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Lots of new attractions popping up in theme parks this summer

Here are some of the other new features to be found this summer at Florida theme parks and water parks:

SeaWorld Orlando:

After a three-month hiatus for pool upgrades, the Shamu show "One Ocean" returned to SeaWorld in Orlando in April, and the park has said the iconic killer whale will have a new nighttime show called "Shamu's Celebration: Light Up the Night." It will debut June 21, the first night of the park's Summer Nights promotion. The nighttime party runs through Aug. 10 and features nighttime shows by Shamu, plus Clyde and Seamore's sea lions show. Admission to the park is $95, but a new Weekday Ticket deal saves you $30 if you order in advance at SeaWorldOrlando.com and go on a weekday. The park is at 7007 SeaWorld Drive, Orlando; (888) 800-5447.

Kelly Stefani

Aquatica, SeaWorld's water park, has opened a new high-speed thrill slide called Ihu's Breakaway Falls in which the floor disappears and riders drop 20-24 feet per second. It is the only high-speed water thrill slide in the world with three breakaway boxes that face one another so that riders can share the full experience, a park news release says. Riders climb steps for eight stories to get to the beginning, a futuristic-looking tube in which they stand with arms crossed. Single-day tickets start at $28 if you order online in advance, $46 otherwise.

Annual passes start at $96 at AquaticaOrlando.com.

Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Legoland

Legoland has realized that parents of toddlers would appreciate a place to bring their wee ones, especially in the heat of summer. The Winter Haven park is poised to open new attractions for kids ages 2 to 5 in Duplo Valley, including a renovated, air-conditioned Duplo Barn indoor play area and a soft deck with water spouts for splashing. The main event is a new train that youngsters can ride solo or with their parents through rural-themed scenery. There's also a space to "plow" cornfields aboard teeny tractors and hunt for missing farm animals. Construction is finished, but the attractions don't open until Friday, too late for Weekend to take everything for a test ride. We'll be trying them out in the near future, so stay tuned. Admission is $77 for ages 3-12 and $84 for adults, but you can save at least $15 by buying tickets in advance online at Florida.Legoland.com. The park is at One Legoland Way, Winter Haven; (877) 350-5346.

Josh Gillin

Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has added several hands-on, science-based "Activity Adventures" as part of the experience at the Central Florida destination, but it will cost extra. The activities, costing $25-$35, range from 90 minutes to two hours to launch a water rocket, create and then land a rover on "Mars" or race a jet car. The activities are offered at different times each day at the Visitor Complex, which recently extended its daily operating hours. The space center is less than an hour east of Orlando, with exhibits of the massive space shuttle Atlantis displayed as if it's floating in space, pieces of the International Space Station, Hubble telescope photos, a comprehensive bus tour to the Saturn V Complex, the Astronaut Hall of Fame and a range of hand-on exhibits for kids. The Visitor Complex's new extended hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (it previously closed at 5 p.m.) through Sept. 1. Admission is $52.95 for adults, $40 for children ages 3-11 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. See KennedySpaceCenter.com or call toll-free 1-877-250-9914 for information.

Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Wet 'n Wild

This summer, the Orlando water park will open the Aqua Drag Racer, where riders can race one another down a water "track" that promises to be "the tallest and fastest water-based attraction of its kind in Florida," sending riders down six stories of enclosed, twisting tunnels as they accelerate into four parallel racing lanes to the finish line. The water park, which is owned by Universal Orlando, has more than 15 themed rides and attractions. Admission starts at $36 online, but there are various combo packages at UniversalOrlando.com. The park has said an opening date will be announced Tuesday.

Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Lots of new attractions popping up in theme parks this summer 05/21/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 2:02pm]
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