In celebration of World Whale Day, Clearwater Marine Aquarium has announced the opening of a brand-new exhibit. Whales: Living with Giants is a fully immersive experience that dives deep into the world of whales.
The exhibition will take over a significant portion of Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s newly-expanded visitor center. It will feature multi-media exhibits, a virtual reality experience as well as a life-sized walk-through whale gallery. It will also include a theater showcasing films and speakers dedicated to issues facing these large marine mammals. A new children’s interactive zone will keep the younger aquarium guests engaged.
“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.”
“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.”
Scientists and biologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the CMA Research Institute continue to collaborate in tracking, monitoring and protecting 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 at NOAA Fisheries Southeast. “We truly appreciate the collaboration of our partners to educate the public through engaging experiences like this exhibition.”
Additionally, CMA partnered with virtual reality entertainment group Immotion to create a fully-immersive VR theater with motion-platform seating. After experiencing the interactive pre-show filled with information about whales, visitors will then become honorary marine biologists.
As part of CMA’s $80 million expansion project, a new 1.5-million-gallon dolphin habitat, the Ruth & J.O. Stone Dolphin Complex, will also be open for visitors to enjoy.
To learn more about Whales: Living with Giants, visit CMAAquarium.com.