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SeaWorld San Diego Boosts Attendance With Riptide Ride For Kids

It may be a sign of the times or an indication adding a little more fun to a theme park can actually payoff. Sea World San Diego saw its attendance go up significantly last year, after adding a new attraction.

It may be a sign of the times or an indication that adding a little more fun to a theme park can actually payoff.

Spring break often means larger crowds at SeaWorld San Diego. But attendance in the past few years was on the decline -- until the marine park added the Turtle Reef exhibit last year.

SeaWorld's president John Reilly said three out of four visitors went through the attraction.

"We saw almost 2,000 guests an hour go through this exhibit in the summer last year, he said.

Reilly ranks the exhibit only second to the Shamu Show in terms of interest at the park. But the biggest draw may be the Rip Tide Rescue Ride for kids 6 to 12 years old. "We're always very deliberate about developing the rides so that they tell the story of an animal. And they present a world class animal exhibit at the same time," Reilly said.

Carlsbad resident John Decker and his family have been coming to SeaWorld for years to enjoy the exhibits and marine life. He was a little surprised about the popularity of the RipTide Rescue ride.

"You know, maybe the rides because it gives the kids a little more to do and my kids enjoy the rides, so that could have something to do with it," Decker said.

Attendance was up 14 percent last year after the debut of Turtle Reef. Reilly hopes the parks newest ride under construction called Manta -- increases attendance even more this year.

"It's a mega attraction that's going to combine a roller coaster with a world class animal exhibit in a way that only SeaWorld can do it," he said. The roller coaster and Manta exhibit are scheduled to open on May 26th. A single day pass to Sea World is $73 for adults and $65 for children.

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