SeaWorld's new attraction "Turtle Reef" opens - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

SeaWorld's new attraction "Turtle Reef" opens

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - SeaWorld San Diego's newest attraction, "Turtle Reef," opens Saturday as the theme park battles a 9 percent drop in attendance.

The Themed Entertainment Association reports that SeaWorld is the only major Southern California amusement park to sustain a drop on attendance last year, a local news source reported.

"Obviously, the public has not seen as much compelling new stuff in SeaWorld as in its competitors," said Robert Niles, the editor of Theme Park Insider, in an interview with a local news source.

A spokesman for SeaWorld blamed the downturn on last year's terrible summer weather. The park is building a new roller coaster, called "Manta," and Saturday opens a major new attraction in "Turtle reef."

It features more than 60 hawksbill and green sea turtles in a 300,000-gallon coral reef habitat. Some of the adult turtles are more than 50 years old, and some juvenile green sea turtles were hatched in 2009.

Tropical fish are included in the exhibit. Turtle Reef has educational activities and a spinning ride called "Riptide Rescue."

The turtles are endangered and, since they often mistake plastic bags for jelly fish, stores at SeaWorld will from Saturday on only hand out paper bags or allow customers to purchase reusable bags.

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