The Aquarium of the Pacific’s highly-anticipated and new Pacific Visions expansion will open to the public on May 24, 2019, with inaugural exhibitions and programming. Pacific Visions, a 29,000-square-foot, two-story, sustainable structure will house a state-of-the-art immersive theater, exhibition space, an art gallery, and several new live animal exhibits.
As the new focal point of the Aquarium, Pacific Visions will provide a platform to integrate the arts and sciences and will offer visitors innovative ways to explore their impact on planet Earth and the ocean and how to reduce it. With the new expansion, the Aquarium continues its quest to create the aquarium of the future—a combination of aquarium, science center, art gallery, performing arts space, and a think tank to explore solutions to some of our world’s biggest environmental issues. Pacific Visions programs will tackle issues including: climate change, extreme weather, sea level rise, water shortages, and creating a food supply to feed an additional 2.5 billion people by farming the land and the sea.
Visitors will enter Pacific Visions through a 2,800-square-foot art gallery. The inaugural art installation designed by Germany-based design company Convivial Studio immerses the visitor in sea life through a multi-channel video installation, spatial soundscapes, and sculptural relief walls enhanced with lighting. The Aquarium and Convivial Studio have partnered with leading scientists and underwater photographers to capture the diversity of life that inhabits coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean and the microscopic world of plankton. The multimedia installation will comprise two three-minute projection sequences called Coral World and Plankton World.
The gallery will also include large-scale relief walls made of silicon and polymer materials that imitate the different textures found on coral reefs, overlain with video projections. Through touch combined with an oceanic soundscape recorded by Tim Gordon and Dr. Stephen Simpson in the Coral Triangle Region, visitors are virtually immersed in a variety of underwater environments.
After passing through the art gallery, visitors will move into a 2,600-square-foot gallery, which will showcase an 18-foot-wide virtual waterfall with interactive elements that respond to movement. A 26-foot-wide by 8-foot-tall media wall features a film that introduces visitors to the history of life on Earth, the effects of humans on the planet’s biodiversity, and opportunities to turn the tide as the world’s population approaches 10 billion people in 2050. These resources will be further explored when visitors enter the two-story, 300-seat Honda Pacific Visions Theater. The state-of-the-art theater houses a 130-foot-wide by 32-foot-tall screen that curves in a 180-degree arc. The theater also features a 30-foot-diameter floor projection disc, which will further immerse visitors in a virtual ocean environment in a space designed to host media-rich performances, panel discussions, community meetings, and educational seminars.
The Honda Pacific Visions Theater content is being developed by the Aquarium and Cortina Productions in partnership with leading scientists, filmmakers, storytellers, and digital artists. The inaugural film will bring the ocean planet to life with stunning high-resolution imagery, and a variety of special effects. The film will investigate human production and use of food, energy, and water as resources that are essential to life and help viewers imagine what creative innovations will help manage these resources for the world’s growing population in the future. The film presents opportunities for positive change and invites viewers to design a sustainable future for both humans and nature through personal and collective choices.
In Pacific Vision’s final 5,000-square-foot culmination gallery designed by Bowman Change Inc. with Cortina Productions, visitors will have an opportunity to envision the steps we can take to create a better planet through interactive game tables, displays, and live animal exhibits. Three interactive tables exploring food, energy, and water will be set throughout the space. These large multiplayer interactive tables highlight California’s ongoing efforts to create resource sustainability. A fast-paced cooperative game challenges visitors through a series of personal consumer choices and civic choices to make the resources supply sustainable and provide enough food, water, and energy for California’s growing population. As time advances, players must work together to manage the resources to meet society’s needs while protecting the environment. In addition to the tables, the gallery features a 50-foot interactive wall, where an array of ocean imagery transports visitors beneath the waves. Marine life swims through the current of the oceanscape. Visitors engage with the content of the wall by gesturing, activating content to learn about stewardship of the ocean, climate change, and sustainability. The culmination gallery will also feature a tall population tower that shows the projected growth of California’s population, records the global population in real time, and shows the projected population out to 2050. It also explores ways to stabilize and then reduce the global population. Pacific Visions forms a natural extension of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s existing facilities. Visitors move from Pacific Visions to the second floor of the main Aquarium building to continue to the educational exhibits and experiences well-known to Aquarium visitors since 1998. A Pacific Visions app designed by Artifact Technologies will enable visitors to remain connected and share the experience with friends and family.
Pacific Visions will open to the public on May 24, 2019. For more information please visit www.aquariumofthepacific.com. To see the latest updates, follow the hashtag #PacificVisions.