ORLANDO (CBSMiami.com/AP) – Penguins and turtles play a big part of SeaWorld Orlando’s expansion plans which were announced Tuesday.

The expansion, which should be completed by Spring 2013, is the largest in the theme park’s history.

Park president Terry Prather said the plan calls for a new sea turtle habitat featuring a domed 360-degree, 3-D movie experience.

At SeaWorld’s companion park, Discovery Cove, a new “Freshwater Oasis” will allow guests to get face-to-face with Asian otters and marmosets under a rainforest canopy of trees.

Those two attractions are scheduled to open sometime next spring.

The following year, SeaWorld will open new penguin habitat around an immersive Antarctica theme. There will also be a new an interactive indoor ride through Antarctica from a penguin’s point of view.

“You’ll be surrounded by the sights, sounds and awesome encounters found in this frozen place, embarking on a one-of-a-kind ride and an incredible family adventure,” according to a release from the park. “You’ll experience the mystery and wonder of life on the ice through the eyes of a penguin, sensing the beauty and drama of their sometimes-dangerous habitat. Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin combines closer-than-ever animal connections with state-of-the-art interactive ride technologies for adventures that are different each time.”

Prather said the penguin area is the park’s largest single expansion project since its opening in 1973.

The new attractions are unique to the Orlando park and are not planned for SeaWorld parks in San Antonio and San Diego.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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