This weekend, the Newport Aquarium hosted the grand opening of their newest exhibit, Seahorses: Unbridled Fun, which is being described as the “most interactive seahorse exhibit in the country.” While “interactive” in this case does not mean that guests will be able to actually touch seahorses, as they are very delicate and sensitive animals, the exhibit has been designed to include a number of other exciting interactive components using innovative technology.
The exhibit is intended to teach visitors about the intriguing physical adaptations and unusual behaviors of seahorses. Seahorses: Unbridled Fun is home to 10 different species of seahorses, sea dragons, and other unique fish species, including trumpet fish, razorfish, and pipefish. Observing seahorses in the wild is very difficult because of their expert camouflage adaptations, so this new exhibit at the Newport Aquarium will be a unique opportunity for marine life enthusiasts.
Seahorses: Unbridled Fun includes a variety of interactive activities meant to teach guests about seahorse biology and conservation. One such activity is interacting with the seahorse sculptures that are placed throughout the exhibit. The sculptures prominently highlight the animals’ physical characteristics to enhance guests’ learning about these remarkable sea creatures.
Technology has also been woven into many aspects of the exhibit’s activities. HD projection screens throughout the exhibit share footage of unique seahorse behaviors. Guests will also be able to “create their own” seahorse or sea dragon using custom technology. The aquarium has made sure that free WiFi is available in the exhibit so that guests can participate in the seahorse scavenger hunt, “Seek and Find.” The scavenger hunt will ask guests to solve clues that will lead them to hidden seahorses in the coral reefs on the walls.
Seahorses: Unbridled Fun also aims to leave guests with education about seahorse conservation. Many seahorse species are found in coastal marine ecosystems, and the exhibit will not only teach guests about where seahorses are found in the wild, but also about what they can do to help protect seahorses and their natural habitats. Guests will also learn about how seahorses are considered “indicator species,” which means that seahorse populations are good reflections of the overall health of their habitats.
Visitors to the Newport Aquarium will find the new seahorse exhibit located between the existing “Shore Gallery” and the “Dangerous and Deadly” exhibits.