SeaWorld debuts two new attractions Wednesday - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

SeaWorld debuts two new attractions Wednesday

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Against a backdrop of squealing children enjoying rides and orcas savoring massages from streams of water, SeaWorld San Diego Wednesday officially unveiled its newest attractions to replace the park's "Shamu" killer whale shows.

"Ocean Explorer" features a submarine ride and aquariums, while "Orca Encounter" presents killer whales at a venue with a Pacific Northwest backdrop and 140-foot video screen.

SeaWorld held a soft opening for the attractions, which incorporate interactivity and new technology, during the holiday weekend.

Theme park executives decided to discontinue the "Shamu" shows after facing years of pressure from animal rights advocates, politicians and adverse reaction to the documentary, "Blackfish," which accused SeaWorld of mistreating its orcas.

SeaWorld also pledged to stop breeding orcas in captivity and provide a more educational experience for park visitors.

"We're transitioning and we're changing," park Vice President of Development Brian Morrow. "We're always going to be about the animals, but we're telling new stories with new tools."

Despite the changes, some protesters demonstrated outside SeaWorld over the weekend, demanding that the killer whales be released to the wild.

More than 160 first-grade students from Valencia Park Elementary School in San Diego and Flying Hills Elementary School in El Cajon took part in the grand opening and explored the new attractions, according to SeaWorld.

A third new park area, called "Electric Ocean," is scheduled to debut on June 17.

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