Aquatica is a chain of water parks owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. Aquatica parks are operating in Orlando, Florida, San Antonio, Texas, and Chula Vista, California.
SeaWorld Orlando originally announced plans to build a water park on July 15, 2005. The announcement stated that it would be a "natural" park and revealed the park's iconic Dolphin Plunge water slides. On March 5, 2007, SeaWorld held a press conference officially announcing Aquatica. It was expected the 59-acre (24 ha) park would cost US$50 million to build. Construction continued in earnest throughout 2007 and into early 2008. Previews for employees and holders of park annual passes were held in February. On March 1, 2008, the park opened to guests for the first time, with the official grand opening held on April 4, 2008. In its debut year, the park hosted approximately 950,000 guests, making it the fourth-most visited water park in the United States and eighth-most visited in the world. The park was an immediate success, reaching its opening-year attendance goal in just six months.
In early 2011, rumors speculated about Aquatica coming to SeaWorld San Antonio in the future. According to the park president, SeaWorld San Antonio would become a multi-day experience. SeaWorld officially announced plans to build a water park on May 24, 2011. The announcement called it, "a whimsical waterpark with up-close animal experiences, high-speed thrills and relaxing, sandy beaches". The water park replaced Lost Lagoon that opened in the early 1990s. Lost Lagoon closed on Labor Day weekend 2011. During October 2011 the construction of the new water park started with excavation for the new entrance, the new sandy beaches, and the structure for the new Wahalla Wave water slide. In early November 2011 the new water slides arrived in pieces at Sea World San Antonio's parking lot, waiting to get assembled. Aquatica San Antonio officially opened on May 19, 2012.
On November 20, 2012, Cedar Fair announced it had sold its San Diego Soak City park to SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. The water park originally opened on May 31, 1997, under the name White Water Canyon. At the time it featured 16 water slides and a wave pool. In December 1999, Cedar Fair purchased the park for $11.5 million and renamed it Knott's Soak City U.S.A.. The water park had opened with a new beach theme in May 2000. The acquisition by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment will see the park transformed into a 32-acre (13 ha) water park named Aquatica San Diego. The refurbished park reopened on June 1, 2013.
Aquatica Orlando is located on the outskirts of Orlando, Florida. It is a sister park of SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove. The park is themed to the southern Pacific, and features Australian and New Zealand based mascots including Roa (a kiwi), Kata (a kookaburra), Wai (a Commerson's dolphin), Ihu (a gecko), Papa (a royal spoonbill), Wae Wae (a takahē), and Motu (a turtle). The park features a wide array of attractions for all ages and swimming abilities, some of which pass by or through animal habitats. The park has two wave pools which share an extensive, 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) man made white-sand beach area equipped with deck chairs, sun beds and umbrellas.
Aquatica San Antonio is located in San Antonio, Texas. The water park opened on May 19, 2012, and is a companion to SeaWorld San Antonio. It features a wide array of attractions for all ages and swimming abilities, some of which pass by or through animal habitats.
In 2014 Aquatica San Antonio opened Roa's Aviary which is in the middle of Loggerhead Lane (similar to Tassie's Twister in Orlando). The aviary has a waterfall entrance to prevent birds from getting out. The 34,000 square foot facility features multiple species of birds.
The former Knott's Soak City San Diego in Chula Vista, California reopened as Aquatica San Diego on June 1, 2013. It features a wide array of attractions for all ages and swimming abilities, one of which passes by a flamingo habitat.