Construction on Emperor, SeaWorld San Diego’s new dive coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard was topped off December 13. A giant crane placed the ride’s highest section of track at 153 feet. The installation was commemorated by the “topping out” tradition of affixing an American flag to the track. Construction on Emperor is on schedule and when it opens in time for summer 2020, will join Tidal Twister, Electric Eel, and Manta as the park’s newest coaster.
Named for the world’s largest penguin, Emperor will be tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster in California, as well as the only floorless dive coaster in the state. Climbing to 153 feet (47 m) with feet dangling in the air, riders on Emperor will be suspended on a 45º angle at the crown of the ride before plunging down a 143-foot (44 m) facedown vertical drop accelerating to more than 60 mph (97 kph).
This new attraction will also highlight an important new animal-conservation partnership between SeaWorld and Penguins International, an organisation dedicated to penguin conservation and research, which will focus on penguin awareness and the conservation needs of this special aquatic bird. The partnership will include collaboration on various educational elements that will be integrated into the attraction experience to educate guests on everything from penguin behaviour and the effects of climate change on their habitats, to the work that SeaWorld and Penguins International are doing to help the species. The partnership with SeaWorld will help advance Penguin International’s conservation programs at several high-priority sites and their public awareness campaigns. A portion of the proceeds from sales of penguin merchandise at the Emperor retail store will also be donated to Penguins International to support their important conservation, education and research efforts.