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Saturday, November 12, 2011

SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium Invaded by Clawed Creatures

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Nov. 11, 2011) – Coming this spring, crustaceans will scuttle to SEA LIFE™ Carlsbad Aquarium at the LEGOLAND® California Resort with the opening of its newest interactive exhibit, “Claws”. The five new displays include Japanese spider crabs, which can grow to 13-feet across, and coconut crabs, named for their ability to crack open coconuts with the power of their claws.

For the first time, SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium allows guests to see the extraordinary weapons and defenses of these fascinating clawed creatures. Along with the gigantic Japanese spider crabs and coconut crabs, the exhibit features land crabs, lobsters and nephrops, commonly referred to as “prawns”. Claws also includes an interactive floor projection that reacts when kids move over it; a touch display allowing guests to feel the shell textures of different crabs; plus a new daily educational presentation and feed.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to showcase these mysterious animals to our guests,” said Bob Burhans, Curator of SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium. “Claws will not only amaze visitors with its remarkable creatures and beautifully designed displays, it also will make learning fun.”

More than a standard Aquarium, SEA LIFE provides an educational and interactive dynamic unlike any other. The SEA LIFE experience incorporates LEGO® models into a child’s voyage to the depths of the ocean, presenting the wonders of the underwater world to them in a way specially designed for their understanding. Featuring play zones, fun facts and quiz trails, SEA LIFE is designed to be a child’s guide to the life of the sea.

Baby Boom Continues on Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plain with the Birth of Baby Grevy’s Zebra

TAMPA (Nov. 9, 2011) — A new Grevy’s zebra was born on Busch Gardens’ 65-acre Serengeti Plain on Friday, November 4.  Within an hour after its birth, the female foal was running with the rest of the herd and nursing from its mother.

Just last week, Busch Gardens announced two other additions, a male Cape buffalo, and female Sable antelope.

The buffalo was born to mother Semara on Sept. 21. At the time of his birth, the calf weighed approximately 45 lbs. The playful and explorative youngster now weights 75 lbs. Once full grown, Cape buffalos can weigh up to 2,000 lbs. The Sable Antelope female took her first steps within a few minutes of birth. Though Sable Antelopes are shaky at first, newborns can run fast enough to keep up with the herd within 3-5 days.

Busch Gardens’ guests can view all of the new babies from Rhino Rally, the Skyride or Serengeti Express train ride. For an even closer look, the Serengeti Safari offers guests an open-bed truck tour Serengeti Plain, with opportunities to get up-close to antelope and rhinos and hand-feed giraffes.

For details, visit


Annual Run Supports Families of Fallen and Wounded Special Operations Forces Soldiers

TAMPA, Fla. (November 8, 2011) – For the seventh consecutive year, a team of 25 military personnel, police, firefighters and community leaders will complete a four-day, 550-mile benefit relay run from Duluth, Ga. to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay on Friday, Nov. 11, to raise awareness for and remember the families of fallen and wounded Special Operations Forces soldiers. Runners will cross the finish line around in Cheetah Hunt Plaza around 11 a.m. Friday, and this year’s run will honor Staff Sgt. Robert James Miller and his family.

The Special Operations Forces Run is led by Lieutenant Bill Stevens of the Duluth Police Department and founder of the Georgia-based charity, Operation One Voice. The non-profit organization, managed by public safety professionals and community leaders, supports children and families of fallen and wounded Special Operations Forces soldiers.

Operation One Voice honors the contributions of Special Operations Forces soldiers, which include Army Rangers, Green Berets, Spec Op Aviators, Navy Seals, Air Force Special Operations pilots, para-rescue and Marine Force Recon.

        What:    Special Operations Forces Run

        When:    11:00 a.m. Friday, November 11, 2011

Where:   Cheetah Hunt Plaza, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

For additional media information, contact the Busch Gardens Public Relations department at (813) 987-5090, or visit


Tuesday 8th November 2011


·         TurtleTrek: Nose-to-nose animal encounters and state-of-the-art entertainment opening at SeaWorld Orlando Spring 2012

·         Freshwater Oasis: All new tropical rainforest attraction at Discovery Cove, featuring playful otters and curious marmoset monkeys, opening Spring 2012

·         Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin: The coldest theme park attraction in the world to take to the ice at SeaWorld Orlando 2013

Guests to SeaWorld and Discovery Cove in Orlando will soon be able to embark on a journey of a lifetime through the eyes of some of the world’s most charismatic animals, from the deepest corners of the sea, to the lush tropical rainforests of the Amazon and onto the coldest continent on earth.

TurtleTrek... Hatching at SeaWorld Orlando

Using new technology, TurtleTrek gets guests closer than ever before to the lives of one of the worlds’ best loved and most vulnerable reptiles – the sea turtle.

This visual conservation experience allows guests to learn more about the plight of the sea turtle and the incredible life journey they take from hatching on a beach and making the mad dash to open waters, to the dangers and hazards they face as they mature and return to the very same beach to lay their own eggs, their tales of life underwater have in the past been impossible to show – until now.

Coming to life in front of the guests is a first-of-its-kind 3-D and 360-degree dome theatre that is completely immersive. Guests will experience a 360º view of the film, from above and all around, where they will be given a turtle’s eye view of the ocean’s wonders.

Back in the real world, visitors can get up-close to the sea turtle at two extensive habitats next to the dome, one saltwater area which will also house more than 1,500 fish and over a dozen sea turtles, and the other a freshwater habitat where guests can discover hundreds of freshwater fish and gentle manatees.

Many of the manatees and sea turtles were rescued by the park’s animal team.  Since SeaWorld Orlando’s rescue programs began, the team has cared for and returned to the wild nearly 240 manatees and more than 1,200 sea turtles.

Freshwater Oasis... Otterly Fresh New Area at Discovery Cove, Orlando

Opening at Discovery Cove in spring 2012 is Freshwater Oasis, an all-new attraction featuring swimming and wading adventures and face-to-face encounters with playful otters and curious marmosets.

Designed with a rainforest canopy above and sparkling clear springs below, Freshwater Oasis is a natural fit within Discovery Cove’s tropical vibe.

All of the family can experience this tropical setting, with most of the water at waist height and various levels of exploration where they can wade, swim and float in the water-filled trails and discover marmosets and Asian otters.

For a spot of après-animal exploration guests can soak up the Orlando sunshine in the warm waters in the In-Water Relaxation Station, a secluded pool including comfy in-water chairs.

Freshwater Oasis is included with admission to Discovery Cove, an all-inclusive tropical getaway where guests can swim with dolphins, hand-feed tropical birds in a free-flight aviary, snorkel among thousands of colourful fish and rays and relax on pristine white sandy beaches.

Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin... Subzero at SeaWorld Orlando for 2013

Never has there been a theme park so cold – until now. Spring 2013 sees the launch of SeaWorld Orlando’s most incredible attraction, Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin.

Explore the frozen wildernesses of the Antarctica through the eyes of the world’s most loved bird - the penguin.

Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin will take guests on a journey like no other to the coldest and most barren place on earth with a state-of-the-art interactive ride combined with an animal attraction.

More details to follow.... for now it’s on ice.

Tickets for 2012

The Discovery Cove Ultimate Package includes one day reservation at Discovery Cove (with 30 minute dolphin swim experience, all meals, snacks and beverages) plus 14 day unlimited entry to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens AND Aquatica – offering customers more savings and flexibility for their Florida holiday. Prices start from just £164 per person, for more information and bookings go to

Holiday package

7 nights in Orlando from £869 per person

Travel City Direct is offering seven night holidays Orlando from just £869 per person.  Price is based on two adults and two children sharing at the Hard Rock Hotel on a room only basis for seven nights for departures June 2012 and includes transfers, and scheduled flights on Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick or Manchester to Orlando.

For more information please call 0844 557 6965 or book online at

Busch Gardens’ Welcomes Two New Babies On the Serengeti Plain

TAMPA (Nov. 2, 2011) — Busch Gardens’ newest addition, a female Cape buffalo, was born to mother Semara on Sept. 21. Cape buffalos are extremely social; members of the same group will stay in direct contact with each other and will often sleep with their heads resting on one another.

At the time of his birth, the calf weighed approximately 45 lbs. The playful and explorative youngster now weights 75 lbs. Once full grown, Cape buffalos can weigh up to 2,000 lbs.

Two days earlier, the park’s Sable Antelope herd welcomed the third new baby of the month, a female who took her first steps within a few minutes of birth. Though Sable Antelopes are shaky at first, newborns can run fast enough to keep up with the herd within 3-5 days.

Busch Gardens’ guests can view all of the new babies from Rhino Rally, the Skyride or Serengeti Express train ride. For an even closer look, the Serengeti Safari offers guests and open-bed truck tour of the 65-acre Serengeti Plain, with opportunities to get up-close to antelope and rhinos and hand-feed giraffes.

For details, visit


Give the gift of SeaWorld this holiday season – pay for a day, come back and enjoy the park’s events all year

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 2, 2011) – The perfect gift for friends and family this holiday season is the gift that keeps on giving all year long -– a SeaWorld Fun Card!

It’s SeaWorld’s best value, just for Florida residents: Pay for a day’s admission and come back again and again – with no blackout dates -- to experience all of SeaWorld’s remarkable 2012 events, plus this year’s Christmas Celebration.

SeaWorld’s 2012 event line-up includes:

    * NEW!  Just for Kids!

Spend super-fun Saturdays at this all-new kid festival for ages 2-9. Performances by kid-favorite entertainers, such as Choo Choo Soul and Max and Ruby, as well as fun, family activities will take place Saturdays, Jan. 14 – Feb. 4.

    * Bands, Brew & BBQ
      2012’s Bands, Brew & BBQ will be twice as fun when the park hosts rockin’ concerts Saturdays AND Sundays this year, on Feb. 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, and March 3-4. That’s four weekends of smokin’ hot concerts, sizzling BBQ and a thirst-quenching beer garden to wash it all down.

    * Jack Hanna Weekend
      Join celebrity animal expert Jungle Jack Hanna for a fantastic weekend on the wild side, March 24-25, featuring amazing animals from all over the world.

    * Viva La Música
      This Hispanic festival spices up SeaWorld Saturdays in April and early May while showcasing traditional Latin food, specialty drinks, and Grammy and Latin-Grammy-award winning performances. Join the fiery fiesta on April 14, 21, 28, and May 5.

     * Summer Nights
      The after-dark excitement at SeaWorld continues all summer, June through August. When the sun sets, waves of fun wash over the park with fantastic nighttime shows, thrilling coasters under the stars, and a nightly fireworks and fountain finale.

    * Halloween Spooktacular
      Orlando’s favorite family-friendly Halloween event is back and better than ever, as an underwater “fantasea” takes over SeaWorld weekends in October.  Children (and adults, too) can trick-or-treat, encounter whimsical sea creatures, and catch silly and spooky shows on Oct. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, and 27-28.

    * SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
      From elves to Elmo, and Santa to Shamu, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration inspires lifelong family memories as waves of holiday spirit splash over the park in a watery, wintery wonderland. This heart-warming holiday event takes place select nights from Nov. 23 – Dec. 31.

    * New Year’s Eve at SeaWorld
      Celebrate our connection to the sea, sea life and the world we share as we ring in the New Year, SeaWorld style. Kick off the New Year on Dec. 31, with a spectacular musical celebration and bold fireworks that create an unforgettable evening.

Regular, single-day SeaWorld admission is $81.99 for adults/$73.99 for children ages 3-9.  The Fun Card is valid from the date of purchase and good throughout all of 2012 with no blackout dates.

Fun Cards are available at the park’s front gate, at or by calling (888) 800-5447.

Visit for more information.

Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town

December 10, 2011 - 11AM to 3PM 

Father Christmas will be making a special holiday stop this season at Fairytale Town  for its Winter Wonderland event on Saturday, December 10.

Father Christmas will take the center stage, listening to holiday wish lists, and welcoming families to take holiday pictures for $5 each. The Children's Theater will become Santa's Workshop filled with holiday decorations and cheer.  Also happening throughout the park will be free arts and crafts celebrating the seasonal holidays from around the world.  

To enjoy this Winter Wonderland affair regular  weekend park admission is only $4.50 (Children 1 years of age and under will be admitted free). For more information please call 916-808-7462 or visit our website at

What: Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town
When: Saturday, December 10
Time:  11AM to 3PM
Where: Fairytale Town, 3901 Land Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95822
Cost:  $4.50  Weekend General Admission (Children 1 and under are free) 
Contact Phone: 916-808-7462
Contact e-mail:


Start a New Family Tradition This Season at Universal Orlando with Grinchmas, Macy’s Holiday Parade, The Holiday Village and Nightly Holiday Music

Enjoy the Timeless Classics by Holiday Music Masters Mannheim Steamroller as they Return for

Six Concerts on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 1, 2011) – There’s no better place to enjoy the Holidays with your family this year than at Universal Orlando Resort. It’s the only place you can come face-to-face with The Grinch and the Whos from Whoville, watch a cheerful holiday parade filled with big, colorful Macy’s balloons and sing along to the classic sounds of the season as you stroll through a holiday-trimmed theme park with your loved ones.

The Holidays fanfare runs from December 3, 2011 through January 1, 2012, offering guests incredible entertainment themed for the season at both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

At Islands of Adventure, adults and children alike will be entertained when the popular Dr. Seuss book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is brought to life in Grinchmas. Guests can see the heartwarming live stage show, “Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular,” starring The Grinch and the Whos from Whoville with an original recorded musical score by Mannheim Steamroller. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet The Grinch and the Whos, and on select dates, purchase a spot at a special character breakfast with the mean, green one himself.

At Universal Studios, the Macy’s Holiday Parade will celebrate its 10th Anniversary of partnership with Universal Orlando by filling the streets every evening with some of the same iconic elements seen winding through New York City each year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The beloved event features colorful holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats – including one specially-designed to commemorate the 10-year milestone – a tree-lighting ceremony by Santa Claus and dozens of larger-than-life balloons.  The Macy’s Holiday Parade also welcomes select park guests to participate in the procession as real balloon-handlers guiding the helium giants, a truly unique and exclusive experience to Universal Orlando.

Returning this year with more concerts than ever before is Mannheim Steamroller – the masters of Christmas music with more than 40 million albums sold worldwide. The acclaimed musical group will take to the Music Plaza stage in Universal Studios six times this year to play their memorable holiday hits for guests, performing on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18.

Also at Universal Studios, guests can enjoy special holiday-themed versions of their favorite shows, and nightly a capella holiday music in the nearby Holiday Village , which is filled with hand-blown glass ornaments, caramel apples, hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts and a cupcake decorating location.

The celebration continues at Universal Orlando’s three on-site hotels – Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort – all of which will glisten with holiday decorations. Hotel guests will be immersed in the spirit of the season with tree-lighting ceremonies, special musical performances, holiday pool-side "dive-in" movie presentations and holiday buffets and dining events. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel kicks off the season on Friday, November 25 with 'Holiday Harbor Nights', a wine tasting, food and jazz celebration on the piazza, along with a tree lighting ceremony. Hard Rock Hotel welcomes Santa to The Kitchen restaurant on Fridays in December and Loews Royal Pacific Resort rings in the new year with a family-friendly dinner and celebration.

All holiday entertainment – including the Mannheim Steamroller concerts – is included as part of any annual pass, two-park or multi-day admission to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. There’s never been a better time to start a new family tradition at Universal Orlando’s Holidays event, as guests can take advantage of these special Florida resident offers:

‘Tis the Season for Florida Resident Holiday Offers

Florida Resident 2-Park Annual Pass Offer

• Purchase a 2-park annual pass and get 2 months FREE with a UPC code from any Coca-Cola, Diet Coke or Sprite can or specially-marked cups from Firehouse Subs

Starting at $164.99 plus tax per person

*Must be purchased by January 1, 2012

Also available on Flexible Payment option

Florida Resident On-site Holiday Getaway Offer
• 2 night stay at a Universal Orlando on-site hotel

• Florida Resident 2 day park-to-park ticket to both theme parks

• Complimentary Universal Express access to skip most regular attraction lines – a FREE benefit worth up to $87 per person, per day

• PLUS early park admission to Islands of Adventure and MORE

Starting at $139 per adult, per night, tax inclusive

For more information on Universal Orlando’s holiday celebration and Florida resident offers, guests can visit


Guests Can Pay For a Day, Come Back All Year For Exciting Acts and Non-Stop Excitement with a 2012 Fun Card

TAMPA, Fla. (November 1, 2011) – Some of the biggest names in country, Latin and classic rock are coming to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in 2012. It’s our biggest lineup yet, including music’s most memorable acts at Real Music, rock legends at Bands, Brew & BBQ, and Viva La Música’s award-winning salsa and meringue. PLUS you won’t want to miss the debut of Busch Gardens’ all-new ice show and your chance to go behind-the-scenes with our animal care experts.

Can’t decide which event to attend? With a 2012 Fun Card, you can “pay for a day, play all year” and never miss a thing! It’s the best value for again-and-again access to all of the amazing animal encounters, world-class thrill rides, exciting entertainment and family adventure Busch Gardens has to offer. AND, if you buy your 2012 Fun Card now, you can celebrate the holidays at Busch Gardens, New Year’s Eve and the remainder of 2011 for no additional cost.

NEW THIS WINTER: In February, Busch Gardens will debut its biggest ice show ever. Iceploration combines world-class skaters, larger-than-life puppets, amazing costumes, original music and even animal stars to tell the story of tech-savvy pre-teen Austin and his grandfather – and old-world adventurer – who encourages him to put down the smartphone and “explore the world.”

ALSO NEW IN 2012: Busch Gardens will welcome guests to observe and even take part in the animal care experience when the Animal Care Center opens this winter. From nutrition to treatments and check-ups to surgeries, much of Busch Gardens’ veterinary care will be conducted in guest view in this new state-of-the-art facility.


Jack Hanna:  January 13
Join “Jungle Jack” Hanna for a day of wild animal shows, autograph signings and special meet and greets when he visits Busch Gardens on Jan. 13. The internationally-known animal expert will share animal facts and his travel tales during animal shows in the Stanleyville Theater. He will also join families for a memorable Serengeti Night Safari and make special appearances at a family sleepover that evening.

Real Music Concert Series:  January 18 – March 24

        The Real Music Concert Series presents notable names from music’s most memorable eras every Wednesday through Saturday at the Stanleyville Theater. From swingin’ big bands to sock-hop era idols, the lineup features something for everyone:

January 18-21                   The Terry Myers Orchestra with The Swing Sisters
January 25-28                   The Glenn Miller Orchestra with The Diamonds 
February 1-4                     Tony Orlando
February 8-11                   Frankie Avalon
February 15-18                  The Osmond Brothers
February 22-25                  Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
February 29 – March 3           The Ventures  
March 7-10                       Rita Coolidge      
March 14-17                     The Grass Roots 
March 21-24                     Marylin McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. 

Bands, Brew & BBQ: Saturdays and Sundays, February 11 – March 4

Bands, Brew & BBQ offers four weekends of smokin’ hot fun – now on Saturdays AND Sundays! New this year, you have two days to sample dozens of craft and international beers and fire up your taste buds with food from your favorite local restaurants as well our own famous, blazing barbecue. And every Sunday, enjoy sizzling live performances from award-winning country and classic rock artists.

February 12                      Lynyrd Skynyrd
February 19                      Brett Michaels
February 26                     38 Special
March 4                         REO Speedwagon

Viva La Música:  Sundays, April 15 – May 6

Join the fiesta every weekend as award-winning acts from perform salsa, meringue and more on the Gwazi Park stage. And don’t forget the popular, regional Latin cuisine and authentic arts and crafts throughout the festival area. Stay tuned as Busch Gardens reveals the artist and more details this spring!

Summer Nights:  June 9 – August 12

The award-winning Kinetix will return to Summer Nights with energizing shows full of live musicians, singers, dancers and artists from around the world. Their thrilling performance – along with modern music and fire effects – will pump up the crowd every night in Gwazi Park. Adding to the amazing coasters-after-dark lineup, guests will launch into the night on Busch Gardens’ newest roller coaster, Cheetah Hunt, and enjoy more fireworks than ever before, including a special July 4th celebration in Gwazi Park!

The 2012 Busch Gardens Fun Card is valid from the date of purchase through Dec. 31, 2012 and is available at the Busch Gardens’ front gate, online at or by calling (888) 800-5447. Prices are $79.99 for adults and $71.99 for children ages 3 to 9. Event dates, times and artists are subject to change. Performances are included with any daily admission or annual pass. Visit for more information.

Tony Hawk Puts Down His Board to Flip a Switch Lighting the World's Largest LEGO® Christmas Tree at LEGOLAND® California!

WHAT: LEGOLAND® California is proud to announce local skateboarding legend Tony Hawk as this year’s special guest to light the world’s largest LEGO® Christmas tree at the family theme park’s ninth annual Tree Lighting Ceremony honoring the Tony Hawk Foundation.

Hawk, father of four and life-long Ambassador Pass Member to LEGOLAND, launched the Tony Hawk Foundation in 2002 with the goal to increase the number of safe, legal skate parks for youth in low-income communities across the U.S. To date, the Tony Hawk Foundation has helped fund 493 public skateboard parks in these communities, which now service 3.5-million youth annually.

In honor of Hawk’s efforts to help youth nationwide, Master Model Builders at LEGOLAND California are adding new ornaments to the LEGO tree this year: 50 blue, red and yellow skateboards, each made of more than 250 LEGO bricks, will hang from the LEGOLAND California tree.

After the 30-foot-tall LEGO tree is lit, fireworks light up the sky and snow showers Park guests from above kicking off LEGOLAND California’s month-long Holiday Snow Days presented by Western Dental. During Holiday Snow Days, Fun Town will be transformed into a magical, winter wonderland where the weather forecast calls for real snow every day and guests can build snowmen using LEGO carrots and other fun LEGO elements, throw snowballs at LEGO themed targets and play with large, soft LEGO bricks in the snow. Holiday Snow Days runs Nov. 19 – Jan. 2.

More than 245,000 forest green DUPLO® bricks click together to create this one-of-a-kind holiday tree at LEGOLAND California. Adorned with nearly 400 LEGO ornaments including colorful bulbs and 1,000 lights, this LEGO brick tree towers over Fun Town in the 128-acre family theme park in Carlsbad.

The Tony Hawk Foundation seeks to foster lasting improvements in society, with an emphasis on supporting and empowering youth. Through special events, grants, and technical assistance, the Foundation supports recreational programs with a focus on the creation of public skateboard parks in low-income communities. The Foundation favors programs that clearly demonstrate that funds received will produce tangible, ongoing, positive results.

SeaWorld Sets First Section of Manta Track!

WHAT:      Today marks a major milestone in the construction of Manta: the first section of track was set into place! A total of 98 sections will be placed in the coming months, with most of the sections installed by the end of the year.  Manta, SeaWorld’s new double launch coaster shaped like a giant manta ray, will open to guests in spring 2012.

WHEN:    Monday, Oct. 31, 2011

WHERE:    SeaWorld San Diego

DETAILS:     The 98 Manta track sections will be set upon 100 columns, the tallest being more than 26 feet.  The longest section of track is 36 feet and the heaviest weighs 7,700 pounds. The ride, which will last about two minutes, will include more than a half of a mile of track.

Swooping over sea and sky, Manta will not only inspire riders with amazing underwater animal habitats, but take them on an exhilarating ride on a coaster shaped like a giant manta ray.

Gliding, flying and diving through more than a dozen twists and turns, riders will feel as if they are a ray, taking flight from sky to sea — so close at times that the Manta’s wings skim the waves.  Riders and non-riders alike will enjoy the graceful beauty of more than 60 California bat rays, which will be seen through a glass window and can be touched in a shallow lagoon area.  The exhibit will also feature diamond rays, guitar fish and more than 1,000 fish native to the California coast.
Manta will be located just north of Rocky Point Preserve.  SeaWorld is working with German ride design company MACK, which also engineered the marine-life park’s popular ride, Journey To Atlantis.  Guests at SeaWorld’s sister park in Orlando have been enjoying a similar version of Manta since it opened there in 2009.

Vampire Diaries Actor Takes the Ultimate Gamble at Howl-O-Scream

TAMPA, Fla. (October 28, 2011) – Actor Michael Roark, who was featured in the recurring role of Frank on TV’s The Vampire Diaries, faces a sin-city clan of bloodsuckers in the new Ultimate Gamble: Vampire Casino haunted house at Howl-O-Scream.

The actor, who also a graduated law school at the University of Florida, visited Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream on Thursday night with friends.

He is also known for his recent role as Donovan Peck in Dolphin Tale and his upcoming role as Ryan in Magic Mike that was partially filmed in Tampa.

Photos by Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s Infamous Cheetah/Puppy Duo Explore Their First Halloween Pumpkins

TAMPA, Fla. (October 27, 2011) – Actually, cheetahs are strict carnivores, but the residents of Busch Gardens’ Cheetah Run were curious to explore the new smells and textures that three oversized pumpkins provided.

Busch Gardens’ zookeepers introduced the pumpkins to the cheetah habitat on Tuesday for some special Halloween-themed enrichment for Kasi and Mtani, and Cheetah Run’s adolescent female cheetahs.

Enrichment can take many forms and is usually something different, unusual and challenging that stimulates the animals. Food and toys are used daily by zookeepers at Busch Gardens to keep the animals engaged and stimulated, both mentally and physically.

Celebrate the Season with Candy Cane Treats for San Diego Zoo Creatures

People who donate $250 for animal enrichment will be recognized on Candy Cane Lane during
 San Diego Zoo's Jungle Bells holiday celebration

     People who love animals, or just love the San Diego Zoo, can treat the roaring, squealing, snorting wild things to some holiday cheer this year --- and be recognized with a 5-foot-tall candy cane for a $250 donation. All money raised in this holiday-themed fund-raiser goes toward animal enrichment toys and treats for the Zoo's critters. The wooden, brightly painted candy canes will be along "Candy Cane Lane," a path that leads to a light show at the Zoo's Treehouse Plaza.

     Donors to this fund-raiser will be recognized with an engraved plaque on the front of the candy cane.  While they can't lick the peppermint sweetness from these elephant-sized candy canes, donors can certainly share the holiday spirit. A limited number of these candy canes will be available for purchase.

     People interested in donating can go to the Zoo's Wish List (

     Now in its third year, the Zoo's holiday celebration, Jungle Bells, runs December 9, 2011, through Jan.1, 2012. This year's celebration will feature extended evening hours, acrobat elves, violin sing-a-longs, a trolley ride, a nightly tree-lighting ceremony, bell ringers, lots of chances to meet our wintery animals up close, and much, much more.