SeaWorld Entertainment has unveiled a raft of new attractions, shows and events for 2017.

The company says it will be investing around $175 million in capital spending on ‘one of the largest new attraction years’ in its history.

The list includes new ride additions at three of its theme parks; a virtual reality experience in Orlando and a new orca presentation in San Diego.

“We are extremely excited with the scope and depth of the new attractions and events coming to our SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks in 2017, ” reports Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.

“We want our guests to share experiences that matter, and our 2017 additions truly reinforce that mission.”

SeaWorld to Spend $175m on Major New Attractions for 2017

A Taste of What’s to Come:

Visitors to SeaWorld® San Antonio will be able to board a brand new coaster – Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster™. Inspired by the Emmy® award-winning programme, Sea Rescue, guests will experience what it feels like to be a vet racing to rescue animals in distress. Reaching heights of up to 61 feet, most of the coaster’s 2, 600-foot track is directly above water. Queuing guests will learn about real-life rescue missions and will be encouraged to become involved in SeaWorld’s efforts to protect animals.

Two major new attractions planned for SeaWorld® San Diego are Ocean Explorer and Orca Encounter. Ocean Explorer is a 3-acre zone featuring multiple aquariums, rides and interactive technologies. The key attraction here will be the Submarine Quest experience where visitors will board mini submarines and learn about the ocean’s fragile ecosystem.

Orca Encounter will centre on orca behaviour in the wild: what they eat, how they hunt, how they navigate and how they communicate. It will also encompass broader themes such as research, rescue, conservation, habitats and distribution, husbandry and care, and social structures.

SeaWorld to Spend $175m on Major New Attractions for 2017

SeaWorld and VR

An evening spectacular, Electric Ocean, is a new event for SeaWorld® Orlando and San Diego featuring bioluminescent lighting, music and pathway entertainment.

SeaWorld® Orlando will also unveil its first digitally enhanced ride experience, the Kraken® Virtual Reality (VR) Roller Coaster. The only VR coaster experience in Florida, riders will embark on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past, including the mighty Kraken.

A new wooden roller coaster, InvadR, is being planned for Busch Gardens Williamsburg and, according to SeaWorld, fans will be invited to help decide the ride elements including the chance to vote on attraction details and theming.

SeaWorld operates 12 destination and regional theme parks across the United States, many of which showcase the company’s zoological collection of over 800 species.

Earlier this year, the company announced that it would cease its controversial captive orca breeding programme.