Looking for a great place to bring the grandkids? Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s fully immersive new exhibit, Whales: Living with Giants.
The exhibit occupies 20,000 square-feet of space in the Florida aquarium’s newly expanded visitor center. Guests will be immersed into the undersea world of these magnificent gentle giants through educational multi-media exhibits, an undersea virtual reality experience, walk-through life-size whale gallery, and an interactive kid’s zone. The exhibit will continue to evolve throughout the summer to provide guests with unique experiences.
“This exhibit brings our guests into an undersea experience where they come eye to eye with a wide variety of whale species found in Florida waters,” said Dr. James “Buddy” Powell, Executive Director of CMA’s Research Institute. “It’s especially timely with the recent ground-breaking discovery of an entirely new whale species not far from CMA off the Florida gulf coast.” Powell continued, “The discovery of the Rice’s whale, previously thought to be a type of Brydes whale, and the fact that it is already considered endangered is a stark reminder of how much we still have to learn from these beautiful creatures and the impact they have on our shared environment.”
For many years, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute scientists and biologists have been working with NOAA and other partners to track, monitor, and protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. “This exhibition is significant not only because it is bringing to light CMA’s work to preserve a whale species, but we will be debuting a remarkable discovery – Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale (Rice’s whale) species,” said Laura Engleby, Marine Mammal Branch Chief, NOAA Fisheries Southeast. “We truly appreciate the collaboration of our partners to educate the public through engaging experiences like this exhibition.”
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is also partnering with virtual reality entertainment group Immotion to bring a fully-immersive VR theatre complete with motion-platform seating to CMA during the exhibit. Guests will take on the role of marine biologists to observe and be immersed among wild, giant Humpback whales by way of virtual reality.
“We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Clearwater Marine Aquarium on this milestone installation,” said Group Commercial Director, Rod Findley. “We’re honored to be part of the first exhibit to go into the new expansion at the aquarium. It’s a bold step to give their guests the newest and most immersive experiences.”
Clearwater Marine Aquarium recently underwent an $80 million expansion project complete with a visitor center and 1.5 million gallon dolphin habitat which opened to the public in October.
Visitors can book tickets and learn more at cmaquarium.org.