The Aquarium of the Pacific doesn’t often do major expansions. This month marks the first big addition since it opened in 1998, but it is well worth the wait! The aquarium’s impressive new 9,000-square-foot, two-story wing, Pacific Visions, debuts May 24 and includes the immersive 300-seat Honda Pacific Visions Theater, the 2,800-square-foot Pacific Visions Art Gallery and several additional exhibition spaces.
The debut multimedia installation in the Pacific Visions Art Gallery will immerse visitors in a vivid ocean environment through two three-minute projection sequences – one exploring coral reefs and the other examining the world of tiny plankton – that subtly change with each film cycle.
Cutting-edge interactive technology also has been used to create an 18-foot-wide virtual waterfall in the adjoining gallery. And a film projected on a 26-foot-wide, 8-foot-tall media wall teaches about the history of life on Earth and the effects humans are having on the planet’s biodiversity. Ocean life and ecological themes are addressed, too, in the film premiering in the Honda Pacific Visions Theater.
Pacific Vision’s culminating gallery is a 5,000-square-foot space populated with engaging, educational features. Large multiplayer interactive tables spotlight California’s sustainability efforts regarding food, water and energy. Visitors can play a game where they must quickly make selections during a series of personal consumer and civic choices. The gallery also presents live animal exhibits and has a 50-foot interactive wall that replicates an undersea world (while educating about the need to protect oceans’ futures).