Making a Splash

Making a Splash


Journey to Atlantis – the landmark water coaster ride themed as the Lost City of Atlantis – helps draw millions of visitors to SeaWorld in San Diego each year. It incorporates the high-speed thrills of a roller coaster with the refreshing splashes of a flume ride. A vertical lift (the first ever in the United States) raises boats 70 feet inside an enclosed tower before sending the boat plunging back to a lake below. The ride has several special effects, including sound, lighting, jumping water jets, water bursts, mist, shaking columns, two artificial lakes, and a 130,000-gallon Commerson’s Dolphin pool, all designed to create the illusion that the Lost City of Atlantis has risen.


Sundt’s own skilled concrete crews took a number of steps to help SeaWorld implement its vision for the iconic attraction, including the use of customized concrete formwork. The project’s one-of-a-kind, waterproof concrete mix design (for the lake ride channels and the dolphin tanks) eliminated the need for a waterproofing membrane to retain the water and protect the reinforcing below. SeaWorld’s operators later said it was the best-quality concrete work they had ever seen. We also installed the roller coaster, which was designed and built in Germany before being disassembled and shipped to San Diego. The tricky installation required setting several huge anchor bolts into the foundations with perfect precision.


SeaWorld invested millions of dollars in advertising for Journey to Atlantis’s grand opening in May 2004. We met the deadline and the attraction opened to great fanfare – right on time.


SeaWorld Adventure Parks


SeaWorld Journey to Atlantis