This Could be the Best Roller Coaster in Florida ⁠— And Beyond

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

first published by Arthur Levine Special to USA TODAY, Sept. 12, 2019

SeaWorld rides: Amusement parks get new attractions nearly every year

SeaWorld Entertainment is aiming to add at least one new attraction to all 12 of its parks nearly every year.

Florida's newest, most exciting roller coasters of 2020 are coming from an unlikely suspect, as theme parks go: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

On Thursday, the parent company of the park once known for its trained dolphins announced two major new roller coasters for next year: Busch Gardens Tampa's 10th, Iron Gwazi; and SeaWorld Orlando's sixth, Ice Breaker.

Along with recent and upcoming additions at other parks in the chain, the new coasters would seem to indicate an evolution in the company’s strategy. It's moving away from live animal attractions toward thrilling rides.

“When we build roller coasters, we do them a little differently," says Jonathan Smith, director of rides and engineering for SeaWorld Parks. "We try to integrate them with the causes that we care about, such as animal care, conservation and education."

For instance, Ice Breaker will be near SeaWorld’s Wild Arctic exhibit and share a similar theme, promoting conservation issues related to the Arctic and the ocean. The more menacing Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens will draw its inspiration from a creature endemic to Florida: the crocodile.