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, known as the IUCN. The primary threats to hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory (found in the canine teeth) and habitat loss. Hippos can still be found in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
     The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats. The organization focuses on 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 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo Safari Park (historically referred to as the Wild Animal Park), which includes a 900-acre native species reserve, and the San Diego Zoo Institute 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.


Come summer 2011, SeaWorld San Diego is going to the sea turtles!  A new attraction called Turtle Reef will allow guests to get an up-close look at more than 60 threatened or endangered sea turtles here in the marine-life park, as well as learn more about the threats sea turtles face in the wild.  In addition, it will feature thousands of tropical fish, and a new ride that takes passengers on an exciting rescue mission of their own.  SeaWorld broke ground for Turtle Reef in November 2010 and construction is scheduled to be complete in the summer of 2011.

The focal point of Turtle Reef will be a nearly 300,000-gallon aquarium featuring adult Hawksbill and green sea turtles — some more than 50 years old — as well as younger green sea turtles that hatched at SeaWorld in 2009. 

“We are thrilled to feature these amazing creatures, some of which are endangered species,” said Thad Dirksen, the park’s curator of fishes.  “And our hatchlings are a testament to our stellar husbandry practices and ability to design habitats that allow animals to thrive.”

As guests make their way through Turtle Reef, they will take a journey through the life cycle of sea turtles, learning about where they live, how they nest, what they eat and what threats they face.  The total immersive experience also will include a game called Race for the Beach, and a touch screen map, Turtlelink, where guests can learn about sea turtle tracking and SeaWorld’s rescue efforts and conservation.  Riptide Rescue, a new ride just outside the aquarium, will spin passengers in boats on a rescue mission of their own.

The new sea turtle attraction will also illustrate how trash and pollution can affect the species, with two cylindrically-shaped aquariums:  one with jellyfish and one with trash that can be mistaken for food.  This exhibit will help illustrate how sea turtles often confuse trash for food and can die after ingesting these items.

“I think it’s important that our guests can learn that they too can play a role in keeping trash and pollution out of the sea turtles’ ocean environment,” said Dirksen. 

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, a portfolio company of The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX), operates 10 parks across the U.S., including SeaWorld parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando, Fla.; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg. 

The 10 parks play host to 23 million guests each year and employ 20,000 people nationwide.  To learn more, visit or call toll-free (888) 800-5447.  Additionally, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment created the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, a non-profit, private charitable foundation committed to supporting wildlife and habitat conservation, research, education and animal rescue programs worldwide.  Learn more at


SAN DIEGO (Jan. 26, 2011) -- SeaWorld San Diego and Southern California Gray Line have teamed up to make a trip to the marine-life park more convenient and more affordable than ever.  Back by popular demand, this incredible offer allows passengers to take advantage of free round-trip transportation from Anaheim to SeaWorld San Diego.  Once at the park, they’ll experience a whole world of discovery, including the world-famous killer whale Shamu, the park’s newest dolphin show “Blue Horizons,” the hilarious “Sea Lions LIVE” comedy, and dozens of other shows, exhibits, rides and attractions. 

 Free transportation service is provided to guests who purchase a full-priced admission ticket to SeaWorld San Diego directly through Southern California Gray Line or companies who work directly with Southern California Gray Line.  The offer allows guests to board a Gray Line coach, departing from various Anaheim-area hotels daily starting at 9 a.m., and travel to SeaWorld.  The schedule of return trips to the hotels varies according to SeaWorld park hours.  

 “By partnering with Southern California Gray Line, we’re providing our guests with an incredible value and convenience,” says SeaWorld San Diego Vice President of Marketing Marilyn Hannes.  “And with all the exciting attractions we have in store for 2011, we know that families visiting Southern California won’t want to miss a trip to SeaWorld.”

    This year, SeaWorld will unveil an exciting and interactive attraction that will allow guests to get an up-close look at more than 60 threatened or endangered sea turtles in the marine-life park, as well as learn more about the threats turtles face in the wild.  Turtle Reef — also featuring thousands of tropical fish, interactive games and maps and a new ride— is scheduled to open summer 2011.    
The Southern California Gray Line transportation via motor coach bus is included with full-priced single-day admission to SeaWorld ($69.99 for ages 10 and older; $61.99 for ages 3–9).  To make reservations, passengers can contact their travel provider, check with their hotel staff, visit, or call (800) 828-6699 or visit

Southern California Gray Line offers the most complete selection of transportation services available.  With over 20 years of safe, reliable and friendly service, Gray Line offers a variety of unique and affordable sightseeing tours, attraction shuttles and group charter packages.  Tours depart daily from the Gray Line Anaheim Tour Center and are narrated by professional driver guides.  Other services include the Disneyland Resort Express service which offers direct service between Los Angeles International Airport and Orange County’s John Wayne Airport to the Anaheim Resort.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, a portfolio company of The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX), operates 10 parks across the U.S., including SeaWorld parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando, Fla.; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg. 

The 10 parks play host to 23 million guests each year and employ 20,000 people nationwide.  To learn more, visit or call toll-free (888) 800-5447.  Additionally, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment created the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, a non-profit, private charitable foundation committed to supporting wildlife and habitat conservation, research, education and animal rescue programs worldwide.  Learn more at

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

18th Annual Scottish Festival & Games Takes Over The Queen Mary

On Febrary 18–20, the 18th Annual Scottish Festival & Games takes over THE QUEEN MARYSM. This celebration of Scottish music, food, libations and culture features parades, pipe band competitions, traditional Scottish games, sheepdog herding demonstrations, a darts tournament, scotch whisky tastings, Highland and country dancing, concerts and more. To learn more about the festival, CLICK HERE..


A bank chairman and active member of the community will take his seat as a Zoological Society of San Diego Board of Trustee for the first time during the Board's monthly meeting on Tuesday. Robert B. Horsman, named "Nice Guy" of 2002 by Nice Guys of San Diego, is now one of 12 business leaders who set the strategic direction of the nonprofit organization that operates the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.

     "The Zoological Society of San Diego Board of Trustees has a long history of attracting talented business people," said Douglas Myers, Zoological Society of San Diego chief executive officer. "Mr. Horsman is an exemplary addition who brings the expertise of operating a multi-million dollar company as well as an eye for examining a company's financial health."
     Horsman became regional chairman of U.S. Bank in 2009 after the acquisition of San Diego National Bank. He was an instrumental force at San Diego National Bank since its inception in 1981. Horsman was raised in Texas and received a bachelor's degree in finance/banking from Texas Tech University, but he was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He moved to San Diego in 1970 while in the Naval Reserve.  

     In San Diego, Horsman has been a prudent business man and served the community as a board member of many local organizations including chairman of the Kyoto Prize Symposium in 2009-2010, president of the San Diego Opera Board, director and chair of Scripps Mercy Hospital Foundation Board and co-chair of its $50 Million Campaign, chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and trustee of the University of California San Diego Foundation. Horsman served as vice-chair of the Zoological Society of San Diego Foundation Board from 2008-2010, he was co-chair of the San Diego Zoo's Rendezvous In the Zoo black-tie event in 2007 and, along with his wife, has been a member of the Zoological Society since 1981. Horsman also serves as director of the Texas Tech Foundation Board, his alma mater.

     Horsman takes over the board position recently vacated by George L. Gildred, a past president of the Board, who remains as trustee emeritus. The 2011 Zoological Society board officers include Frederick Frye, M.D., president; Richard Gulley, vice president; Sandra Brue, secretary; and William H. May, treasurer. Besides Horsman and the officers, the board of trustees includes Javade Chaudhri, Berit N. Durler, Weldon Donaldson, Nan Katona, Patricia Roscoe, Judith Wheatley and David S. Woodruff, Ph.D, D.Sc.

     The not-for-profit Zoological Society of San Diego, dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats, engages in conservation and research work around the globe.  The Zoological Society manages the 100-acre San Diego Zoo, the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo Safari Park (historically referred to as Wild Animal Park ), the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and receives support from the Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego

Mexican Beaded Lizard Hatched at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

A baby Mexican beaded lizard, one of only two species of venomous lizards in North America, hatched on January 16, 2011 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Beaded lizards have venom glands in their lower jaws that allow them to chew venom directly into their prey. There is no anti-venom to counteract a beaded lizard bite.

Zoo staff named the new beaded lizard "Gaspar" to honor Tampa’s annual pirate festival Gasparilla, during which beads are tossed out from parade floats. The hatchling can be viewed at Jambo Junction until it reaches adult maturity, and then it will join the adventure park’s four other beaded lizards in Curiosity Caverns.

Monday, January 24, 2011


The Park-Specific Portal Will Feature Behind-The-Scenes Info, Photos and Opportunities to Engage with Guests

TAMPA, Fla. (January 24, 2011) – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay announced today the launch of a park-specific blog at

The new blog will feature stories from all areas of the park, including animal training, engineering, entertainment, horticulture, culinary, merchandise and more. It will also focus on providing behind-the-scenes details and other unique content that can’t be found on the park’s .com site.

“This portal is a place for us to regularly share information and create a two-way dialogue with current and future guests,” said Busch Gardens’ Vice President of Marketing, Gerard Hoeppner. “The launch of this blog is a social media milestone for our new Digital Marketing team.”

Busch Gardens’ digital presence also includes a growing fan base on Facebook and Twitter, as well as a YouTube channel and their Busch Gardens .com and .org sites.


TAMPA, Fla. (January 21, 2011) – Tony nominee and American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis, who appears as the ‘do-rocking “Drew” in the hit hair-metal musical Rock of Ages at Ruth Eckerd Hall, meets the most popular – and hairiest – of Busch Gardens’ Animal Ambassadors team, Harry the sloth.

Maroulis and members of the cast spent the day relaxing at the adventure park, enjoying up-close animal experiences and riding roller coasters.

Thanks to its thick, shaggy hair, the sloth has an unusual, symbiotic relationship with algae, which grows on its coat and aids in camouflaging the sloth as it hangs from tree branches.

Rock of Ages is the story of a small town girl and a big city rocker falling in love to the greatest songs of the '80s. This five-time 2009 Tony Award nominee is an arena-rock love story told through the hits of Poison, Journey, Night Ranger, STYX, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar and many more.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay combines world-class thrill rides, live entertainment and one of North America’s largest zoos in an unforgettable adventure for the whole family.

This spring, experience a new breed of speed at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. This new mega-attraction brings guests face-to-face with the world’s fastest land animals in Cheetah Run, then invites them to join nature's most agile predator as it races across the Serengeti on Cheetah Hunt – a one-of-a-kind launch coaster.

Knott’s Brings History to Life

President’s Day Weekend, February 19-20

Civil War Soldiers Set up Camp at Knott’s Berry Farm

Buena Park, CA – Over two hundred Civil War reenactors will fill Knott’s Park Pavilion area on President’s Day weekend with the sights and sounds of an authentic Civil War training camp.  Blue and Gray will come together to bring history to life with displays of authentic artillery pieces and cavalry equipment as well as demonstrations of period cooking and infantry drills.  The event will also incorporate special Living History presentations throughout the day including a reading of the Gettysburg Address by “President Abraham Lincoln.”

Visitors will be able to tour the camp, participate in period dances provided by authentic Victorian era bands, talk one-on-one with re-enactors and experience first hand what it was like to be a part of this critical event in our country’s history.  This event is FREE to the public and a great educational experience for young and old alike.

Guests can then continue their educational experience with a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm’s exact replica of Independence Hall.  Originally dedicated by Walter Knott on July 4, 1966, the Independence Hall replica was built as a permanent, free-admission reminder of two famous events: the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the signing of the U.S. Constitution.  Walter Knott constructed the building for the millions of West Coast families unable to travel to Philadelphia to tour the original.  The likeness is so exact that you can see fingerprints in the brick, just as in the original.

After visiting the Civil War Encampment and Independence Hall, guests can take advantage of Knott’s Berry Farm’s “Two-gether is Better” promotion running January 31 through February 28.  This special two-for-one offer allows two guests to gain admission to Knott’s Berry Farm for only $28.50 each!

The Civil War Encampment will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, February 19 and 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sunday, February 20 and is located at Knott’s Park Pavilion adjacent to Knott’s Independence Hall.  Breakfast and lunch items will be available to purchase both days at Park Pavilion Picnic Center as well as unique merchandise available at Independence Hall.

Knott’s Independence Hall is open daily year-round from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Admission to the Civil War Encampment and Knott’s Independence Hall is free.  For more information, call (714) 220-5244.  For more information on Knott’s Theme Park, and theme park specials visit

Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Models Arrive for STAR WARS™ Miniland at LEGOLAND® California!

The Millennium Falcon was spotted flying over Washington D.C. today at LEGOLAND® California as the first wave of LEGO® models for the new STAR WARS™ Miniland area arrived. Master Model Builders unloaded crates containing several models including the Millennium Falcon, an Imperial AT-AT, an AT-ST and an X-wing fighter. The models are the first of 2,000 arriving to be installed in the new STAR WARS Miniland area opening in March at the family theme park in Carlsbad.

LEGOLAND California will be the first of three LEGOLAND Parks to launch a new STAR WARS Miniland area. The area includes seven scenes – six of the most famous scenes from the six live-action STAR WARS movies, as well as one from the animated series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS™ all made out of 1.5 million LEGO bricks and built in 1:20 scale.

SeaWorld’s Rescue Team Returns 14 Sea Turtles to the Wild Today

(January 19, 2011) -- After recuperating at SeaWorld Orlando from injuries brought on by December’s cold weather, 14 sea turtles were returned to the wild today by SeaWorld’s animal team.

Two green sea turtles – including “Big Mama,” a 250lb female – were released to the waters of the Banana River near Kelly Park,  and the remaining 12 were released further south, into the lagoon at Sebastian Inlet State Park.

All of the turtles had been resting and getting healthy since the December cold spells, when they were either rescued by SeaWorld staff or brought to the park by local wildlife experts.

Interesting fact:  Green sea turtles are the 2nd most-common nesting turtle.  Each May-June, they lay their eggs on Florida’s east coast. A “PIT” tag microchip (similar to ones used on our own pets) was placed under Big Mama’s skin and if she is rescued again -- or if she’s seen nesting – the chip will allow wildlife experts to quickly scan her flipper and get important background information.

The animals released today were the first sea turtles to be returned by SeaWorld’s team this year.

SeaWorld’s rescue team is on call 24/7 to care for injured, orphaned or ill animals including turtles, manatees, dolphins and birds. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

SHAKESPERIMENT 2011 "A Midsummer Night's Dream: Fairies & Fools!"

Saturday & Sunday Matinees
Two Weekends Only
February 19 to 27, 2011

Fairytale Town  is proud to present SHAKESPERIMENT 2011, a new extension of their popular and successful Fairytale Town Troupers program. The first production will be a brand new One-Act adaptation of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream: Fairies & Fools!",  featuring young actors ages 12 to 21. This innovative and original production focuses on the disharmony between the King and Queen of Fairyland and a group of bumbling actors who unwittingly cross their paths. It's a fun and family-friendly romp filled with music, magic, mirth and mayhem.

Public performances of  "A Midsummer Night's Dream: Fairies & Fools!" will be held in the Children's Theater at Fairytale Town on February 19, 20, 26 and 27, 2011 (Saturday & Sunday Matinee Performances only). Showtimes are noon and 3pm.
Tickets are only $1.00 per person (in addition to paid park admission).
Fairytale Town Members and children 1 and under are admitted free.

Please Note: Due to a City Ordinance, adults cannot be admitted to Fairytale Town unless accompanied by a child.

Event Details
What: SHAKESPERIMENT 2011 "A Midsummer Night's Dream: Fairies & Fools!""
When: Saturdays & Sundays, February 19, 20, 26, 27, 2011

Time: 12:00 PM & 3:00PM
Cost: Tickets are $1.00 per person (in addition to paid park admission).
Weekend General Admission to Fairytale Town is $4.50 / Fairytale Town Members and Children 1 and under are admitted free.
Where: Fairytale Town Children's Theater, 3901 Land Park Drive, Sacramento CA 95822

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

Construction Starts for Knott’s New Attraction

BUENA PARK, Calif. – Construction has begun for Knott’s Berry Farm’s next new attraction, WindSeeker.  The location will be in the Knott’s Fiesta Village area  situated between Knott’s Carousel and the Jaguar! roller coaster. 

 “This addition will add another exciting attraction to one of the Park’s most historic areas, Fiesta Village, which first opened to the public in 1969,” said Marty Keithley, Knott’s General Manager. The attraction is scheduled to open sometime between Memorial Day and the 4th of July 2011.  
Rising over 300 feet in the air, WindSeeker will take 64 passengers to new heights as it ascends above the theme park and then swings passengers for a ride like no other. 

    WindSeeker will be designed and manufactured by Mondial, a company based in the Netherlands that has been creating thrill rides for the amusement park industry since 1987.  Mondial is known for their innovative and unique rides and maintains the highest standards in regards to quality and safety.
WindSeeker will feature 32, 2-person gondolas that will ascend to a height of 300 feet.  Once it has reached the top of the tower, WindSeeker will spread it’s metal arms swinging  riders for a 60 second flight at a 45 degree angle at a speed of 8 rotations per minute. 

“Due to the long airtime, riders will experience a spectacular sense of weightlessness.  This, combined with the fact that riders legs will be unrestrained, will create a sense of exhilaration which will enhance the feeling of free flight,” said Keithley.

LEGOLAND® California Resort Announces Successful 2010 Plus Four New Guest Experiences

STAR WARS™ Miniland Area Planned for
March Opening!

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2011) – The Force was strong at LEGOLAND® California Resort today when General Manager Peter Ronchetti announced that a new STAR WARS™ Miniland area will be opening at the family theme park on March 31, 2011. The announcement came when a Jedi Knight – flanked by stormtroopers from the 501st Legion – interrupted the Resort’s annual press conference in a maelstrom of darkness and lasers. Before the interruption, Ronchetti reviewed LEGOLAND California’s 2010 business results and announced the addition of Octopus Garden at SEA LIFE™ Aquarium; Splash Zoo at LEGOLAND Water Park; a LEGO® Hero Factory Experience inside LEGOLAND California and the re-launch of Park favorite Fun Town Fire Academy as Fun Town Police and Fire Academy.

“I am thrilled to be able to report that LEGOLAND California’s stellar growth streak has continued,” said Ronchetti.

“2010 was the most successful year in the history of LEGOLAND California Resort!” 2010 marked the seventh year of continuous growth for LEGOLAND California with double digit percentage growth in attendance over 2009. “Many theme parks across the country have reported difficult trading as a result of the challenging economic climate in recent years. So we feel very fortunate to be able to report that our attendance continues to grow,” Ronchetti continued.

Ronchetti attributed the Park’s success to continued expansion of Resort properties, specifically the addition of LEGOLAND Water Park, which opened in May 2010 and has already received many accolades including the World Waterpark Association’s prestigious Industry Innovation Award. The Industry Innovation Award is judged based on how the organization has set itself apart from others in terms of moving the industry to a new or higher plane

“More than just a year of exciting growth for LEGOLAND California, 2010 marked an exciting year for Merlin Entertainments Group here in the states,” Ronchetti continued. The second SEA LIFE Aquarium in the U.S. opened in Tempe, Arizona in May and it was announced that the second U.S. LEGOLAND Park, LEGOLAND Florida will open in Winterhaven, Florida in October of this year. Additional LEGOLAND Discovery Centers and SEA LIFE Aquariums are also cropping up across the U.S. with openings already planned in Texas and New Jersey.

“We expect continued success in 2011 with a multi-million dollar investment into expansions planned for all three Resort properties,” Ronchetti said as he went on to describe each of the new additions.

On March 31 LEGOLAND California becomes the first of three LEGOLAND Parks to launch a new STAR WARS Miniland area. Guests can enjoy seven of the most famous scenes from the six live-action STAR WARS movies, as well as a scene from the animated series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS™  all made out of 1.5 million LEGO bricks and built in 1:20 scale. Guests will be further immersed into the STAR WARS experience as they pose with life-size LEGO models of Chewbacca, R2D2 and Darth Vader. LEGOLAND Billund and LEGOLAND Deutschland will launch the STAR WARS Miniland area later this year.

Following a chronological path through the STAR WARS timeline, LEGOLAND guests retrace the major events of the beloved Saga. Some of the 2,000 LEGO models will be more than 6-feet-tall. Interactive buttons will allow children to activate animations throughout the scenes.

The models for the new STAR WARS area are being developed and built by eight model designers and two animation electricians at our sister park, LEGOLAND Deutschland. It will be up to Master Model Builders at LEGOLAND California to bring the scenes to life with the help of animation electricians, technicians and landscapers all working to ensure the LEGO models appear as realistic as possible with special effects and landscaping.

On February 17, a new LEGO Hero Factory attraction opens in the Imagination Zone. Here, young guests will be able to build and create their own heroes (or villains) and meet and greet their favorite Hero Factory characters. And from Feb. 17 through 27, guests will have the opportunity to build the largest LEGO mosaic to ever be built at LEGOLAND California. The 6-foot-tall, 26-foot-wide mosaic made of 298,368 LEGO bricks will depict an iconic scene from the Hero Factory saga and will be a permanent part of the new Hero Factory experience.

On April 12, one of the most popular rides in the Park – Fun Town Fire Academy – is being re-launched as the Police and Fire Academy. On this classic LEGOLAND ride, families pile into a fire truck and power it by pumping levers up and down as they race other families to put out the “fire”. The first family to make it back wins. Now the fire trucks are being joined by police vehicles and families race to put out fires and stop robbers.

On May 6, SEA LIFE Aquarium Carlsbad launches Octopus Garden, an interactive exhibit introducing families to the amazing world of cephalopods. From octopus and cuttlefish to nautilus, these distinctive creatures have almost supernatural abilities including camouflage, ink clouds and jet propulsion, that will surprise and delight adults and children alike. Octopus Garden replaces the Sharks Revealed exhibit that opened in 2008.

On May 26, Splash Zoo, a brand new area for toddlers, opens inside LEGOLAND Water Park. The DUPLO® Zoo themed area, located next to DUPLO Splash Safari and Kid Creek, features giant DUPLO Zoo animals – including a lion, a giraffe and a zebra – plus interactive spray pads, fountains and a teeter totter, all geared specifically for guests ages 1 to 3.

All of the new guest experiences are included in the cost of admission to LEGOLAND California Resort properties. For ticket prices, operating schedule and additional information, visit or or call 760-918-LEGO.


Popular Beverage Hits Major Milestone:
Universal Orlando Marks Moment with 1,000 Complimentary Butterbeers

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 6, 2011) – In celebration of selling its millionth Butterbeer inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort shared 1,000 complimentary Butterbeers with guests on the streets of  Hogsmeade.

Butterbeer appears as a favorite drink inside the Harry Potter books and films and is only available inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  It is a nonalcoholic, frothy drink reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch and is served cold or frozen.

Much has been written about Butterbeer since it made its debut on June 18, 2010, making it one of the most talked about beverages of 2010.  There has been much speculation about its secret ingredients – but Universal Orlando will not share the closely guarded recipe. Universal has implemented special security procedures to protect the details.

Butterbeer quickly became a guest favorite.   To help meet the strong demand, Universal Orlando added a fourth Butterbeer location within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

“You can see the excitement on our guests’ faces as they wait in line – and then the smile that comes with their first sip,” said Ric Florell, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Resort Revenue Operations for Universal Orlando.  “Butterbeer is not just a beverage. It’s an experience.”

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the most spectacularly themed environment ever created. It is the only place in the world where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter books and films come to life.


Discounts on General Admission and Blackout-free Annual Passes Extended Through April

Polk County, FL (January 5, 2011) -- Due to popular demand, LEGOLAND® Florida has extended its discount on general admission tickets and Standard Annual Passes through April 2011.  Central Florida’s newest full-day, family theme park, scheduled to open in October 2011, announced the extension after a hugely successful December sales period.  Formerly expected to end on December 31, 2010 – guests will now be able to get the special rate through April 30, 2011.

“Our strong sales numbers have proved to us that people are excited about the opening of LEGOLAND Florida,” Director of Sales and Marketing, Kim Isemann stated.  “By extending these special rates through the early spring, we want to allow our future guests the opportunity to lock in their tickets and annual passes before the Park opens.”

Available only at, general admission tickets are $65 for adults and $55 for children and seniors.  Standard Annual Passes are offered at the children’s prices of $99 with no Blackout Dates!  Plus Annual Passes and Ambassador lifetime passes are also available at the non-discounted rates of $159/$129 and $2,500 respectively.  These passes includes unlimited admission, discounts on preferred parking, special events, plus discounts on food and merchandise. (Prices do not include sales tax.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Earlier today, we visited Universal Studios Hollywood for a trip with some friends. As we entered the park, we noticed the shooting schedule read "JURASSIC PARK 4" for several sound stage locations around the studio.

We tweeted the image and hours later, the Internet is buzzing with speculation. Is this the real deal, or an attempt at theme park humor from Universal? No one knows for sure at this point, but everyone is talking about it.

Our images and own thoughts on the Jurassic Park 4 news are posted on the main page of Theme Park Adventure. Check it out!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Universal City, California - Infusion Lounge, the world-class dance club and “ultra lounge” that has been entertaining sell-out crowds since first opening in San Francisco just two years ago, will open its second location at Universal CityWalk  in Spring 2011.

            Announcement of the major new addition to CityWalk's entertainment mix was made by Chris Rosas, CEO and President of C-Two Group, the parent company of Infusion Lounge, and Larry Kurzweil, President of Universal Studios Hollywood.

            The new Infusion Lounge on CityWalk will feature opulent decor, expansive dance floors, top DJs, and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems within nearly 9,000 feet of entertainment space. In addition, this new Infusion Lounge location will offer the signature VIP memberships and premier bottle service that have made San Francisco’s Infusion Lounge one of the West Coast’s most popular and successful clubs, prompting Conde Nast Traveler Magazine to name it one of the "World's Hottest New Nightclubs."

            Larry Kurzweil said: “The addition of the Infusion Lounge, with its powerful appeal to cutting-edge club-goers, is a perfect fit for CityWalk and is a great addition to the mix of world-class attractions here in the Entertainment Capital of L.A.”

            "Infusion Lounge will set a new standard for upscale nightlife in Los Angeles," said Chris Rosas. "With its luxurious ambiance, dramatic design and 5-star service, we intend to create an unparalleled experience for our guests, making Infusion Lounge at Universal CityWalk a must-see entertainment destination for hip local dancers, urbane young professionals and Universal’s international visitors. We are very proud and excited to bring Infusion Lounge to Los Angeles and partner with Universal, one of the world’s most innovative and respected entertainment brands,” said Rosas.

            VIP memberships at Infusion Lounge will include a dedicated VIP host, preferred parking, special escorted priority admission, choice of VIP seating, access to the private VIP room, deluxe bottle storage, invitations to exclusive member events and parties, and other deluxe amenities. 

            Born and raised in Southern California, Chris Rosas began his career in television entertainment in Hollywood and has built his company around his closely-knit Latino family’s values, naming the firm, the C-Two Group, for his late mother, Catherine Cecilia Rosas. The company operates a hotel division under the C-Two Hotels banner with boutique hotels in the San Francisco area and an entertainment division, C-Two Entertainment, which operates the original Infusion Lounge in San Francisco as well as the new club on CityWalk.

About C-Two Group

C-Two Group ( is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco that includes C-Two Entertainment and C-Two Hotels, and is the Managing Partner of Infusion Lounge.