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SeaWorld Seeks Approval To Remodel Its Entrance

SeaWorld San Diego is planning to remodel its entrance, pending approval by the California Coastal Commission, theme park officials said today.

An orca whale at SeaWorld in July 2011.
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Above: An orca whale at SeaWorld in July 2011.

The entrance would be known as "Explorer's Reef,'' and include a beach-themed ticketing area and a giant wave sculpture designed to make it appear to guests that they are going under water.

The area just inside the entrance would look like the ocean floor, with four touch pools holding about 5,000 fish.

"Explorer's Reef will transform our guests' arrival by providing them with unparalleled welcoming services and then transporting them into the world of the sea as they pass under an iconic and stunning wave,'' said John Reilly, president of the park. "The promise of SeaWorld will be delivered immediately, giving our guests opportunities to connect with amazing animals as soon as they enter the park.''

SeaWorld also hopes the new entrance will be more efficient for customers. Attendance increased by 14 percent from 2010 to 2011, and SeaWorld officials said they expected a similar jump this year.

If approved Thursday by the Coastal Commission, which kicked off two days of meetings today in Oceanside, construction would start in December and be completed in 16 months.

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