Plans to a build theme park on land next to Zoo Miami are still brewing, but the zoo itself hopes to get a jump-start on bringing a theme park-style ride to the area. As part of its currently under construction Mission Everglades expansion area, Zoo Miami plans to build a water ride. Details of the attraction were just unveiled this week.
The emphasis of the ride won't be on thrills but more on the exhibits. Think less the Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom and more along the lines of the Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom, except, obviously, with actual animals. This is a zoo after all.
Guests will pile into a fiberglass boat designed to look like an airboat. They'll take a trip down a winding artificial river and get close-up views of many of the animals that call the Everglades home, according to Local 10.
WhiteWater attractions is building the ride and unveiled the first boat at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions expo up in Orlando last month.
In an interview with the amusement park-happy YouTube channel In the Loop, the ride' lead designer does promise that "there will be some special effects as you go around the ride. Maybe a bump or a boil in the water. It's not going to be completely still and boring." Though, the biggest thrills will come by way of getting to see alligators up close.
Early renderings released in 2013 show visitors what kind of experience they can expect on the actual river.
Mission Everglades is a redesign and expansion of certain parts of the zoo grounds to "help visitors understand Zoo Miami’s collective mission of trying to save the Florida Everglades." The expansion is set to open in late 2016, and it will include a new entrance area to the zoo.
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The ride itself will debut in 2017.
Interestingly, Zoo Miami was closed much of the week due to so much excessive flooding that one could actually use a boat to get around certain areas. The zoo has since reopened.
The theme ride won't be the only innovative way Zoo Miami visitors will get to interact with animals. A glass tube slide for children will run through the zoo's otter enclosure, which obviously does not at all make us wish we were still five years old.
[H/T: Local 10]