If you're looking for fun kids activities in San Antonio, check out the latest at greatest at SeaWorld: Turtle Reef. As of today (Friday, May 3rd 2019) Turtle Reef is open to the public and offers a turtle viewing area and two new thrill rides. I attended the media preview of Turtle Reef at SeaWorld San Antonio and I'm excited to bring you all the details to help you plan your visit.
About the turtles
There are currently six sea turtles living in the new Turtle Reef at SeaWorld. Visitors can get an up-close look at these endangered and rescued sea turtles and learn more about the human impact on our oceans. Yep, if you haven't been to SeaWorld in a while, their focus has shifted to conservation and education.
The attraction includes green sea turtles as well as “Big Mama” who is a 250-pound loggerhead sea turtle rescued offshore in the Gulf of Mexico after sustaining significant injuries to her front and back flippers. Keeping the turtles company are an array of colorful fish. There's room in the tank to house more turtles if more turtles are rescued.
About Turtle Reef’s BioFiltration System
SeaWorld has some of the most advanced water purification infrastructures in the world built into the foundation of its parks and uses these systems to reclaim and recycle wastewater for reuse. In Turtle Reef, seawater is filtered through a fabricated salt marsh grass wetland, similar to how water is filtered in the environment, and returned to the habitat. This unique filtration method helps reduce water and energy consumption.
The use of a constructed saltwater marsh to filter the exhibit is a unique example of a biodynamic habitat, using natural elements and processes in an organic way. The team ultimately hopes that the marshland will attract additional wildlife, helping to complete the ecology circle.
About the Rides
Turtle Reef is home to two new thrill rides, Riptide Rescue and Sea Swinger. These aren't just fun rides, although they are fun. These rides simulate actual rescue operations and teach kids about our oceans as well as different career opportunities they may not have considered.
Riptide Rescue is a spinning ride that takes families on an adventure to help save marine animals. Each “boat” fits two riders, although you can ride as a single rider. The height requirement for this one is 45 inches and 50 inches to ride unaccompanied. If you're prone to motion sickness, this might be one to skip, depending on how sensitive you are. I didn't feel like I needed a minute to regain my balance when I stepped off the ride but I wouldn't have raised my hand to jump back in line and ride a second time. My kids will love this one but my husband will probably skip it.
The Sea Swinger is a thrilling high swing ride that will launch riders on an arc almost parallel with the ground at the top of its trajectory, before sending them soaring to the same point in the opposite direction—all in mere seconds. Riders are harnessed in via a shoulder harness. The height requirement for this one is 48 inches, which seems to be the standard theme park litmus test for thrill rides. If you're a hardcore thrill seeker, this might be on the tame side but children who are wanting their first taste of the “big kid rides” will love it.
These two rides join Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster as rides that simulate rescue operations. This is a great way to have fun and learn.
Where is Turtle Reef Located?
Turtle Reef is located just behind Shamu Stadium. At this time, there are no concessions or shops located within Turtle Reef but there are fun stores and kiosks located throughout the park. For ticket info and hours, visit SeaWorld San Antonio's website.