Category Archives: Attractions

New Family Friendly Entertainment Destination to Open July 31

OWA’s 21-ride themed amusement park, The Park at OWA, located in Foley, Alabama, will officially open its doors to the public July 21, 2017. Designed as a family fun destination, The Park at OWA will offer each and every guest a unique adventure.

Beginning opening day, guests will enjoy everything The Park at OWA has to offer: 21 rides (including the Rollin’ Thunder); a variety of midway games; quick service dining options; and the Parkside Gift Shop filled with one-of-a-kind Park at OWA treasures. The Park opens at 10 am daily.

Tickets will be available online at VisitOWA.com beginning July 18, 2017 at 10 am. Tickets may also be purchased on site opening day at The Park at OWA Admissions Office. Group discounts and packages will be available and more details can be found at VisitOWA.com.

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The Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017

Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor’s family travel site, has just named the Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017 – naming the best parks in the U.S., and sharing the year’s newest attractions and highlights for every age group.

“Amusement parks are one of the most quintessential summertime activities for families,” explains Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic. “But for those traveling with family members of various ages – including kids-at-heart – finding a park that caters to thrill-seekers and the younger set isn’t always so easy. This list includes parks that successfully cater to both, and those that also have exciting new features for the 2017 season.”

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Wave Breaker: Now Thrilling Guests at SeaWorld San Antonio

Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster opens to the public Friday, June 16, launching guests into a fun, adrenaline-pounding mission inspired by the heroics of the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team. Named by USA Today as one of the Ten New Cool Rides Coming in 2017, Wave Breaker’s jet-ski style car is the first of its kind in North America. The coaster’s unique design hugs riders in a straddled position as they grip the handle bars and race through a series of high-speed maneuvers, steeply banked turns, and a pair of pulse-pounding launches over water.

“Wave Breaker is an exciting and novel coaster for families to ride together, and adds to SeaWorld’s strong lineup of top-rated coasters,” said SeaWorld San Antonio Park President Carl Lum. “But what truly delights me is that this attraction best represents what SeaWorld is all about – it brings together the best of SeaWorld in one thrilling ride, and carries a message that leaves guests feeling inspired.”


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Guests board Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster in a queue themed with stories from some of the more than 30,000 rescues by the SeaWorld Rescue Team over the past 50 years. Before launch, riders are assigned a mission – a sea turtle, dolphin or sea lion rescue. After the mission briefing, riders grip the handlebars and prepare to race into action covering 2,600-feet of track. The ride launches directly over the water, creating the sensation that riders are racing across the park’s lake. Each rescue mission takes a train of 16 riders through a more than three minute ride, reaching speeds of up to 44 mph and heights up to 61-feet.

“Wave Breaker provides a coaster experience unlike anything in the current theme park landscape,” said SeaWorld Vice President of Theme Park Development Mike Denninger. “While other coasters feature dramatic changes in speed, once you hit Wave Breaker’s first launch you are moving fast throughout the entire ride. When you combine that consistent high speed with the banked and serpentine turns throughout the ride track that is 90 percent over the surface of the water, you get an unparalleled ride experience.”


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Texas State Aquarium Puts Finishing Touches on Caribbean Journey for Grand Opening

The Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, the Official Aquarium of the State of Texas, is putting finishing touches on its newest experience, Caribbean Journey, in advance of its grand opening May 13. The expansion doubles the size of the existing attraction.

Caribbean Journey’s immersive and interactive exhibits showcase the biodiversity and culture of the Yucatan Peninsula and Caribbean Sea. Guests can expect to see sharks, tropical fishes, birds and reptiles. They can also experience marine themed films in a new, multi-sensory Whataburger 4-D theater.

“Our staff is eagerly waiting to open the doors to Caribbean Journey as we unveil our newest exhibits that bring the world of the Caribbean Sea to life on the Texas Gulf Coast,” said Texas State Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid. “We’re looking forward to sharing the highly interactive, educational and action-packed experience with marine life enthusiasts of all ages.”


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The grand opening of Caribbean Journey advances the aquarium’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education programming and conservation and wildlife rehabilitation programs. It features a new Flint Hills Resources Center for Excellence in STEM Education, which promotes discovery-based learning and advanced digital technology to connect guests to STEM professionals.

The expansion also enhances the aquarium’s ability to educate visitors about wildlife ecology and marine life conservation. TSA currently cares for more than 4,000 animals representing more than 380 species. In 2016, it treated more than 340 injured animals through its Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Program.

In 2016, the Texas State Aquarium attracted approximately 520,000 visitors and projects attendance to increase to 600,000 by next year. The Texas State Aquarium summer hours, from March through Labor Day, are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information and admission prices, visit www.texasstateaquarium.org.


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Aquarium of the Pacific Major Expansion Groundbreaking

The Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach, California, one of the nation’s largest and most-visited aquariums, celebrated its future Pacific Visions wing with a groundbreaking ceremony recently. The 29,000-square-foot, two-story sustainable structure is designed by the San Francisco-based architecture and design firm EHDD. The first major expansion project ever undertaken by the nonprofit aquarium, Pacific Visions, slated to open in late 2018/early 2019, will be the new focal point of the institution and will engage the public with epic ocean stories and inspire them to create a better future for our planet. The main Aquarium building will remain operational throughout the construction phase.

Pacific Visions is designed as a biomorphic structure. Complementing the Aquarium’s existing building, Pacific Visions will have a façade made up of more than 800 non-reflective glass panels covering an area of 18,000 square feet. The Pacific Visions project includes the Honda Pacific Visions Theater, new Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Entrance and front pavilion, changing exhibit gallery with live animals, art gallery, and orientation gallery. The two-story, 300-seat Honda Pacific Visions Theater will include a 32-foot-tall, 130-foot long, 180-degree arc digital projection wall and a 30-foot-diameter floor projection disc to immerse visitors in a virtual ocean environment. The theater will bring to life epic ocean stories, allowing audiences to discover new species, witness the processes and phenomena of Earth’s ecosystems, and grapple with the many challenges facing the natural world. Seats will be wired for interactivity, providing visitors opportunities to explore a range of possible alternative pathways to the future and to discover how our activities will determine the future. All stories will be developed by the Aquarium in partnership with leading scientists, filmmakers, and digital artists.

Pacific Visions will incorporate a range of technologies and media design developed by EMMY award-winning Cortina Productions. Media technology will create rich, dynamic, relevant multi-sensory, multi-dimensional experiences. Interactive technology will create a space where science, art, and nature can blend in a fluid, intuitive way for innovative learning. Digital exhibits using real-time data will enable the Aquarium to address breaking scientific discoveries and current and emerging environmental topics. When visitors leave the Aquarium, they will be able to remain connected and share the experience with friends and family through the Pacific Visions app.


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Celebrate Holiday in the Park at a Six Flags

Tis the season for thrilling roller coasters, millions of dazzling LED lights, and kisses under the mistletoe as Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the world’s largest regional theme park company, kicks off its annual holiday spectacular, Holiday in the Park.

Holiday in the Park is a treasured holiday tradition featuring intricately-themed lighting displays, holiday entertainment and an expansive selection of specialty food offerings guaranteed to make the season merry and bright for every member of the family.

Signature Holiday in the Park offerings guests of all ages can enjoy, include:

  • A myriad of activities families can experience together including cookie-decorating, ornament-making, and face-painting;
  • Millions upon millions of dazzling lights, choreographed lighting packages and beautifully decorated holiday-themed sections throughout the parks;
  • Towering Christmas trees all lit up and decked out for the holidays;
  • Wood-burning fire pits, perfect for making s’mores and keeping warm and toasty during nighttime visits;
  • A wide assortment of seasonal menu items including flavored coffee and hot chocolate, peppermint and mocha fudge, festive funnel cakes, hot soups and chili served in homemade bread bowls and holiday platters of sliced turkey and chicken;
  • Holiday photo locations featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus, antique sleighs, giant candy canes and life-size nutcrackers;
  • Live entertainment with strolling carolers, choirs and elaborate stage productions;
  • Retail locations brimming with great stocking stuffers like holiday candles, plush toys, scarves and unique ornaments; and
  • Expanded hours of operation means more time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season and create thrilling family memories.

I-10 travelers will find Holiday in the Park celebrations at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California

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New Family-Friendly Tourist Destination Under Construction in Alabama

Poarch Band of Creek Indians Unveil New Tourist Destination Complex Projected to Bring 1 Million New Visitors to Alabama Features Amusement Park, Marriott Hotel, Proximity to Sports Complex.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians today unveiled detailed plans for its first-class, family-friendly tourist destination currently under construction near Alabama’s most popular beaches.

The development’s name, Owa, means “big water” in the Muscogee Creek language. Owa “big water” refers to the 14-acre lake at the center of the unique project that features a themed amusement park, a 150-room Marriott Town Place Suites hotel, and a wide selection of restaurant and shopping opportunities.

The 520-acre Owa development is adjacent to the City of Foley’s $40 million sports tourism complex which features 16 state-of-the-art outdoor fields and a 90,000 square foot indoor events center that is slated to open in the summer of 2017. The two projects will provide a seamless experience for “sport families” who travel to the area specifically for tournaments, but who will avail themselves of opportunities offered by Owa to entertain the entire family.

Owa, located just off the Foley Beach Express and County Road 20, is just 9 miles from Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. While that area of the State already hosts 6.2 million each year, Owa is expected to bring in an additional 1 million visitors annually.

Phase One of Owa, which includes the 150-room hotel, retail and dining spaces, amusement park and lake will open Summer 2017. Future plans call for a waterpark, additional hotels, a condominium complex and a resort level RV park. When complete, total investment in the development will top $500 million.


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Pensacola’s Foo Foo Festival Set for November 3-14

As beachgoers hang up their sun hats, Pensacola readies to host the third annual Foo Foo Festival, presented by Art, Culture and Entertainment, Inc. (ACE), Nov. 3-14.

Foo Foo Festival is a 12-day celebration of culinary, musical, theatrical and creative events, with programming by 22 grant recipients, as well as already established events, throughout the city of Pensacola. The extensive entertainment roster positions the city as a must-visit vacation location for the fall.

Festival-goers will be challenged to vacation artfully, musically and aesthetically – before the holiday rush begins. Events include the Big Green Egg® Cook-off, the US Navy’s Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show at NAS Pensacola, Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival, Great GulfCoast Arts Festival and the Pensacola Marathon, among other uniquely exciting events in the area. In addition, the 2016 ACE grant recipients will host individual experiences specific to their craft throughout the festival.

“We are thrilled to host the third annual Foo Foo Festival,” said David Bear, president of ACE. “Our grant recipients have created programming that will showcase Pensacola as one of the premier arts and cultural destinations in the southeast. We welcome locals and visitors alike to experience the talent and passion that is the hallmark of Foo Foo Festival.”

This year, spectators can watch closely as locally commissioned artists work to transform a downtown Pensacola parking garage into a permanent 3,000-square-foot outdoor mural that tells the story of Pensacola’s rich and iconic surroundings.


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