On yesterday's broadcast of The Travel Show (wor710.com, noon to 2, Eastern Time), the nation's foremost expert on U.S. theme parks--Robert Niles--was asked to name the most significant new theme park attractions for the coming summer--new facilities so important as to warrant a trip there. He named three:
First, a remarkable new penguin pavilion in Orlando's Sea World--a structure surprisingly large and meant to recreate inside the experience of traveling in Antarctica--and seeing penguins. You have a complete ride experience, surrounded by the Antarctican landscape and brushing up close to the live penguins living in that environment. It's a thrill, says Sea World, surpassing those in the hated nearby theme parks of Disney and Universal.
Second, the new giant roller-coaster at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. It's made of wood (the latest "retro" trend in roller-coasters) and is able to provide new sensations, carrying you upside down for long distances, and yet is nostalgic in appearance and sensation; the design is a creative one and the ride is enjoying much popularity.
And third, the largest looping roller-coaster in the world at Six Flags north of Los Angeles.
An overall trend at the theme parks is the use of the social media to announce selective discounts on admission prices, says Bob Niles. Sea World, for instance, posts periodic discounts on its Twitter feed, available only to persons who consult that feed. And, surprisingly enough, Disney is occasionally posting discounts on its own Twitter service, but limited to offers in which hotel accommodations--not admission tickets--are the main feature. For more on this topic, consult themeparkinsider.com.