San Diego Sea World's Roller Coaster Gets a Green Light

The 150-foot roller coaster received the green light from the Coastal Commission after studies and analysis determined the amusement ride would not block ocean views. The ride's light blue color scheme will blend into the surrounding vista making the coaster less of an eyesore for those in the Mission Bay area where the ride will be visible throughout the neighborhood and surrounding locations. The roller coaster itself will provide riders with "...the only upside-down view of Mission Bay," said Sea World San Diego spokesperson David Koontz. Electric Eel, the name of the ride, will feature "loops, twists and airtime" Koontz said.

Other potential impact issues, such as wastewater treatment, noise and traffic were also dealt with in the report. Despite the ride bringing more people into Sea World, studies suggested there would be no impact on existing traffic. Although construction and operations will produce noise that can "adversely impact" marine life, the Commission granted permission to go ahead with construction. It was also determined that water would not be negatively impacted as Sea World already manages its own waste water treatment facility.

The new amusement ride will occupy a portion of the 1.2 acres of park land set aside for this construction. The rest of the area will contain a locker station for guests and an educational facility with a focus on eels. Sea World's other educational and interactive programs like Turtle Reef, Explorers' Reef and Wild Arctic provide guests with the opportunity to engage with marine life in an aquarium-like setting; it is anticipated that the eel exhibit will be similar to these types of programs.

A quick view of Sea World San Diego's website reveals the Electric Eel's "high" thrill level rating and the requirement that riders will have to be at least 4 feet tall to get on the ride. The Electric Eel is one of three roller coasters at the park, but unlike the Journey to Atlantis and the Manta, it promises inversions along with greater heights. The Electric Eel will be operational in nine months and visitors can expect to ride it in 2018.

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