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Greco B.J.,University of California at Davis | Greco B.J.,Aware Inc | Meehan C.L.,Aware Inc | Miller L.J.,Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

The management of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants in zoos involves a range of practices including feeding, exercise, training, and environmental enrichment. These practices are necessary to meet the elephants' nutritional, healthcare, and husbandry needs. However, these practices are not standardized, resulting in likely variation among zoos as well as differences in the way they are applied to individual elephants within a zoo. To characterize elephant management in North America, we collected survey data from zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, developed 26 variables, generated population level descriptive statistics, and analyzed them to identify differences attributable to sex and species. Sixty-seven zoos submitted surveys describing the management of 224 elephants and the training experiences of 227 elephants. Asian elephants spent more time managed (defined as interacting directly with staff) than Africans (mean time managed: Asians = 56.9%; Africans = 48.6%; p<0.001), and managed time increased by 20.2% for every year of age for both species. Enrichment, feeding, and exercise programs were evaluated using diversity indices, with mean scores across zoos in the midrange for these measures. There were an average of 7.2 feedings every 24-hour period, with only 1.2 occurring during the nighttime. Feeding schedules were predictable at 47.5% of zoos. We also calculated the relative use of rewarding and aversive techniques employed during training interactions. The population median was seven on a scale from one (representing only aversive stimuli) to nine (representing only rewarding stimuli). The results of our study provide essential information for understanding management variation that could be relevant to welfare. Furthermore, the variables we created have been used in subsequent elephant welfare analyses. © 2016 Greco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


News Article | December 13, 2016
Site: en.prnasia.com

Miral partners with SeaWorld to create a next-generation marine life theme park and the UAE's first Marine Life Research, Rescue, Rehabilitation and Return Center by 2022 Miral and SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:SEAS) ("SeaWorld") today announced their partnership to develop SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, a first-of-its-kind marine life themed park on Yas Island. This next generation SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will also include the United Arab Emirates' ("UAE") first dedicated marine life research, rescue, rehabilitation and return center with world-class facilities and resources for the care and conservation of local marine life. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will be the first new SeaWorld without orcas, and will integrate up-close animal experiences, mega attractions and a world-class aquarium, bringing the latest technology in visitor engagement. To view the Multimedia News Release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/players/uk/8002251-miral-announces-seaworld-yas-island The partnership brings together Miral's expertise in developing Yas Island's portfolio of destinations with SeaWorld's 50-plus years of theme park, veterinary medicine, marine science and zoological practice and experience. "Abu Dhabi is becoming a first choice destination for regional and global travelers by combining culture, heritage and unique leisure experiences into one compelling proposition. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi further strengthens Yas Island's position as a global tourism destination," said His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Miral. "This announcement reflects the emirate's ambition to create a sustainable, diversified economy, with tourism as one of its core pillars. Abu Dhabi continues to build sustainable partnerships that deliver on its strategic 2030 Vision, transforming and pioneering new destinations." Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld said: "We are excited to announce our first international expansion and our partnership with Miral as we design a next generation SeaWorld that engages, educates and inspires, a blueprint brought to life in Abu Dhabi. This new park, combined with a dedicated research, rescue, rehabilitation and return facility focused on marine life care and conservation, continues SeaWorld's legacy of marine life rescue that spans more than 50 years. This project presents an opportunity for collaboration and greater understanding of how species have adapted to the region's unique marine environment, and to inspire the next generation of visitors, conservationists and animal care experts." SeaWorld Abu Dhabi's research, rescue, rehabilitation and return center on Yas Island, will be the first of its kind in the country, providing a state-of-the-art environment for local and global researchers, scientists and marine conservationists to assist them to better understand and learn from the region's marine life habitats and conditions. Planned to open ahead of the marine life themed park, the facility will provide an important resource for UAE nationals and residents looking to develop or enhance expertise in marine life sciences and will serve as a hub for collaboration with local and international environmental organizations and projects. Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral said: "SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is a unique project for the region which complements our portfolio of attractions and enriches Yas Island as the most exciting destination for our visitors. As Abu Dhabi's developer of unique and exciting destinations, the opportunity to design a next generation marine life themed park in partnership with SeaWorld is bold and ambitious. Miral will continue to develop and create leading destinations on Yas Island that offer unique, immersive and exciting experiences for everyone." The addition of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi expands Miral's destination portfolio on Yas Island, which is set to double visitor numbers to 48 million by 2022. The growth plans are part of Abu Dhabi's vision to establish the emirate as a global tourism hub with unique attractions and world-class tourism infrastructure. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is set to open by 2022, and will complement Miral's Yas Island destination portfolio of four themed parks, which includes Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, and opening in 2018 the recently announced Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and Clymb. Yas Island also offers a wide range of sporting and entertainment experiences that include Yas Marina Circuit, seven hotels, year round calendar of events, a live performance and concert arena, an 18-hole championship golf course, a marina, a beach and the increasingly popular shopping destination, Yas Mall. Miral is Abu Dhabi's creator of destinations, uniting people and places through unique, immersive and exciting experiences. Responsible for the development and promotion of Yas Island, Miral's assets encompass entertainment, hospitality, leisure, sport, dining, retail and real estate destinations. Today, Yas Island is home to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Yas Links Golf Course, Yas Mall, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Marina and seven hotels, including the flagship Yas Viceroy. For more information on Miral, visit http://www.miral.ae. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter, and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world's foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks across the United States. The company's theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests. Additional information about SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. can be found online at http://www.seaworldentertainment.com.


News Article | December 19, 2016
Site: marketersmedia.com

LAKELAND, FL / ACCESSWIRE / December 19, 2016 / InterMountain Management is proud to announce the opening of the 112-suite TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Lakeland, Florida located at 3370 North Road 98. The TownePlace Suites Lakeland is just off of I-4 in between Tampa and Orlando, perfectly situated for guests traveling to nearby LEGOLAND, Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld. The hotel is also minutes from the Lakeland Center, Lake Myrtle Sports Complex and several major companies, including Publix, Stryker and the Amazon Fulfillment Center. "What an honor it is to be the first TownePlace Suites in the Lakeland area. With our new innovative design, and our proximity to local attractions, we will exceed guest's expectations. Our staff is thrilled to invite everyone to explore the area and enjoy our exceptional customer service." said Justin Boubong, General Manager. "We are ready to 'wow' our guests with our beautiful extended-stay product. We invite everyone to come out and experience the superior value that we provide at our TownePlace Suites Marriott hotel. Our team is looking forward to serving all of your future hotel needs!" said Stacy Counihan, Regional Director of Sales. As one of North America's largest hotel management and development companies, InterMountain Management specializes in the select-service and extended-stay hotel segments. For over 30 years, InterMountain Management's dedication to success is proven in the results as a hotel owner, management company and hotel developer. They currently own and/or manage approximately 70 premium branded hotels nationwide, with an additional 20 in their pipeline. For more information, or to view hotel locations across the U.S., visit their website at www.intermountainhotels.com. TownePlace Suites by Marriott is an all-suite, extended-stay hotel brand in the moderate price range. Ranked highest in the Extended Stay category in the J.D. Power 2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, TownePlace Suites has also been #1 for mid-price extended stays in Business Travel News' Hotel Chain Survey in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Ideal for travelers who need accommodations for longer stays, TownePlace Suites offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens and separate living/working and sleeping areas. Launched in 1997, the brand currently has more than 200 locations in the United States and Canada. TownePlace Suites participates in the award-winning Marriott Rewards® frequent travel program that allows members to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during each stay. For more information or reservations, call the TownePlace Suites at 863-680-1115, or visit www.marriott.com/tpaxl. LAKELAND, FL / ACCESSWIRE / December 19, 2016 / InterMountain Management is proud to announce the opening of the 112-suite TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Lakeland, Florida located at 3370 North Road 98. The TownePlace Suites Lakeland is just off of I-4 in between Tampa and Orlando, perfectly situated for guests traveling to nearby LEGOLAND, Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld. The hotel is also minutes from the Lakeland Center, Lake Myrtle Sports Complex and several major companies, including Publix, Stryker and the Amazon Fulfillment Center. "What an honor it is to be the first TownePlace Suites in the Lakeland area. With our new innovative design, and our proximity to local attractions, we will exceed guest's expectations. Our staff is thrilled to invite everyone to explore the area and enjoy our exceptional customer service." said Justin Boubong, General Manager. "We are ready to 'wow' our guests with our beautiful extended-stay product. We invite everyone to come out and experience the superior value that we provide at our TownePlace Suites Marriott hotel. Our team is looking forward to serving all of your future hotel needs!" said Stacy Counihan, Regional Director of Sales. As one of North America's largest hotel management and development companies, InterMountain Management specializes in the select-service and extended-stay hotel segments. For over 30 years, InterMountain Management's dedication to success is proven in the results as a hotel owner, management company and hotel developer. They currently own and/or manage approximately 70 premium branded hotels nationwide, with an additional 20 in their pipeline. For more information, or to view hotel locations across the U.S., visit their website at www.intermountainhotels.com. TownePlace Suites by Marriott is an all-suite, extended-stay hotel brand in the moderate price range. Ranked highest in the Extended Stay category in the J.D. Power 2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, TownePlace Suites has also been #1 for mid-price extended stays in Business Travel News' Hotel Chain Survey in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Ideal for travelers who need accommodations for longer stays, TownePlace Suites offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens and separate living/working and sleeping areas. Launched in 1997, the brand currently has more than 200 locations in the United States and Canada. TownePlace Suites participates in the award-winning Marriott Rewards® frequent travel program that allows members to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during each stay. For more information or reservations, call the TownePlace Suites at 863-680-1115, or visit www.marriott.com/tpaxl.


News Article | March 18, 2016
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

After years of pressure, SeaWorld made a surprise announcement: It no longer breeds killer whales in captivity and will soon stop making them leap from their pools or splash audiences on command. Surrendering Thursday to a profound shift in how people feel about using animals for entertainment, the SeaWorld theme parks have joined a growing list of industries dropping live animal tricks. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is retiring all of its touring elephants in May. Once-popular animal shows in Las Vegas have virtually disappeared. "Society's attitude toward these very, very large, majestic animals under human care has shifted for a variety of reasons, whether it's a film, legislation, people's comments on the Internet," SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Joel Manby said. "It wasn't worth fighting that. We needed to move where society was moving." SeaWorld's 29 killer whales will remain in captivity, but in "new, inspiring natural orca encounters," according to the company. SeaWorld's orcas range in age from 1 to 51 years old, so some could remain on display for decades. Attendance at SeaWorld's parks declined after the 2013 release of "Blackfish," a highly critical documentary. Some top musical acts dropped out of SeaWorld-sponsored concerts at the urging of animal rights activists, who kept up a visible presence demonstrating outside the parks' gates. Still, the decision shocked advocates who have spent decades campaigning against keeping marine mammals captive, and it represents a sharp U-turn from SeaWorld's previous reaction to the documentary. In August 2014, SeaWorld announced major new investments in the orca program, including new, larger tanks, first in San Diego and then at its parks in Orlando and San Antonio, Texas. But the California Coastal Commision didn't approve the $100 million expansion until last October, and when it did, it banned orca breeding as part of the decision. SeaWorld sued, arguing that the commission overstepped its authority, but said it would end its San Diego orca shows by 2017. Meanwhile, SeaWorld brought in a new leader with more experience in regional theme parks than zoos and aquariums, which have been fending off such protests for decades. Manby was hired as SeaWorld CEO last March 19 after running Dollywood and other musically-themed parks. He said Thursday that he brought a "fresh perspective" to the killer whale quandary, and soon realized that "society is shifting here." Orcas have been a centerpiece of the SeaWorld parks since shows at the Shamu stadium in San Diego became the main draw in the 1970s. But criticism has steadily increased in the decades since and then became sharper after an orca named Tilikum battered and drowned trainer Dawn Brancheau after a "Dine with Shamu" show in Orlando in 2010. Her death was highlighted in "Blackfish," and it wasn't the first for Tilikum. The whale also killed an animal trainer and a trespasser in the 1990s. "Blackfish" director Gabriela Cowperthwaite said she applauds SeaWorld's decision, "but mostly I applaud the public for recalibrating how they feel ethically about orcas in captivity." The new orca shows will begin next year at the San Diego park, before expanding to its San Antonio park and then to Orlando in 2019, Manby said. What about shows involving dolphins and other marine mammals? "Stay tuned on that," Manby said. "A lot of people don't understand how hard it is internally to make these kinds of decisions. We need to execute this well. We need to make sure we have the organization in the same direction. Then we will apply those learnings elsewhere." SeaWorld has not only discontinued breeding orcas through artificial insemination; it also feeds the whales birth control medication, Manby said. One of SeaWorld's most prolific breeders has been Tilikum. The 35-year-old whale has sired 14 calves during his 23 years in Orlando, but he's gravely ill now and not expected to live much longer. "So you're saying you're ending your breeding program? Well, guess what? Your breeding program is ending anyhow. I think it's greenwashing," said Ric O'Barry, who directs the DolphinProject.net advocacy group. In 2012, SeaWorld sent workers to infiltrate the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has been particularly critical. Manby confirmed the effort last month. He said the undercover workers were sent to protect the safety of SeaWorld employees and customers, but he vowed to end the practice. Now, SeaWorld hopes to turn a less strident foe, the Humane Society, into a collaborator, helping to educate guests about animal welfare and conservation through interpretive programs and expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals and other marine creatures. Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle, who called SeaWorld's about-face a "monumental announcement," said his organization is by no means naive about SeaWorld, but sees a chance to make progress for animal rights." "We didn't want to be endlessly mired in conflict," Pacelle said. PETA wasn't satisfied, insisting Thursday that SeaWorld should give up its orcas altogether. "SeaWorld must open its tanks to the oceans to allow the orcas it now holds captive to have some semblance of a life outside these prison tanks," PETA spokeswoman Colleen O'Brien said in a statement. Manby countered that no captive dolphin or orca has been successfully released into the wild. SeaWorld is abandoning plans to expand its orca tanks now that the breeding program has ended, the company said. A spokeswoman for the California Coastal Commission praised this, and suggested that SeaWorld drop its lawsuit as well. Manby said SeaWorld's three marine parks may move closer to the balance of rides, shows and animals found at the company's Busch Gardens parks. They need a mixture of experiences to keep a family at the park all day, he said. "I do think you have to have more rides," Manby said. "Some of these messages about animal welfare ... You can't hit them with that all day because sometimes it's a heavy message. You have to balance it."


News Article | December 19, 2016
Site: www.accesswire.com

LAKELAND, FL / ACCESSWIRE / December 19, 2016 / InterMountain Management is proud to announce the opening of the 112-suite TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Lakeland, Florida located at 3370 North Road 98. The TownePlace Suites Lakeland is just off of I-4 in between Tampa and Orlando, perfectly situated for guests traveling to nearby LEGOLAND, Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld. The hotel is also minutes from the Lakeland Center, Lake Myrtle Sports Complex and several major companies, including Publix, Stryker and the Amazon Fulfillment Center. "What an honor it is to be the first TownePlace Suites in the Lakeland area. With our new innovative design, and our proximity to local attractions, we will exceed guest's expectations. Our staff is thrilled to invite everyone to explore the area and enjoy our exceptional customer service." said Justin Boubong, General Manager. "We are ready to 'wow' our guests with our beautiful extended-stay product. We invite everyone to come out and experience the superior value that we provide at our TownePlace Suites Marriott hotel. Our team is looking forward to serving all of your future hotel needs!" said Stacy Counihan, Regional Director of Sales. As one of North America's largest hotel management and development companies, InterMountain Management specializes in the select-service and extended-stay hotel segments. For over 30 years, InterMountain Management's dedication to success is proven in the results as a hotel owner, management company and hotel developer. They currently own and/or manage approximately 70 premium branded hotels nationwide, with an additional 20 in their pipeline. For more information, or to view hotel locations across the U.S., visit their website at www.intermountainhotels.com. TownePlace Suites by Marriott is an all-suite, extended-stay hotel brand in the moderate price range. Ranked highest in the Extended Stay category in the J.D. Power 2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, TownePlace Suites has also been #1 for mid-price extended stays in Business Travel News' Hotel Chain Survey in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Ideal for travelers who need accommodations for longer stays, TownePlace Suites offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens and separate living/working and sleeping areas. Launched in 1997, the brand currently has more than 200 locations in the United States and Canada. TownePlace Suites participates in the award-winning Marriott Rewards® frequent travel program that allows members to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during each stay. For more information or reservations, call the TownePlace Suites at 863-680-1115, or visit www.marriott.com/tpaxl.


News Article | March 18, 2016
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

SeaWorld has just announced a major change in the way they do business, as far as their captive killer whales are concerned. In addition to ending their “sea circus” shows with killer whales - shows that have received criticism up to the level of the US Congress because of their lack of educational content—they will be halting any further breeding of their captive killer whales. This means that the captive killer whales currently held at SeaWorld parks will be the last killer whales held there. This announcement comes after decades of bad publicity, which came to a head after two trainers were killed by SeaWorld orcas—incidents that spawned citations by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a series of court cases, the book Death at SeaWorld, and the award winning documentary Blackfish. The unexpected success of the documentary, aided by a massive and continuous campaign by online animal activists, led to something that has been referred to as the “Blackfish Effect”: a decline in visitor numbers at SeaWorld parks, a barrage of negative publicity and declining stock prices. Years of poor stock performance and the introduction of a series of state and Federal laws that would phase out captive killer whales, undoubtedly influenced SeaWorld’s decision to change its practices. However, SeaWorld’s announcement goes beyond just captive killer whales. They also announced that they would no longer take any wild-caught marine mammals for their facilities, and would minimize the use of wild-caught ornamental fish, which are often captured in ways that are severely damaging to coral reef ecosystems. They pledged that the food products at all of SeaWorld Entertainment’s 11 parks (including Aquatica and Busch Gardens) will now come from only sustainable and more humane sources. They will also serve more vegan and vegetarian food at their restaurants. SeaWorld will refocus on their animal rescue and rehabilitation work, which has to date been more of a peripheral activity. Of particular interest is SeaWorld’s pledge to be more engaged in conservation issues, with an announcement that they will be spending $50 million over five years on advocacy for a number of marine conservation issues including: Destruction of coral reefs and capture of tropical fish for the aquarium trade Marine conservationists have also approached SeaWorld  suggesting that they should invest their substantial resources toward some of the most threatened cetacean species, such as the critically endangered vaquita, river dolphins in the Amazon, Ganges and Indus rivers and severely threatened populations of Irrawaddy dolphin and the Taiwanese white dolphin—issues on which SeaWorld has never before been engaged. SeaWorld has received considerable criticism from NGOs and scientists for only paying lip service to conservation in the past, by claiming that it was a major force in marine conservation whereas the reality was that their contribution  towards the conservation of wild species was a minute fraction of their annual budget  (e.g., just over $70,000 in total to wild cetacean conservation over a 10 year period ) despite being a billion dollar company. Absent from their announcement was any discussion of coastal “retirement” sanctuaries for their captive cetaceans – facilities that are being developed for captive cetaceans in Europe and bottlenose dolphins in the US, and which were originally part of a proposed law in California. In fact, the Society for Marine Mammalogy hosted a scientific workshop this past December to discuss the logistical and legal aspects of establishing such coastal cetacean sanctuaries. Nevertheless, the orca advocacy community considers SeaWorld’s announcement to be a huge move in the right direction, and a sign that the management of SeaWorld parks is realizing that the general public no longer considers performing orcas to be appropriate in the 21st Century. It seems that SeaWorld’s management has finally realized that it needs to adapt in order to survive.


News Article | August 26, 2016
Site: phys.org

Even on sweltering summer days, the popular smartphone game has gotten throngs of players out of their homes to real-world locations designated as "PokeStops" and "Gyms." Theme parks, bars and even a county animal shelter are among those trying to capitalize on that surge in foot traffic. In New York, Doughnut Plant created an edible version of the Poke Ball—dubbing it the Pokeseed—after a Pokemon-obsessed employee realized that all four of the company's shops are either PokeStops or very close to one, owner Mark Isreal said. And one location is an in-game Gym, making it a gathering place to both consume and virtually burn off calories. The team at Doughnut Plant designed the fruity treat in less than a day, using cranberry-raspberry and white chocolate icings to recreate the red-and-white Poke Balls, the objects used in the game to capture monsters. The Pokeseed is stuffed with a peach-strawberry cream filling, an imagining of Pokemon's mythical pecha berry. Pictures went out on social media the next morning, "and before they were delivered, people were already coming to the stores," Isreal said. Doughnut Plant has already sold thousands of Pokeseeds, and customers frequently post pictures of them on Instagram. They're still selling strong, so Doughnut Plant has no plan to take them off the menu any time soon. Meanwhile, a trendy food court near New York's Penn Station put up a sign urging passersby to catch a Pokemon instead of a train, while the city's parks department created "PokeFit" classes for kids to play while exercising. Earlier, the Busch Gardens theme park in Florida hosted a Pokemon "lure-a-thon," with some PokeStops accessible only by season-pass members for one hour. The Pawtucket Red Sox baseball team in Rhode Island invited fans onto the field to chase the virtual monsters. Police in Manchester, New Hampshire, even tried to lure fugitives by claiming to have detected a rare Charizard in the booking area. A Facebook post invited those on a list of "lucky ones" to capture the monster—the list happens to be filled with the city's most wanted. Andy Wong of Kurt Salmon Digital, which helps retailers connect digitally with consumers, said the game has worked well for small businesses, though there hasn't been a good way for larger companies with hundreds of stores to automate the "lures" they buy to attract digital monsters—and with them, players and potential customers. And even for small businesses, he said, the ability to draw customers may have diminished as the game loses its novelty. But those that caught the bug early saw tangible benefits. The Phoenix Zoo was a hotbed of Pokemon activity right after the game's release last month, even when temperatures climbed as high as 112 degrees. It helped that a Pokemon Gym was housed in the zoo's conveniently air conditioned orangutan house. After noticing that some visitors were on the hunt for more than just traditional zoo creatures, the zoo opened an hour early at 6 a.m. for a week during what's usually a slow time of year. The zoo also converted its train into a "PokeShuttle" that pointed out PokeStops along with its animal exhibits. On the first day of the promotion, attendance more than doubled from a week earlier, and sign-ups for new memberships spiked, said zoo spokeswoman Kerri Baumann. "It has snowballed in the most exciting and fun way," she said. Given the popularity, zoo officials are considering having additional Pokemon-themed activities, she said. Other furry creatures have benefited, too. The Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, said its Pokemon-themed social media posts prompted about 25 applications for volunteer dog walkers, about four times what it usually gets. "If people are getting out and walking, why not come out here and walk the dogs and catch some Pokemon?" said Jennifer Federico, Wake County's animal services director. "It's fun and it gets people out." The shelter also named dogs and cats after Pokemon characters in hopes of giving animals that may get overlooked a second chance at adoption, she said. Bars and restaurants are getting in on the action as well, both through numerous Pokemon-themed bar crawls around the country and by taking advantage of nearby stops and gyms on their own. Because street art accounts for a substantial number of PokeStops, especially in big cities, the Tyron Public House bar and restaurant in New York has seen a slight bump in business, thanks to a large mural outside. Some patrons have paid for lures to attract more Pokemon; others return the favor by buying them drinks. "It's kind of fun to see people playing and say, 'Here you go. Enjoy,'" Tyron manager Errol Flynn said. "For us, it's not so much about organized events as much as it is about keeping up with social and what's going on in the neighborhood." Explore further: How to play Pokemon Go


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Olivia Butler was crowned Miss Tampa 2017 at the 71st Annual Miss Tampa Scholarship Pageant at the Moroccan Palace, Busch Gardens Saturday night, February 4, 2017. Olivia Butler is a 23-year-old graduate of Wake Forest University, NC and is continuing her education at University of South Florida. She is pursing acceptance into medical school. Olivia’s win as Miss Tampa 2017 gives her $5,000 in scholarship money to further her education. Olivia will now compete at the Miss Florida competition on July 1, 2017. “Knowing that I have the opportunity to represent the City of Tampa is a remarkable feeling,” said Olivia Butler. “The other 13 women in the competition were so enjoyable and part of a night that was absolutely incredible in every way.” The Miss Tampa Scholarship Pageant started in 1946, and has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in educational scholarships during the past 71 years. On Saturday night, educational scholarships and donations totaling $12,150 were given away to the women with the highest scores: “Our 71st anniversary marks the Miss Tampa Scholarship Foundations mission to educate exceptional young women from the Tampa Bay area,” said Jim Conte, Board of Directors and Marketing Manager for Miss Tampa Scholarship Pageant. The Miss Tampa Scholarship Foundation is an official local franchise of the Miss America Organization. The Miss America Organization is one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and the world’s largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. The Miss America Organization and it's state and local organizations have made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance. Contestants are judged on their communication skills, talent, physical fitness, confidence, and grace under pressure. Miss Tampa contestants are young women who are talented, confident, empowered, and become role models for young women. Bob Clark, Executive Director of Miss Tampa said, “Olivia Butler” is an outstanding young woman and we are looking forward to seeing her compete at this year’s Miss Florida competition.” About Miss Tampa The Miss Tampa Scholarship Organization is an official local franchise of the Miss America Organization. The Miss Tampa Pageant is a 501(c)(3) organization and is associated with, The Miss Florida Scholarship Pageant and The Miss America Scholarship Pageant, which are among the largest scholarship providers for women in America today. The Miss Tampa Scholarship Foundation Pageant is one of the oldest preliminary competitions existing in the state of Florida, having crowned their first winner in 1946. For more information, please, visit, http://www.misstampa.org


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Maronda Homes announces its newest community in the much anticipated, Epperson. The community is located in the rapid-growing Wesley Chapel area, only about 30 minutes north of Tampa. Epperson is a couple of miles east of I-75, between State Roads 52 and 54. Epperson will feature beautifully designed single family homes premiering in the region from the $214s as well as amazing community amenities. What is a Crystal Lagoon? A Crystal Lagoon, the first one in the United States, is coming to Epperson. It’s an enormous 8 acre, 16 million gallon swimming pool that will stretch the length of five football fields. It will be 200 feet wide and up to 8 feet deep with a series of “arms” stretching out. Each “arm” of the lagoon off the center will be about 1/4 mile long! White sand, a water slide, kayaking dock, paddle boarding and small sailboats are all features for the water sports enthusiasts. Family spaces as well a conversation pool with seating will offer amenities for those looking to relax in the sun. Residents of Epperson will be able to take advantage of this one-of-a-kind amenity, not found in any other housing community in the US. Found in many resort areas around the world, these lagoons are filtered and offer all of the best features of a swimming pool and lake for fun and enjoyment. Every home in Epperson comes with ULTRAFi. This community enjoys the fastest internet and WiFi speeds in North America! This means 1 Gigabit of speed throughout the community and you can even choose up to 1 gigabit of speed at home. Forget buffering delays as you play, watch, game, surf and stream by the pool, on the trails, at the playground and right inside your home. Living in an ULTRAFi community comes with smart controlled features already in place and you can customize it with a few switches, security cameras or a full suite of smart home automation. Want to dim the lights? Change the temperature? Set the security? All of this is available in an ULTRAFi community. You can control this from the same room or your smart device If the amenities in the community aren’t enough for your social life, Tampa International Airport, Busch Gardens and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo are also within close proximity. Clearwater, St. Pete and Tampa area beaches as well as Tampa Bay are also convenient destinations. Great schools and medical facilities round out the local neighborhood. In addition to all of the shopping staples nearby, the destination shopping of The Tampa Premium Outlets featuring upscale shopping like Saks Off 5th, Cole Haan, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Armani and Tumi are a short drive away. Homes are about to begin construction in the neighborhood. Maronda Homes has begun selling home packages in the much anticipated community. Pre-construction pricing is being offered with lots selling fast in phase 1.


News Article | November 8, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

The Tampa Bay Technology Forum held their annual industry awards gala last week at Busch Gardens. With over 150 companies competing for just 12 awards, it was a night of fun and suspense. Hivelocity was let off the hook early, however, with their taking home the night’s first award which recognizes one company for Excellence in Service. This award acknowledges one Tampa Bay organization committed to advancing the region’s technology community while demonstrating excellence in quality and innovation. Hivelocity has provided its customers with 100% network and power uptime since the day they opened their TPA1 data center in 2012. When you consider that most data centers aim for 99.9% uptime and 99.999% (aka five nines) is considered elite, maintaining 100% year after year is an impressive feat and undoubtedly qualifies for excellence in service. “From the day we started our company in a basement, our core philosophy has been to always consider the customer’s perspective first. Initially, this philosophy was designed to help us improve every way we interacted with our customers. Over the years, it has become the philosophy that directs our company’s entire culture, who we hire, the tools we develop, how we sell our products and ultimately how we achieve 100% uptime,” says Hivelocity Director of Operations, Steve Eschweiler. Hivelocity owns and operates over 60,000 square feet of data center space where it provides dedicated servers, colocation and cloud hosting solution to customers from over 130 countries. Hivelocity just completed the build out of their brand new TPA2 data center that will accommodate 10,000 new servers and 250 server cabinets. Each of Hivelocity’s facilities is manned 24/7 with Systems Administrators and Engineers ready and able to assist customers with any of their needs. Services are available from Hivelocity in Tampa, Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles. For more information about Hivelocity, you can visit them at https://hivelocity.net.

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