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Richard

Shark Bay Open

13 posts in this topic

About a week late, but Shark Bay is now open at Sea World. There'll be some reviews, articles and galleries and whatnot coming to the site in coming days. Some very interesting stuff, especially if you're interested in marine life. As far as entertainment goes, it's not nearly as interesting as say Polar Bear Shores to watch, but I think it's equally as fascinating. The strange part is that the most interesting part of it is not the sharks. Based on where most people are in the attraction, you'll find that the sharks are actually the least popular part of the attraction. Most people are either around the touchpools, inter-tidal pools or in the underwater viewing area for the reef lagoon, not the shark lagoon. There are a few problems. Firstly, they've built a single tiny entrance area to get in, which means there is a lot of bottlenecking around this area. There is a serious lack of signage. You simply don't know what you're looking at. There also seems to be a bit of an algae problem, which I'd like to think will work itself out as the attraction settles in, though I am doubtful. Given that the soundtrack narration is largely about how great Sea World is at developing filtration systems (yeah, you'd think it'd be about sharks), there's a touch of irony going on. I don't believe it's built as well as Polar Bear Shores and others either, but that sort of stuff is only noticeable if you're actually purposely looking for it. It's still a fairly interesting attraction. I don't think it was executed as well as it could have been, and perhaps a shark exhibit looked better on paper than it does in real life, because the brightly coloured fish of the reef are a much bigger crowd-pleaser than the sharks.

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Sad to hear its not quite as 'wowing' as we would have hopped, still I look forward to getting up and having a look. As a side note we have been seing the ads on TV down here now for a little while and they do look really good. They are certainly doing the right thing in regards to marketing, that's for sure.

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Please note, this is now an roller-coaster.com exclusive, and is not to be discussed on any other website without prior written permission. Indeed, Shark Bay is open, and attracting big crowds into the park. As well as this, the train is now open from a year long rehab (quite possibly the longest rehab ever) and corkscrew has finished its annual maintenance, sporting a new paint job. Just on a few things mentioned above (this is from my limited, but generally exceptional knowledge of filtration): The algae in the pool, while being unsightly, isn't really of huge concern. Basically, its impossible to keep algae out of the pool for a few reasons. Most notable is the fact that the pool is outdoors, and gets lots of sunshine, which is wonderful for growing stuff. Don't forget, you can't just kill all the algae in there by dumping copious amounts of chlorine in the pool as its not good for sharks either. Add too that, you can't drop the pool and give it a good scrub, as, again, its not good for the sharks. Also, to be fair, they have been in there for about 5 months now. Its one of those things that the parks filtration department is going to be working on constantly, and its doing a good job keeping the water so clear.

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There is an aquarium underneath the Endeavour Cafe (next to Reef Discovery) at the southern end of the park. Also, Shark Bay's main feature is underwater viewing, so the feature may be somewhat of a done thing. Although the aquarium could do with a bit of attention (Expand it into the Reef Discovery building?) I believe it does fill its niche satisfactorily and doesn't really need an upgrade.

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The aquarium under the Endeavour Cafe's fine, though it is looking a bit shabby. I say that give it an overhall. Nothing major, just replace all the carpeting, replace the well-and-truly aged description signs and add some more dramatic lighting around it to make it a little less dark and dull. I agree that it is fine as it currently sits, though the idea of expanding it and perhaps making it a larger and more pleasant is a very valid one. Give it the Sea World trademark environmental concern and smack on a trendy name which features the prominent animal followed by a coastal geographical feature and you've got a killer marketing campaign. I'm thinking "Clownfish Blowhole" right now. The dream would be to remove both buildings (the aquarium and Reef Discovery) and build a bigger "world-class" aquarium in the space of the two. There's a lot of dead land that they could utilise in this area by combining the two, plus all the pathing and gardens between them, into one attraction. Replace the Endeavour Cafe with something a little more modern atop this bigger aquarium. You'd then have a reason other than Ski Challenge and Corkscrew Chicken to go back to the front half of the park. I see this as being a realistic sounding attraction, not short term though. Given that we've got two demi-semi-comfirmed attractions "on the way" (seals and crocs, and there's even a few more aren't there?), and Sea World's average of one new animal attraction every four years, I'd be looking at 10+ years before they try and tackle this front area of the park. Still, with Shark Bay covering so many bases in the aquarium department, they'd have to find a different sort of theme or climate for the attraction. Sadly, "Plankton of the World" probably won't have the same effect on people as the brightly coloured fish or playful bears or "killer" sharks or intelligent dolphins of the other most recent attractions.

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Probably the best ones I can think of that could be utilised more are artic themed (Beluga whales anyone?), deep sea fish, and or sea jellies. There there's all the overlooked things like eels, sea snakes, octopus's, squid, turtles, dragon fish and cave displays. Underwater World's 1st floor is a good example of how much aquarium stuff there is down there (so too speak). Even though the most obvious options are taken, there's still heaps of things of appeal that the park could look at introducing (or expanding upon). Still, the idea is a long way off when there's still things like Seal Rocks (and deciding wether that project goes ahead or not) in the pipeline. The current aquarium under the Endeavour Cafe (or whatever the cafe gets turned into) is quite fine, and does its job quite well.

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I wasn't too crash hot about the SeaWorld Adventure Parks' Wild Arctic, which had their beluga whales, polar bears and that sort of stuff. The problem was they tried to make it too interactive and exciting, and made it a simulator ride in a helicopter to the Arctic (for those who didn't want a motion ride, they went on a special helicopter fitted with "gyrostabilisers", i.e. they pulled the plug on the motion base). Aside from being the absolute worst simulator I've been on (and yes, I've ridden Batman 2 at Movie World), it meant you had to queue, often for an hour or more to see a few fish. Promise me you won't go that route (given our parks do send people scouting every now and again overseas, and the way they tend to be impressed by less-than-stellar ideas I wouldn't be so surprised), and I'll gladly go along with the arctic thing. I'd love to see an Orca or two, but they need a lot of room and a lot of depth, and I can't imagine that the pricetag on a full-grown killer whale is too inviting. If one day they decided that Corkscrew was to go to make way for more animal exhibits, this is about the only thing I say would be worth it.

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I remember someone saying stuff about Wild Artic a while before Polar Bear Shores opened. The talk was SW would get a similar attraction, complete with simulator. Probably just as well that they did it the way they did. You shouldn't have to queue too see animals. The instant gratification of walking straight in and seeing animals doing there thing is one of the great things about these exhibits. I'd be very surprised to see SW go the same way of the Busch parks, and I'm yet to hear of any such idea mentioned by credible sources, and after the success they had putting pre-shows on rides, I doubt they'd do it for animal attractions.

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This is just another one of my ideas, what about making the aquarium sort of themed, my idea was a marine biologists lab, it could be a walk through a high tech type lab with modern design, lots of tanks of fish, mock up equipment, a completly circular tunnel surrounded by water (like at the Melbourne aquarium) and some good theming. Maybe there could be a plankton of the world in the form of a rank of microscopes people could see them through. it would have nice wide areas to make it high capacticy. There would of course be some sort of show and maybe a simulator could be incorporated as a ride in an exploration sub, with a screen at the front but also at the sides in the form of portholes to give a better experience. The complex would almost be like a mini park with lots to do and it would work a treat on wet weather days.

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