With the opening of TurtleTrek at SeaWorld Orlando on April 27th quickly approaching, I thought it would be a great time to take a look at the progress that is being made in the park and at some fun facts about the attraction itself.
As I was walking through the Key West section of the park heading towards the future home of TurtleTrek, near the currently closed Manatee Rescue exhibit, I was met with large themed construction walls hiding all the work that is going on behind them I couldn’t help but think of what the attraction itself would be like.
For the creation of TurtleTrek, SeaWorld has been working closely with designers to create a state of the art attraction that still holds true to their focus on animal interactions, education, care, and conservation.
When TurtleTrek is complete, guests will first visit two massive naturalistic habitats, one filled with hundreds of freshwater fish and gentle manatees, the other home to more than 1,500 saltwater fish and more than a dozen sea turtles. Many of the manatees and sea turtles were rescued by the park’s animal team. Since SeaWorld Orlando’s rescue programs began, the team has cared for and returned to the wild nearly 240 manatees and more than 1,200 sea turtles.
Moving on from the habitats, guests enter a domed theater and what happens next has never before been seen and is a first at any theme park in the world.
Coming to life is a first-of-its-kind 3-D/360-degree dome theater film that is completely immersive. The dome allows a hyper-realistic 3-D movie to be shown all around guests and even above them – not just in front them or on only one screen. It’s this unique and immersive way of showcasing a sea turtle’s epic and astounding journey that is the heart of TurtleTrek. And for the first time, SeaWorld guests are given a turtle’s eye view of the ocean’s wonders.
And located at several locations along this massive themed wall, you are able to find turtles with QR codes that take you to SeaWorld’s YouTube Page all about the creation of TurtleTrek.
The videos that are on YouTube are great, because they give great insight as to what the attraction will be like and what a labor of love creating it has been for SeaWorld and their collaborators.
There are some really fun facts that SeaWorld has released that really give us an idea of how in-depth and massive that TurtleTrek will be!
The inspiration behind TurtleTrek
- No animal’s life journey is more incredible than that of the sea turtle. From hatching on a beach and making the mad dash to open waters to the dangers and hazards they face as they mature and return to the very same beach to lay their own eggs, their tales of life underwater have in the past been impossible to show. And no theme park in the world is better equipped than SeaWorld to share that journey with millions of people.
- In the same way SeaWorld brought attention to the plight of the manatee – the park’s attraction, “Manatee Rescue,” created interest that helped to save the species – at TurtleTrek, the park showcases the vulnerable sea turtle and asks everyday heroes across the globe to help make a difference in saving animals in the wild.
- In the nearly 50 years since SeaWorld’s rescue programs began, more than 20,000 injured, orphaned or ill animals have been rescued, cared for and in most instances, returned to the wild. That’s more than one animal per day since 196X.
The dome that brings the film to life
- For the first time, designers have married a start-of-the-art animated film and powerful projection system with a fully domed theater, allowing for a seamless, 3-D virtual environment, all around the guests, even over their heads.
- A fine silver coating on the dome allows each screen to focus the projection light back toward the guests. Each fleck of silver is like a tiny mirror.
The 3-D/360-degree film that showcases the epic journey of one sea turtle
- The animated film goes well beyond the concept of high-definition or even virtual reality. In fact, it could be considered “high-reality.”
- Each frame of the film has approximately 26 million individual pixels (more than 13 times what is considered “high-def”)
- The film is shown at 60 frames-per-second (twice as fast as the human mind can register movement).
- Combined with the dome and the powerful projection system, the result is the one of the sharpest, most spectacular 3-D films ever created.
- Each animal featured in the movie – from our hero sea turtle, to thousands of fish and down to the smallest anemone – began its life on an artist’s drawing board. Every movement of every creature was then animated independently.
- More than 12 species of sea animals are brought to life for the animated film. And each one was approved by SeaWorld educators and animal experts.
- Chances are, you’re looking at this fact sheet on a standard computer monitor that’s 1,024 pixels wide by 768 pixels high – a total of slightly more than 780,000 pixels. The dome screens at TurtleTrek have more than 26,000,000 pixels.
- You won’t find this movie on Netflix. At nearly 950GB, it would take you nearly 3 months to download the six-minute movie at home. If anyone was ever to create a full-length film at this resolution and complexity, it would take nearly five years to download.
- TurtleTrek’s movie is actually two. To create the astonishing 3-D, two films run simultaneously. One is for the left eye, the other for the right.
- The dome itself creates a huge projection area. The dome is so large, it takes 34 projectors and 368,000 lumens of light to fill it with a 3-D, 360-degree movie.
The system that projects the amazing 3-D/360-degree images
- 34 projectors have a combined total of 368,800 lumens of light output; more than 15 times a typical digital movie theater projection system.
- Nearly a kilometer of fiber optic cable carries the video data to the projectors.
The audio system that surrounds guests in an underwater world
- The sound system at TurtleTrek includes 22 discrete audio channels that have all been mixed on-site. This allows for 3-D sound and pinpoint placement of audio effects.
- A typical surround sound system has a 5.1 arrangement – 5 sound channels and 1 channel for low frequency effects. The sound system at TurtleTrek is 18.4 and is rated at an amazing 32,000 watts.
The real-life animals that live at TurtleTrek
- Sea turtles are truly a global species found in temperate and tropical seas worldwide. They have survived in the seas for more than 200 million years and are among a small group of reptiles that depend on the sea for survival.
- TurtleTrek will be home to a variety of adult and juvenile sea turtles, including hawksbill, Kemp’s, loggerhead, and green sea turtles. Guests can view these exquisite creatures gliding past them from above, or through a below-water window.
- Florida's tropical waters are home to a great diversity of life and perhaps none are more rare and endearing than the manatee. All manatee species can be found in warm tropical and subtropical waters in North America, South America, and West Africa.
- At TurtleTrek, four West Indian manatees can be seen from above, or below water as they swim by or graze on a leafy snack. Each gentle giant in the exhibit was previously rescued by SeaWorld – the global leader in rescue and rehabilitation of manatees.
- More than 1,500 Caribbean-native fish live in the saltwater habitat. The tropical varieties guests can view within the sea turtle habitat include angelfish, surgeonfish, file fish, butterfly fish, and many more.
- Approximately 200 freshwater fish will accompany the manatees in their habitat. There will be fish native to Florida such as large-mouth bass and bluegills; and exotic fish that can be found in Florida waters such as pacu and red-tail catfish.
I am really excited for this attraction to open later this month! The technology, message, and animal exhibits look amazing, and we will definitely be there for opening day!!!