National Geographic’s new Encounter exhibition in a true feat of experiential entertainment, drenching visitors in the world of the Pacific Ocean without a single drop of water.
NORTH AMERICA–Right in the heart of the concrete jungle that is Manhattan, National Geographic has installed an ocean.
Not literally of course. In fact, there’s not an ounce of water in sight when you enter National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, open now in New York City’s Times Square. But it sure doesn’t feel that way. From the moment you enter, and travel down an escalator lit with blue, rolling waves and sea life flicking by on a ceiling screen, it feels as though you have descended into the depths of the ocean, a place most of us never get to explore firsthand, until now.
The experience is truly immersive, made all the more enchanting when juxtaposed with the bustling metropolis just beyond its walls.
The 45-minute, interactive exhibit features a range of different activities from a seaweed maze to a dark room that recreates the deepest depths of the ocean to virtual otters who mimic your movements. (Note: Some of the deep water experiences might be a bit scary for younger adventurers, or older ones for that matter).
The Encounters exhibit is the latest activation created by National Geographic’s new licensing team, headed by Rosa Zeegers, executive vice president of consumer products and experiences.
It’s all part of a restructuring of National Geographic that began in September 2015, when National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox expanded their 18-year partnership to form National Geographic Partners, which combined National Geographic television channels with National Geographic's media and consumer-oriented assets including National Geographic magazines, National Geographic Studios, related digital and social media platforms, books, maps, children's media and ancillary activities such as travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, licensing and its e-commerce businesses.
What Zeeger and her team have pulled off in Times Square is truly impressive and highlights the new, innovative approach that NatGeo is taking to its licensing strategy, tapping into the brand’s vast wealth of content and bringing it to life in a completely new way.
Opened Oct. 6, the Encounter exhibition is a permanent attraction, with themes set to change regularly. Future exhibits might take visitors into outer space or let them explore the African savanna. Count us in!
Here's a taste of the current Ocean Odyssey exhibit:
The first room is a real doozy, bringing you to an interactive, underwater reef populated with rays, dolphins, sharks and minnows.
The dizzying seaweed maze.
Playing with otters.