It seems like a tradition for my family to celebrate Father’s Day at SeaWorld, and each time, we create treasured memories that I know will last forever. It’s also a great place to learn life lessons and to connect with the wonder of the sea creatures we so dearly love.
But before we explored the park, we were assigned a special mission through Gate #2; to preview SeaWorld San Antonio’s newest attraction, Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster. Now open to the public, the Wave Breaker combines the thrill of a roller coaster with the adrenaline rush of a marine animal rescue mission, and it’s the first of its kind in North America.
One of the reasons we love SeaWorld is because of their rescue efforts, which benefit ill, injured and orphaned animals. Their goal for every animal they rescue is to successfully rehabilitate and return it to the wild. The small percentage of animals with conditions that would prevent them from surviving in the wild are given lifelong care with SeaWorld or at another accredited facility.
I had the opportunity to interview Mike Denninger, VP of Theme Park Development for SeaWorld Parks, who told us that Wave Breaker: Rescue Coaster represented a significant investment, and the end goal was to create a meaningful and thrilling experience, with an inspiring message. When you launch into the Rescue Coaster, you marry the thrilling experience and the adrenaline rush of being in the rescue team, as you save a sea lion, dolphin, or a sea turtle. You are part of the story!
Of course, I am not a certified rush seeker or a roller coaster lover. I had a quite unpleasant first coaster experience when I was a young girl and I vowed to never be on them again. When I broke that promise in 1999, I deeply regretted it. But being part of the rescue team was a worthwhile cause. Plus, you only have to be 48″ tall to ride the Wave Breaker and it’s a less intimidating experience for both kids and people like me – petite and scared.
The world-renowned and highly-skilled experts in the SeaWorld Rescue Team have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 30,000 animals over the company’s 50 year history. It felt fitting to join the team by launching myself on the Wave Breaker, and then I was blessed to chat with two of them and learn so much about their labor of love.
I was very inspired by them and the love and the sense of family and the deep commitment they show for the animal rescue mission.
I have always felt that motherhood is like a thrilling and scary rescue mission and Jodi and Kim confirmed it for me. Think about it:
- There’s no such thing as a small rescue
- We’re on call 24/7
- We need patience ALL THE TIME
- We’re inventive in our approach
- Our sense of duty is more important than our own comfort and safety
Only rescuers understand what it’s like to be on someone else’s schedule, lose sleep, exhaust your energy, and put your own life on hold, and yet feel immense joy.
We do need balance in our mom rescue mission.As they grow, and as much as we don’t want it to end, our kids must learn to rescue themselves and take care of their responsibilities. I always say my job as a mom is to work myself out of a job.
There’s a “No Rescue Parenting” style that consists in letting your child live with the consequences of their own actions and allowing them to them solve their own problems when you know they are capable of doing so. And then there are the over-rescuers, who rescue the child from enjoying a life without fear.
We don’t have 30,000 kids that need us, but we also don’t need to say good-bye that many times. As Elisha and Elyssa grow, and when I see them become young ladies who will soon be driving, dating, and going off to college, I just miss the rescue days so much! It’s so nostalgic when our rescue days come to an end.
Besides my love for rescue missions, I decided to ride the Wave Breaker because I want to live, love, and parent with the least fear possible. Fear is one of the positive mom’s worst enemies. Fear sabotages every effort we make to raise happy, confident and emotionally healthy kids. Fear prevents us from being present, from giving our kids the freedoms they deserve, and from allowing them to be who they are.
My full reverse POV footage will show you just how scared I was and what a brave moment this was for me. I know the braver I am, the more I inspire my daughters, too.
I loved boarding the Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster in a queue-house themed with stories and to be assigned a symbolic mission before launch. After the mission briefing, we gripped the handlebars, seated in position, on the jet-ski styled car and prepared to race into action covering 2,600-feet of track – the majority of which is located directly over water, creating the sensation that riders are racing across the park’s lake (without ever getting wet). Each rescue mission will take a train of 16 riders through a more than three minute ride, reaching speeds of up to 44 mph and heights up to 61-feet. Yes, I’d do it again. Yes, I would have never thought I’d say that.
I’m really grateful for the experience we lived at SeaWorld. Some of the highlights of our visit were Elisha and Elyssa riding the Great White, the Steel Eel, and the Journey to Atlantis; and Eliana enjoying some fun rides and hanging out with the Sesame Street gang, and the whole family eating lots of churros.
It’s always so pleasant staying at the Courtyard Marriot SeaWorld San Antonio/Westover Hills. The pool is so refreshing and they treat us like family there! Let’s meet up in San Antonio!
Are you ready for a rescue mission? Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster opened to the public on June 16, 2017. Share your thrills and terrors with us in the comment below. Follow SeaWorld on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and visit SeaWorldSanAntonio.com for more and follow all updates with #WaveBreakerTX.