A few months ago, Sea World unveiled that it was available on Google Maps Street View. What happened in the coming weeks was epic contests from @Shamu on Twitter. Great stuff, and a lot of fun. On top of that you’re able to see the park inch by inch and in crystal clear definition. Would be a great trip planning tool. At any rate, all Busch Gardens parks are now also viewable in Street View. Here’s the official word.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Gets the
Google Mapstm Street View Treatment
Tampa, Fla. (January 20, 2010) – Exploring the
Serengeti Plain or checking out the world’s best
roller coasters from the comfort of your home
computer just became a reality. Busch Gardens
Tampa Bay and its waterpark, Adventure Island, are
now featured in Street View on Google Maps.
Virtual visits are now available to all 10 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment locations, including the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego; Discovery Cove, a swim-with-dolphins resort, and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark, both in Orlando; Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, both in Williamsburg; and Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA.
In Tampa, nearly every inch of Busch Gardens was mapped using one of Google’s “Trikes.” A state-of-the-art camera automatically gathered photographs from the back of a modified bicycle. Google software then blended the images, creating the famous, interactive and completely moveable 360-degree scenes Street View is known for.
And the best way to make sure every show, splash, adventure and world-class thrill ride was mapped? The 250-pound Trike, complete with camera and GPS mounted on a mast, was pedal-powered by a Google staff member. Consider it the ultimate mix of technology, both high and low.
“We’re thrilled to be among the first theme parks in the world to get the Google Street View treatment,” said Joe Couceiro, chief marketing officer for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “Now, no matter where you are, you can enjoy an online experience of our parks including seeing their scope and diversity while planning your vacation. The only thing missing is feeding a giraffe or taking on the best roller coasters in the world.”
Google Maps began including Street View images in 2007. More than a dozen countries and over one hundred cities now can be seen online.
“I began thinking about building a bicycle-based Street View system after realizing how many great places around the world aren’t accessible by car, but still would be perfect to include in Street View on Google Maps. The immensely popular SeaWorld parks are perfect examples of fun and interesting locations that our Trike can add to Google Maps, benefiting families and tourists around the world,” said Dan Ratner, Senior Mechanical Engineer on the Street View team & creator of the Trike.
Street View visits to the parks are accessible via Web and mobile applications. Viewers can start by going to maps.google.com and searching for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Then drag the orange “Pegman” icon (found at the top left of the map) for a “walking tour.” Among the highlights – also seen in “satellite mode” – Busch Gardens visitors can look for America’s first dive coaster, SheiKra.