SeaWorld Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

By James | Last updated August 23, 2023

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Initially announced in November 2011, SeaWorld’s newest and biggest expansion in its history, “Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin” will open on May 24, 2013 just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Empire of the Penguin will take guests to Antarctica at the bottom of the world allowing them to get closer than ever before to the penguins.

It will combine a new dining location, a dark ride, underwater viewing opportunities and a penguin exhibit plus of course the requisite gift shop offering merchandise including cute plush toy penguins.

It is being heralded at the first of its kind in the world with state-of-the-art technology creating a different immersive experience with each ride. Replica glaciers and icebergs will bring Antarctica to life as you are guided on your adventure by a young Gentoo penguin.

You will be able to see and walk amongst the penguin colonies including Gentoo, Rockhopper, King and Adélie penguins.

Like several of SeaWorld’s newest attractions including Manta and TurtleTrek, Empire of the Penguin will be a family-friendly attraction with plenty of opportunities to see the animals and learn about how they live and survive in such a harsh environment. It will use the latest technology to provide SeaWorld’s signature “edutainment”.

Over the last few months, SeaWorld has gradually revealed details about the ride with open topped eight person ride vehicles that will allow guests a choice of ride intensity and the teaser videos show that the vehicles will be free roaming rather than tied to a single track with the open top cabin able to rotate and tilt. This would make it a first for Orlando.

In the original Penguin Encounter exhibit, guests could observe the penguins from a distance on a moving platform protected from the sub-zero temperatures by a glass screen.

The new Empire of the Penguin attraction will bring the guests in to much closer contact with the penguins.

SeaWorld is promoting Empire of the Penguin as the coldest theme park attraction in the world and are recommending a jacket, even in the summer season as penguins like near freezing temperatures in the low 30s fahrenheit!