Aquatica, SeaWorld Orlando’s water park, turned five years old on March 1. Even though the weather was nippy, with the thermometer struggling to stay above 60 degrees, there was a big crowd on hand to celebrate this notable milestone.

Aquatica is just across the street from SeaWorld, but you feel like you’ve stepped into another world when you enter the richly landscaped park and pick up on its distinct South Pacific feel. You’ll find interwoven themes from Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea among its rides and attractions.

So how exactly does a water park celebrate its birthday? With birthday cake, of course, and the confection was appropriately decorated with a water slide on top. Since that wasn’t quite enough to feed the whole hungry crowd, there were extra sheet cakes, too.

Birthdays also call for gifts, but Aquatica was the giver rather than the receiver. The park’s vice-president, Bryan Nadeau, drew raffle tickets for a variety of prizes, from gift bags to portable chairs to VIP packages of park tickets, dining, and a private cabana. He had a little help with the drawing from a kookaburra animal ambassador.

Other animals were on hand, too. Since Aquatica is SeaWorld’s water park, it’s not too surprising that animals play a big role at this attraction. They’re fun, but they also provide a chance for education. Like all parks in the SeaWorld family, Aquatica places a big emphasis on conservation.

 

Parties also have games and dancing, and Aquatica had plenty of both. Kids, and even some adventurous adults, showed off their hula hoop talents.

The DJ kept everyone dancing with throwbacks like YMCA and the Electric Slide, current dance crazes, and of course the Chicken Dance.

While you might not luck into a special event at Aquatica when you visit Orlando, the park is well worth visiting for a day of family fun. Its appeal spans all generations, with thrilling slides for young adventurers, water play areas for toddlers, wave pools and a lazy river for the whole family, and a seemingly endless supply of lounge chairs for parental relaxation.

Aquatica makes a great add-on to your Orlando trip. Although summer is the traditional water park time, it’s open all year and the water is heated. If you’re hearty, come in the winter and ride to your heart’s content because there won’t be any lines.