The Aquarium of the Pacific officially opened its first major expansion, Pacific Visions. The 29,000-square-foot wing houses the immersive Honda Pacific Visions Theater, an interactive art gallery, multimedia displays, and animal exhibits.
The inaugural art gallery exhibition focuses on corals and plankton and features video projections accompanied by spatial soundscapes, a touchable coral sculpture wall, glass sculptures inspired by plankton, and a collection of mirrored exhibits called Infinity Coral.
The orientation gallery offers a virtual interactive waterfall. A 26-foot-wide by 9-foot-tall LED screen plays a pre-show film with high resolution imagery of wildlife, nature, and people to show the beauty, history, and our changing relationship to the planet.
In the 300-seat Honda Pacific Visions Theater, visitors will be immersed in Designing Our Future, an 8-minute show that includes high-resolution imagery projected on a massive curved screen and floor projection disc. The show is enhanced with multisensory effects including wind, mist, and seat vibration.
In the culmination gallery, visitors can explore what they can do to meet the challenge of providing enough food, energy, and water for a growing human population while conserving nature. The exhibition features multiplayer game tables; an interactive media wall; and three live animal exhibits, including the first public exhibit of the critically endangered delta smelt fish.
Pacific Visions is supported by the City of Long Beach with a $15 million matching grant; a $5 million matching grant from John, Michelle, Mario, and Therese Molina; and $5 million from American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Private donations of $1 million or more have been given by James and Marilyn Simons, Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg, the Don Temple Family Charitable Foundation, PREMIER/SMG, and the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy.
Image credit: © 2019 Tom Bonner