The Thea Awards, which honor outstanding achievement in the design and creation of themed entertainment, have been announced. The awards are sponsored by the Themed Etnertainment Association.

The 2002 winners are:

Thea Classic Award: Universal Studio's Tram Tour

Aquarium: Les Mysteres de la Mer, St. Malo, France

Attraction Animation Celebration, Universal Studios Japan; Disney Animation, California Adventure, Anaheim, CA; Soarin' Over California, California Adventure, Anaheim, CA

Creating an Icon: The London Eye, London, England

Limited Budget: FDNY Fire Zone, New York, New York

Museum Attraction: Star of Destiny, Texas State History Museum, Austin TX

Retheming to Create a New World: Busch Gardens - Ireland, Williamsburg, VA

Technology: Media Pro 4000, Anitech Systems, Inc.

Themed Hotel: Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

Theme Park: Tokyo DisneySea and Entertainment Program, Japan

Traveling Exhibit: Chicano Now: American Expressions, Clear Channel Entertainment/Exhibitions

Waterpark: Schlitterbahn, Texas

Zoo: Texas Wild! Ft. Worth Zoo, Ft. Worth, TX

In addition, a special lifetime achievement award is being presented to the Sherman Brothers, Richard and Robert B., who have composed scores for dozens of films, especially for Disney; their songs have been consequently heard in theme parks all over the world. The Shermans recently enjoyed a London triumph with the smash opening of their new stage musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, based on the famous film.

Established in 1994, the Thea Awards recognize excellence in the themed entertainment and experience design industry, an industry that harmoniously blends a combination of disciplines to create theme parks, entertainment attractions, science centers, aquariums, zoos, museums, live shows, corporate brand lands, exhibits, family entertainment centers, huge event spectaculars and themed restaurants and retail stores. Through these venues and events, TEA professionals -- writers, producers, designers, artists, architects, technicians, engineers, directors, choreographers, educators, operators and economists -- tell stories that engage visitors and participants in experiences that were once only available through myth and legend.

The 2002 Thea Awards Presentation Ceremony will be held September 28, 2002 in Hollywood, CA.