A festive grand opening ceremony hosted by SeaWorld Park President John Reilly and attended by San Diego City Council President Tony Young and San Diego City Council Member Lori Zapf preceded the first official Manta launch. Following a dramatic performance and drum roll by ensemble group TAIKOPROJECT and a “kelp ribbon” cutting, the first riders on Manta were students from the Elementary Institute of Science — a science enrichment program dedicated to nurturing the intellectual curiosity of San Diego's young people by providing hands-on experiences to stimulate an ongoing appreciation and understanding science, technology and the environment. As part of the grand opening, SeaWorld made a $10,000 donation to the nonprofit program and invited 20 students to be the first riders on opening day.
Manta is located just north of Dolphin Point. SeaWorld worked with German ride design company MACK, which also engineered the marine-life park’s popular ride, Journey To Atlantis.