Explore San Antonio

Dive Into SeaWorld

Summer in San Antonio can mean only one thing: Shamu time. Whether that translates to loading up the family van to bring the whole brood, or heading out with some friends in tow, a visit to SeaWorld San Antonio is a sure-fire way to enjoy some good old-fashioned fun in the sun. This year, however, SeaWorld has a surprise in store. On May 19, the park unveiled a brand-new themed water park called Aquatica. Billed as “The South Seas meets South Texas,” this dazzling new attraction combines exhilarating thrill rides and H2O-driven excursions with the vibrant color and rich history of New Zealand culture. Visitors to the park can enjoy up-close animal encounters with exotic birds, tropical fish and majestic stingrays, or simply bask in the Maori-inspired décor, complete with carved totems and lush vegetation.

If a little adventure is in store, take a deep breath and try out the enormous wave pools, high-speed racing slides and a one-of-a-kind, zero-gravity wall. There’s even a heart-pounding, family raft ride that whisks passengers through the park and into an underground reef. When the pulse slows and it is time for a break, Aquatica also offers a serene mix of converging rivers, terraced pools, and a 42,000-square-foot sandy beach. For the tiny tykes, the park has also polished up the Sesame Street Bay of Play, where younger mariners and their families can enjoy attractions like Elmo’s Dolphin Dive or Big Bird’s Spinning Reef. Add private-cabana opportunities, inviting dining options such as the Mango Market and Waterstone Grill, and a plethora of shopping temptations to the mix, and visitors have the perfect recipe to cool down in the sweltering Texas heat.

10500 SeaWorld Dr., 800-700-7786, www.seaworldparks.com

—Richard Dennis