Take a fast ride (legally) on Mission Bay Friday as SeaWorld San Diego’s new Arctic Rescue, the longest and fastest straddle coaster on the West Coast, opens to the public.
Named as one of the most anticipated coasters of the year by USA Today 10Best, this will be the sixth coaster at the park, following Emperor, Electric Eel, Manta, Journey to Atlantis and Tidal Twister.
It’s not just a thrill ride, though. It also will benefit nonprofit conservation partner Alaska SeaLife Center, to help raise awareness of arctic animals, including Alaskan marine animals in need.
The coaster simulates a snowmobile rescue ride, with three launches of up to 40 mph. Riders straddle snowmobile-style seats that lean into banks and turns and glide up to heights as tall as 30 feet along 2,800 feet of track.
Manufactured by Intamin Worldwide, each train holds 16 riders in eight, two-person rows, There is a 48-inch height requirement, so some youngsters will be able to ride.
“Arctic Rescue adds a new, family-friendly thrill to the park that we’re sure guests will enjoy for years to come,” said Jim Lake, SeaWorld San Diego’s president, adding that the aim is to combine education about marine mammals with “thrills and excitement” park-goers can’t find elsewhere.
The coaster is located alongside the Wild Arctic exhibit.
Guests will be able to learn more about Alaska’s wildlife and the need for conservation while in line for the ride. SeaWorld Rescue San Diego also partners with the Alaska center to rescue and rehabilitate animals including seals, sea lions, belugas, otters and walruses.
The center is the only facility in Alaska that combines a public aquarium with marine research, education and wildlife response.
“The Alaska SeaLife Center is excited to expand our partnership with SeaWorld. For many years, SeaWorld has been a devoted supporter of the center’s Wildlife Response program,” said Tara L. Riemer, the center’s president and CEO.
The past partnership has included taking in Mitik, a walrus at SeaWorld San Diego rescued in 2012 off the coast of Alaska. He was deemed non-releasable so SeaWorld took him in; as riders leave Arctic Rescue, they can tour Wild Arctic to see Mitik.
Tickets start at $70 during the remainder of the Memorial Day sale, which ends Sunday. Regular admission starts at $110.