Saturday, August 18, 2018
Things To Do

SeaWorld to revamp Kraken coaster with virtual reality headsets

As if plunging 150 feet down a floorless coaster isn't scary enough, SeaWorld has announced that its Kraken roller coaster will be retrofitted next year with virtual reality headsets to make riders feel like they are undersea being chased by mythical monsters.

It was part of an announcement from SeaWorld Entertainment about upgrades at parks across the country as the company continues to struggle with attendance and backlash from the documentary Blackfish.

Kraken will be Florida's first digitally-enhanced ride experience by the summer of 2017, the Orlando theme park announced.

"Guests will embark on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past, including the mighty Kraken," a SeaWorld news release said.

Riders on Kraken will have the option of putting on the virtual reality headsets, which will be attached to the roller coaster and cover eyes and ears. Riders will hear music composed for the ride and see specially prepared images of the fictional Kraken and other animals.

Virtual reality has been popping up in theme parks across the country recently. Universal Orlando added a virtual reality attraction for Halloween Horror Nights as a separate ticket called "The Repository."

SeaWorld Entertainment said the company is spending $175 million on new attractions in the next year as it battles to stem a decline in attendance brought about by a backlash from killer whale shows. The company has seen a more than 33 percent drop in stock prices and last week announced it would stop paying dividends.

Other changes coming to the Orlando theme park are:

• SeaWorld's Dolphin Nursery will become more interactive in summer 2017, giving visitors up-close views of mother and baby dolphins at multiple levels. New digital displays will allow educators to share information on dolphin behavior, biology and conservation with guests through interactive video.

• Seven Seas Festival: The park's music and food events will expand to 14 weekends in 2017, featuring new culinary offerings inspired by street foods from Asia, the Caribbean, South America and the Mediterranean.

• Flamecraft Bar: This new bar will feature 16 seasonal craft brews and a new menu.

• Electric Ocean: A new, end-of-the-day event will offer guests a different kind of fun after dark. As the sun goes down, the ocean will come to life with bioluminescent lighting, music and pathway entertainment.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.

Comments
Chamberlain and Sickles bands perform as ‘Chickles’

Chamberlain and Sickles bands perform as ‘Chickles’

Chamberlain High School band director Amanda Griffis directs her band before halftime at Sickles High School in Tampa on Friday, August 17, 2018. Sickles band director Keith Griffis directs his band before halftime at Sickles High School in Tampa on ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sports on TV/radio for Saturday, August 18

TODAYAutosIndyCar: ABC Supply 5 00 qualifying3 p.m.NBCSNMotoCross: Budds Creek National5 p.m.NBCSNMonster Energy Cup: Bass Pro Shops Night Race6:30 p.m.NBCSN; 102.5-FMBaseballBlue Jays at Yankees1 p.m.MLBOrioles at Indians4 p.m.FS1Rays at Red Sox7 p....
Published: 08/17/18
Scenes from Florida Holocaust Museum’s latest exhibit, featuring legendary rock promoter Bill Graham

Scenes from Florida Holocaust Museum’s latest exhibit, featuring legendary rock promoter Bill Graham

The apples in the barrel aren’t real. Even if they were, you couldn’t just grab one and munch it, like Jimi and Jerry and Janis likely did decades ago.But rest assured, it is the very same wood and tin barrel, the one that sat by the door...
Published: 08/17/18
Transportation and sprawl Hillsborough’s biggest woes, say commission candidates

Transportation and sprawl Hillsborough’s biggest woes, say commission candidates

TAMPA -Planners predict some 600,000 people will move to Hillsborough County by 2045, further straining the county's overburdened road network.So it's no surprise that candidates running for the Hillsborough County Commission identified reducing cong...
Published: 08/17/18
Florida Holocaust Museum takes rock ‘n’ roll detour with exhibit on legendary promoter Bill Graham

Florida Holocaust Museum takes rock ‘n’ roll detour with exhibit on legendary promoter Bill Graham

ST. PETERSBURGThe apples in the barrel aren’t real. Even if they were, you couldn’t just grab one and munch it, like Jimi and Jerry and Janis likely did decades ago.But rest assured, it is the very same wood and tin barrel that sat by the door of San...
Published: 08/17/18
SoundBytes: Tanya Tucker, Joe Diffie, Young Nudy and more

SoundBytes: Tanya Tucker, Joe Diffie, Young Nudy and more

— The always-intriguing concert calendar at Stockyard Live in Holiday has added a couple of more country veterans to the mix: Tanya Tucker on Nov. 9 ($25 and up, click here) and Joe Diffie on Nov. 10 ($18 and up, click here).— Up-and-comi...
Published: 08/17/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Saturday, Aug. 18

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Saturday, Aug. 18

Our editors' picks for things to do on Aug. 18.
Published: 08/18/18
I studied Taylor Swift lyrics for three years. Then she invited me to meet her.

I studied Taylor Swift lyrics for three years. Then she invited me to meet her.

TAMPA — The Florida sun burned through my black pleather top as I hurried around Raymond James Stadium. I tried to grip a set of metal plates used at the Tampa Bay Times printing press, but my hands kept slipping. The sweat had little to do wit...
Published: 08/17/18
How ‘Disenchantment’ is completely different from what Matt Groening has done before

How ‘Disenchantment’ is completely different from what Matt Groening has done before

First he came for the family sitcom. Then he came for the science-fiction adventure. Now he’s back for the medieval fantasy, and he’s grabbing the Disney princess movie while he’s at it.Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, has brought...
Published: 08/17/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Sunday, Aug. 19

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Sunday, Aug. 19

Summer Classic Movie Series: The series continues with 1974’s Blazing Saddles (R). 3 p.m., Tampa Theatre, 711 Franklin St., Tampa. $10, $7 members. (813) 274-8982; tampatheatre.org.Alonzo Bodden: The winner of Season 3 of Last Comic Standing is a reg...
Published: 08/17/18