Colorado’s newest roller coaster, Defiance, will open July 9 at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, located about 160 miles from Denver. 

The coaster comes from Gerstlauer, the German firm responsible for HangTime at Knott’s Berry Farm and the world’s steepest coaster, TMNT Shellraiser at Nickelodeon Universe. Defiance won’t quite match those stats, but will feature a 110-foot, 102.3-degree first drop and two inversions, all enhanced by the park’s mountainous setting. Unlike some other Gerstlauer models, there will be no holding brakes on the ride’s first drop. 

It will set a record for being the highest looping coaster in the U.S., being situated 7,160 feet above sea level. 

Defiance will only provide some new thrills for a state that doesn’t see many traditional coasters. It will be the first new, non-alpine coaster to operate in Colorado since 2013, when Elitch Gardens in Denver added a kiddie coaster called Blazin’ Buckaroo. 

Five new food and drink locations now open at SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is expanding its food and drink locations with five new options now open around the park. 

The new spots include: 

  • Hibisco, serving “modern Mexican flavors,” according to SeaWorld
  • Manta Pizza
  • Dreyer’s Ice Cream Parlor
  • Underwater Cantina, serving “mixologist curated cocktails, such as the Mermaid Margarita or Starr-Berry Mojito”
  • High Tide Brews, a tap room specializing in craft beers

“We are so excited to open a number of new food and drink venues at SeaWorld San Diego” SeaWorld San Diego park president Jim Lake said. “We are always looking to offer guests new and exciting ways to enhance their experience at the park, and we can’t wait for guests to refuel and reenergize at these delicious destinations.”

Universal Orlando uncages Hedwig animatronic

Hedwig is free — or at least, as free as an animatronic can be.

A mechanical version of Harry Potter’s owl pet has been a part of the Hogwarts Express queue at Universal’s Islands of Adventure since the ride debuted in 2014. Until this year, Hedwig could be found inside a cage atop luggage in the Hogsmeade station. Now the animatronic has been moved outside the cage.

Why does this matter? Well, according to the Protego Foundation, a Wizarding World-themed animal rights group, the Potter series inspired some fans, particularly in Asia, to seek out their own owl pets, to the detriment of the animals. 

“While this animatronic isn’t harmed by living her life in a cage, real owls are hurt when they are kept in a cage and denied everything natural and important to them like hunting, flying, choosing a mate, and more,” Tylor Starr, president of the Protego Foundation, said in a press release.