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TOURISM–Animal Park Plans New Condor Exhibit for Summer



Knott’s Soak City To Reopen With Lower Prices

Has tourism ever been called a business for vultures? It could be this summer.

The Wild Animal Park’s new lure for this season’s visitors is a $3.48 million attraction featuring an endangered member of the vulture family: the California condor.

Condor Ridge is a 2-acre site that will host five condors and other animals suited to the environment, including Aplomado falcons, Western burrowing owls, desert bighorn sheep, Northern porcupines and desert tortoises.

The Wild Animal Park has been trying to save the condor from extinction for several years. Condor Ridge marks the first time that the animal has ever been on exhibit.

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According to Robert Baracz, associate director of advertising and promotions, this year’s campaign is taking a particularly cohesive direction in its rock-and-stone style approach.

The campaign, designed by Mission Valley ad agency Phillips-Ramsey, will hit television, radio and billboard markets in Southern California in late May, Baracz said. He would not divulge how much the Zoo is spending on the campaign.

There will also be blitz marketing, with public relations in the Zoo’s “designated marketing areas” of Los Angeles and Arizona, Baracz said.

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Summer Stock: When Knott’s Soak City USA, the former White Water Canyon waterpark, opens for its first season late next month admission prices will be $2 less than under its previous ownership.

At the gate, the cost will be $19.95 for adults and $13.95 for children ages 3 to 11. After 4 p.m., the park will charge $11.95 for all ages.

The park will also expand its group sales programs and have several “high-profile, promotional partnerships,” said a release from the company.

One partnership with supermarket chain Food 4 Less will offer $14.95 adult tickets and $11.95 for children, the park said.

Knott’s owner, Ohio-based Cedar Fair, LP, bought the water park last fall.

Visitors: Among the larger conventions and trade shows coming to the San Diego Convention Center this month is Digestive Disease Week, which takes place from May 20-24. The event has an estimated attendance of 13,500 and is expected to generate $24,357,600. Another large event is the U.S. General Services Administration on May 10-11, with an estimated attendance of 5,000. It is expected to generate $4,059,000. From May 30 to June 2, the Association of International Educators will convene here, with 4,500 in attendance. The event is expected to generate $8,525,160.

Convention Center Corp. spokesman Fred Sainz said Harbor Drive will partially reopen to traffic May 7. It’s been closed for 11 months because of expansion-related construction.

Also, the newly glass-walled, temperature controlled, trade show inventory-available Sails Pavilion will be officially debuted at a luncheon May 17th, Sainz said.

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Checking In: The Doubletree Golf Resort in Rancho Pe & #324;asquitos completed its $5.2 million renovation last month, including the hotel’s restaurant and lounge. It was rechristened Terraces Caf & #233; & Grille. The San Diego Symphony was selected as the recipient of Minneapolis-based Radisson Hotels & Resorts’ fourth quarter 1999 “Partnering With the Arts” grant, which is worth $10,000. Del Mar Thoroughbred Club recently announced Tickets.com will handle all of its ticketing operations, starting with the 2000 season.

Tourism Feed: The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau recently launched four television commercials on several national cable networks. It’s part of the bureau’s new multimedia campaign, “There is no substitute for San Diego.” The campaign is aimed at affluent adults (household income of $75,000-plus) who are between the ages of 25 and 54.

The deadline for the next tourism & hospitality column is April 27. Rodrigues can be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 107, or via E-mail at (trodrigues@sdbj.com).

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