California Coastal Commission staff has recommended conditional approval of plans for a new “Manta Ray” roller coaster ride at SeaWorld San Diego, apparently modeled on a similar ride at the company’s Orlando theme park.
The coastal commission will discuss the proposal, which includes a 30-foot-high roller coaster and an aquarium viewing tank, at its meeting scheduled for Feb. 11 in Chula Vista.
SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz said a formal announcement on the attraction will be made next week.
A commission staff report recommends that the project at the Mission Bay theme park, at 500 SeaWorld Drive, receive the required coastal development permit, once SeaWorld submits final plans approved by the City of San Diego, conforming to preliminary plans submitted to the coastal agency in early December, titled “2012 Attraction.”
The report calls for portions of the approved Manta Ray ride visible from outside SeaWorld to be finished in earth tone colors with no solid white or bright colors, to minimize visibility. Any new landscaping must be drought tolerant and native or noninvasive, and park operators after five years will submit a landscape monitoring report to the coastal agency.
The project submitted to the coastal commission also includes a 9,900-square-foot loading/unloading station; a 2,620-square-foot restroom building; modifications to an existing gift shop building; and construction of an aquarium viewing tank and ray pool.
— Lou Hirsh