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Friday, February 10, 2012

"Dancing with the Stars" Champion J.R. Martinez Visits The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Actor and former U.S. army soldier J.R. Martinez was hosted by Universal Orlando Resort today as he vacationed in Orlando . Best known for winning season 13 of ABC’s hit TV series, “Dancing with the Stars,” J.R. enjoyed an exciting performance by students from the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic while visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. He also visited Ollivanders wand shop and soared above Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Universal Studios Hollywood Transformers The Ride 3D Super Bowl Commercial

Summer Camps For Animal-loving Kids at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Unforgettable experiences include a weeklong residential camp focused on exotic animal care for pre-teens,
 and day camps on everything from animal senses to wildlife careers

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers unique weeklong summer camps in 2012 for youth ages 2 to 17. Each day, campers will have opportunities to meet animals up close. Younger children enjoy fun, hands-on activities that open the world of animals to them. Older campers feed rhinos and giraffes and create treats for other animals such as elephants and lions. All day camps have extended-day options. Summer camps run from June 25 to Aug. 17, 2012. And, for the first time in many years, the Safari Park also will be offering one-day camps for ages 6 through 17! For more information, parents and grandparents can call 619-718-3000 or go to and click on "education."

Some of the highlights of the weeklong camps include:

Work on the Wild Side (weeklong day camp for youth entering grades 9 through 12)
Teens can try wildlife careers on for size for five days by working on the wild side.  The Work on the Wild Side camp pairs teens with a zoo keeper one day and an animal trainer or veterinarian the next, allowing them to shadow professionals in all areas of animal care and conservation. The camp includes a chance to hop on board a caravan truck for an opportunity to feed giraffes and rhinos and see if field research is their thing.  Campers explore off-exhibit, behind-the-scenes animal areas to meet exotic animals up close. Work on the Wild Side at the Safari Park is a great way for teens to determine if a career in wildlife is right for them or to spend time with animals and the people who care for them. (Cost: $295 for members, $325 for nonmembers.)

Animal Care Boot Camp (weeklong overnight camp for youth entering grades 6 through 8)
Pre-teens get the inside scoop on animal care and conservation straight from the experts during this weeklong adventure. Among the exciting activities are meeting zookeepers and animal trainers to see firsthand what it takes to work with exotic animals, visiting the Park's state-of-the-art hospital to see veterinary medicine in action, and riding on a Caravan Safari truck deep into the heart of the Safari Park's enormous field enclosures. Campers will have an opportunity to try their hand at wildlife research as they monitor animal behavior and spend four nights camping at the Safari Park! (Cost: $879 for members, $909 for nonmembers.)

Colorful Creatures (weeklong day camp for children ages 2 and 3 along with a favorite adult)
Through play and interactive learning, tiny tots will be introduced to colorful creatures from around the world.  Each day includes visits from animal ambassadors for up-close interaction, stories, crafts, songs, and games.  From pink flamingos and blue-tongued skinks to spotted cheetahs and striped zebras, there's a ton of colorful animal fun for campers ages 2 to 3 along with their favorite grownup at Colorful Creatures Summer Camp!  (Cost: $165 for member adult/child pair, $195 for nonmember adult/child pair, $95 for a second child.)

Other weeklong options:
Sensory Safari (ages 4 and 5), You Talkin' to Me? (children entering grades 1 and 2), Fact or Fiction (children entering grades 3 through 5), and Animal Athletes (youth entering grades 6 through 8)

One-Day options:
Fancy Feet, Feathers & Flight, Predators!, and Wild About Art (all for youth entering grades 1-12)


Tampa park welcomes another baby giraffe that will become part of the herd by spring

TAMPA, Fla. (February 3, 2012) – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed a new baby female reticulated giraffe on Monday, January 27, 2011. At 6 foot, 2 inches tall and weighing approximately 176 pounds, the newborn is the calf of father, Jafari and mother, Cupid. This is Jafari’s second calf, and cupid’s fifth.

This new addition brings the park’s reticulated giraffe population to 19. Exactly one month to the day before this most recent birth, another female in the herd, Tesa, gave birth to Jafari’s first calf, which was also female.

The new mother and baby are currently in an area out of guest view so they can be closely monitored by zoo staff to ensure the baby is nursing and growing properly. The duo will join the other animals on the Serengeti Plain in about three months.

A reticulated giraffe’s gestation period is approximately 15 months, and the new baby will nurse for about one year. This birth is part of a successful long-term breeding program at Busch Gardens. The term “reticulated” refers to the giraffe’s net-like pattern of spots.

Busch Gardens’ 65-acre Serengeti Plain is a naturalistic habitat featuring a diverse population of free-roaming African animals including giraffe, zebra, white rhinoceros, eland antelope and several other species of hoof stock and birds.

You can view these amazing animals from the Serengeti Express, the Skyride or on a Serengeti Safari, an open-truck tour during which you can hand-feed reticulated giraffes and get up-close with the other animals on the plain.

For more information, contact Busch Gardens’ Public Relations department at (813) 987-5090 or visit

Universal Orlando Resort Adds Goo Goo Dolls and Sugar Ray To Complete One of the Most Powerful Mardi Gras Concert Line-Ups Ever

The Most Authentic Mardi Gras Celebration Outside of New Orleans Kicks off Feb. 11  at Universal Studios Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 2, 2012) – The Goo Goo Dolls and Sugar Ray will perform at Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras celebration, completing one the most powerful musical line-ups of the event’s history. Goo Goo Dolls will rock the Music Plaza Stage at Universal Studios Florida on March 3 and Sugar Ray will do the same on March 17.

With four Grammy nominations, more than 10 million albums sold and 13 Top Ten hits including “Name,” “Slide” and “Black Balloon,” Goo Goo Dolls has become one of the most globally recognized and influential forces in pop music history. Their hit “Iris,” from the “City Of Angels ” movie soundtrack, spent nearly 12 straight months on the Billboard charts and held the No. 1 position for 17 consecutive weeks.

Sugar Ray first gained fame in the music scene with the hit “Fly.”  Since then, lead singer Mark McGrath and his band mates have taken their combination of sunny pop and lightly funky hip-hop grooves and created several of the most infectious summer singles of the late ‘90s, including “Every Morning,” “Someday” and “When it’s Over.”

With the addition of Goo Goo Dolls and Sugar Ray, Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras musical line-up boasts a combined total of more than 350 million albums sold. Headliners include pop superstar Kelly Clarkson, teen sensation Big Time Rush, pop rock band Hot Chelle Rae, Grammy nominee for “Best New Artist” J. Cole and female Rock & Roll legend Cyndi Lauper.  For a complete list of this year’s performers and dates see below.

Universal Orlando ’s Mardi Gras celebration kicks off Feb. 11 and runs every Saturday and select nights through April 14.  The authentic and family-friendly version of the famed New Orleans street party combines unparalleled theme park entertainment with an elaborate Mardi Gras parade, dozens of colorfully costumed performers, authentic New Orleans bands, delicious Cajun cuisine and live concerts by some of today’s most popular artists. Guests can enjoy the Mardi Gras event and great theme park entertainment for the price of regular admission.

For more information, visit

Mardi Gras Event Dates
Headliners (performing in the Music Plaza )
New Orleans Bands (performing in the French Quarter)
Saturday, February 11
The B-52s
The Daddy Mack Blues Band
Saturday, February 18
Kelly Clarkson
Lil Malcolm and the House Rockers
Sunday, February 19
Boyz II Men
Lil Malcolm and the House Rockers
Saturday, February 25
Diana Ross
John Lisi & Delta Funk
Saturday, March 3
Goo Goo Dolls
Beth McKee & The Sliders
Saturday, March 10
Big Time Rush
Friday, March 16
J. Cole
Lil’ Brian & The Zydeco Travelers
Saturday, March 17
Sugar Ray
Lil’ Brian & The Zydeco Travelers
Friday, March 23
Hot Chelle Rae
J.J. Caillier & The Zydeco Knockouts
Saturday, March 24
J.J. Caillier & The Zydeco Knockouts
Friday, March 30
Plain White T’s
Soul Project
Saturday, March 31
Prince Royce
Soul Project
Saturday, April 7
Cyndi Lauper
Rockin’ Jake
Saturday, April 14
KC & The Sunshine Band
Big Al & The Heavyweights


Busch Gardens’ Special Valentine-Themed Serengeti Night Safari Showcases The Nighttime Behaviors of Animals

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2012) — Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the ultimate “date night” – a  romantic adventure under the stars, complete with unforgettable African animal encounters and delicious treats on Busch Gardens Serengeti Night Safari.

 WHAT:   Valentine’s Day Serengeti Night Safari
Venture through Edge of Africa to witness the active nighttime behaviors of hippos, lions and hyenas, lit only by moonlight and handheld lanterns. Then, on the Serengeti Plain, use night-vision monoculars and special filtered lighting to view free-roaming herds of giraffes, zebra, rhinos and other intriguing African animals. After your amazing animal adventure, cozy up around a roaring bonfire to hear colorful tales of African folklore.

DATE: Tuesday, Feb. 14, 6:30-9 p.m.

FOOD/DRINKS: This nighttime experience begins and ends in the exclusive Safari Club. You will enjoy savory appetizers and adult beverages before the excursion, and a special nightcap completes the evening with champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries.

PRICE: The cost is $60 per person, plus tax. Park admission is not required or included.

RESERVATIONS: Call 1-888-800-5447 or visit Guests must be 21 years of age or older to participate.

Get Green This Spring at Fairytale Town

 March Programs Focus Environment and Literacy

As the famous American philosopher Kermit the Frog once said, "It's good to be green." Seeing wisdom in these words, Fairytale Town celebrates 'being green' in a variety of ways this March.

On Saturday, March 3, Green Eggs and Ham takes center stage as Fairytale Town celebrates literacy and the birth of Dr. Seuss with Read Around Fairytale Town. Children's entertainer, Mister Cooper will bring the stories of Seuss alive with his dynamic performances at 12 PM and 2 PM on the Mother Goose Stage. Children can create and wear Cat in the Hat or Thing One and Thing Two headgear, and participate in literary fun throughout the grounds. Read Around Fairytale Town continues on Sunday, March 18, when magician Trevor Wyatt brings the magic of books alive with tricks and storytelling performances on the Mother Goose Stage at 12 PM and 2 PM. This literacy program is made possible by a generous grant from Target.

On Saturday March 10, 11AM - 3PM, Fairytale Town Goes Green with exhibits, displays and activities on ecology and the environment. If we each do a little, we all do a lot; so children and families will learn about the little things they can do to create a healthier environment. Hands-on activities will focus on creating art from recycled materials. PuppetArt Theater will perform a conservation-based version of the puppet show, The Three Little Pigs. Exhibits from Sacramento organizations such as the Department of Utilities, Effie Yeaw Nature Center, YNOT Recycle and Solar Cookers International will share information on how families can reduce, reuse, and recycle. Eco-friendly cars will be on exhibit to showcase the latest technology in fuel-efficiency.  This educational program is made possible through sponsorships from Maita Toyota and Hall's Window Center.

Beginning March 1, Fairytale Town is open 9 AM to 4 PM daily (weather permitting). For more information, please call 916-808-7462 or visit   

What: Read Around Fairytale Town

When: Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 18 - 11AM-3PM

Mother Goose Stage performances at 12PM and 2PM.

            General Park Hours:  9 AM - 4 PM Daily (weather permitting)

What: Fairytale Town Goes Green

When: Saturday, March 10, 2012 - 11AM to 3PM

            General Park Hours:  9 AM - 4 PM Daily (weather permitting)

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

Cost:   Admission Fees: $4 weekdays; $5 weekends & holidays.

            Puppet show tickets are $1 members and $2 nonmembers.          

Contact Phone: 916-808-7462


Busch Gardens’ Biggest Ice Show to Date Takes the Ice on 2-2-12

TAMPA (February 1, 2012) — For more than five decades, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has set the industry’s standard for delivering unforgettable entertainment experiences, with Broadway-style stage spectaculars like KaTonga: Musical Tales From the Jungle and innovative ice shows like World Rhythms on Ice. Iceploration builds on that tradition and introduces audiences to the next generation of ice shows.

Starting February 2, a cast of 20 brings to life an all-new adventure filled with world-class skaters, more than 75 original costumes, amazing aerial performances, master puppetry and live animal stars, with shows daily in the Moroccan Palace.

“The grand scale of this show sets a new standard of entertainment that further solidifies Busch Gardens as one of Florida’s premier theme parks,” said Busch Gardens Park President Jim Dean. “Iceploration reintroduces the ice show to our most loyal fans while bringing together the things Busch Gardens stage productions do best: world-class entertainment with top-notch skaters, amazing costumes, original music, larger-than-life puppets and even animal stars.”

Iceploration inspires audiences to “explore the world” on a 30-minute journey to the four corners of the earth. This multi-sensory story, told through theatrical skating and an all-new original score, is the collaboration of an award-winning creative team with Broadway credentials, including Tony Award-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes (The Drowsy Chaperone, Best Costume Design Tony winner 2007; Legally Blonde the Musical, Best Costume Design Tony nominee 2007).

The 30-minute show opens with Austin, a digitally savvy preteen, who believes that technology has made his generation more connected to the world than ever before. But his grandfather – and old-world explorer – argues that the boy is more disconnected than he realizes, and takes him on an adventure around the globe. Through their travels they visit the African Serengeti, Great Barrier Reef, the Arctic and the Amazon rainforest.

The adventure unfolds as they arrive in the African Serengeti. Here, larger-than-life puppets and spectacular set design bring elephants and other awe-inspiring animals to life at a watering hole. Solo and chorus skating performances accompanied by acrobatics tell an anecdote of an agile cheetah stalking graceful gazelles and meerkats.

Austin and Grandpa then dive into the Great Barrier Reef to explore the harmony of life on the ocean floor. An amazing black light transition and never-before-seen helium-filled puppets immerse the audience in the wonders of the sea, filled with parrotfish and lionfish, sea urchins, turtles and a moray eel.

In the Arctic, majestic skaters become striking snow flurries as a winter storm threatens the travelers. Austin and Grandpa witness even more beauty as they encounter the Aurora Borealis phenomenon, represented with theatrical lighting and projections. Then, they share the stage with amazing live animal stars, including a Siberian lynx and a sled of Siberian huskies as they continue to traverse the tundra.

Austin and Grandpa wrap up their adventure around the globe immersed in the lush, tropical Amazon Rainforest. Squirrel monkeys, sun conures and colorful macaws fill the air as playful frogs and a graceful dragonfly skate into the grand finale: a new signature song called “Meet the World.”

Iceploration performances are included with any daily park admission or annual Pass. For more information, visit

If you’re not already a fan, “like” Busch Gardens Tampa Bay at or check out the park’s blog at to get insider updates on Iceploration and all of the park’s happenings.


SeaWorld Orlando’s Bands, Brew & BBQ festival is twice as fun this year when the park hosts rockin’ concerts Saturdays AND Sundays on Feb. 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, and March 3-4. That’s four weekends of smokin’ hot bands, sizzling BBQ from your favorite local restaurants and SeaWorld’s very own culinary team, plus a thirst-quenching beer garden and amazing atmosphere.
Bands, Brew & BBQ is included with park admission. And the best way to experience this festival is with a Fun Card where you pay for a day’s admission and come back all year –
with no blackout dates – to experience all of SeaWorld’s remarkable events.

This year’s awesome line-up features top artists in classic rock and country music including a side stage showcasing local bands.  For those who want to show off their line dancing and boot scootin’ skills, a DJ will be spinning music to satisfy movers and shakers of all levels.

Concert times are at 4 p.m. and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Saturday, February 11:        Foreigner
    Sunday, February 12:          Gary Allan
    Saturday, February 18:        Trace Adkins
    Sunday, February 19:          Kenny Rogers
    Saturday, February 25:        Doobie Brothers
    Sunday, February 26:          Ronnie Dunn
    Saturday, March 3:              Sara Evans
    Sunday, March 4:                Scotty McCreery

This year beer lovers will rejoice with our “brew”-licious Beer Sampler.  Hoist your mugs in our thirst-quenching beer garden that showcases nearly 50 craft beers from domestic and international breweries.

A haze of sweet-smelling BBQ smoke will fill the air as SeaWorld’s culinary team serves up a cornucopia of all things BBQ including the authentic Homemade Beef Jerky and bodacious Famous BBQ Spare Rib Platter.  In addition, favorite local restaurants will be on hand serving BBQ foods tendered to perfection.

For those who want to feel like a rock star there are VIP and Elite VIP ticket packages available. Guests who take advantage will enjoy the best seats in the house, mouth-watering food and a unique experience that they’ll never forget as they get up-close and personal with some of today’s hottest classic rock and country music performers.

Regular, single-day SeaWorld admission is $81.99 for adults and $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 front gate, online at or by calling 1-888-800-5447. Event dates, times and artists are subject to change. Performances are included with any daily admission or annual pass. Concert seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Concert dates and artists are subject to change.