April 11, 2011
The Aquarium of the Pacific will introduce two new exhibits this summer, inviting visitors to learn more about Earth’s extreme environments, climate change, and timely ocean issues. Arctic & Antarctic: Our Polar Regions in Peril will open in the Aquarium’s special exhibit gallery near the front entrance, and the Ocean Science Center, featuring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Science on a Sphere® (SOS), will open in a new gallery off the Great Hall of the Pacific past the Honda Theater.
Arctic & Antarctic: Our Polar Regions in Peril will transport visitors to the icy edges of the Earth—the North and South Poles. The exhibit will highlight the animals, plants, and people of these regions and allow visitors to learn how climate change puts these fragile ecosystems at risk.
Upon entering the exhibit, visitors will travel across the planet through presentations on interactive video screens and large graphics of polar landscapes. Guests will be able to touch sea jellies and see king crabs, feather stars, Arctic char, and other animals from the polar regions. In other areas of the Aquarium, staff will also conduct daily presentations with an Arctic fox, teaching visitors about this iconic animal’s habitat and threats to its survival in the wild.
The exhibit will also address the impacts of climate change in the polar regions, including melting ice, the rise in global sea levels, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, and the speed at which these changes are taking place. Visitors will learn what effects will be felt on a regional and local as well as international level. In addition, impacts to commercial fisheries and indigenous populations will be illustrated in the exhibit. As visitors leave the gallery, they will be able to read about solutions to these challenges and learn what they can do to help.
The Ocean Science Center will provide an immersive exhibit area for exploring ocean phenomena and the many ways societies depend on the World Ocean. The focus of the experience is the SOS, a six-foot-diameter global display that combines new technologies developed by NOAA to take visitors on a journey across the world to explore the atmosphere, ocean, and continents. The new exhibit will feature satellite images and videos projected onto the sphere. The SOS system will also be programmed to tell different stories on high-definition plasma screens surrounding the globe. The first two stories, shown daily on a rotation, will highlight sea level rise and the role of the local ports, respectively.
Member previews for Arctic & Antarctic and the Ocean Science Center will be held on Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24, between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The exhibits will open to the public on May 28.