The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California recently unveiled the plans for the first major expansion in its history: Pacific Visions. Pacific Visions will become the new centerpiece of the aquarium, as a 29,000-square foot building with two levels and a variety of attractions inside.
Pacific Visions will help redefine the modern aquarium by further integrating arts and culture into the aquarium experience. While the new aquarium wing will feature new live animal exhibit spaces and educational displays, the building is also being designed to become a community gathering place. Through this project, Aquarium of the Pacific hopes to attract and unify scientists, policymakers, and the public so that it can more effectively help address the threats facing our world’s oceans.
The headlining attraction of the Pacific Visions expansion will be the Honda Pacific Visions Theater, which will seat 300 guests and will feature a curved 180-degree screen. The projection screen will measure 32 feet tall and 130 feet wide.
The stage in the theater will include a 30-foot-diameter floor projection area, and the combination of the curved screen and floor projection area will uniquely immerse visitors into the worlds of the sea like never before. The seats in the theater are also being specially engineered to be interactive throughout the presentations.
The new building will also add 6,000 square feet of rotating exhibit space. This temporary exhibit gallery will allow the aquarium to constantly keep its guests updated on recent scientific discoveries, research projects, and conservation challenges facing the world’s oceans. Many of the aquarium’s permanent exhibits already feature a number of interactive technology and hands-on components, and the changing exhibit gallery will be no exception.
Cortina Productions, an Emmy-award-winning media technology group, will be responsible developing the interactive technology displays throughout Pacific Visions. The exhibit gallery will be equipped to feature real-time data and research projects, and a Pacific Visions app will be launched to help visitors stay connected after they leave the aquarium.
This expansion project will also breathe new life into the aquarium’s main entrance and front plaza. A new ticketing center, along with a special members’ entrance and Member Services Center, will be built to accommodate the anticipated increase in attendance. The front plaza will also become an attraction in itself, as the aquarium plans to install outdoor programs and art displays.
Pacific Visions will increase the aquarium’s annual capacity to 2 million guests per year, thus allowing more people to connect with and learn about the wonders of marine life, and it is expected to first open to visitors in late 2018.