“We’re going to tell the king the sky is falling.”
And he says, “Come along, and I’ll show you the road, Goosie-Poosey, Ducky-Daddles, Cocky-Locky, Henny-Penny.”
And they went, and they went, and they went, till they came to the fox’s hole. And he shoved them all in, and he and his young ones ate them all up, and they never got to tell the king the sky was falling.
I’ve been to a lot of aquariums in my life. I love zoos and aquariums. I love animals and learning all about them. So it is no big surprise that I’ve visited the Aquarium of the Pacific more than once. Somes, because I write for my blog and, at times, other publications, I’ve been able to visit free of charge. And this week was another such adventure.
Twice a year, the Aquarium of the Pacific partners with Harbor Breeze Cruises to host whale watching excursions. The first time I went, it was AMAZING! So, since I’m moving to New York this year, I thought I’d take advantage of this last opportunity to see some whales and visit the Aquarium. I was especially interested in the new Pacific Visions wing, which opened in May 2019. The wing is the first major expansion project ever undertaken by the Aquarium and is a two-story, 29,000-square-foot structure designed by the San Francisco-based architecture and design firm EHDD.
What follows are some thoughts about my day’s experience.
Whale Not Watching
Alas, wild animals do not take appointments. You never know what you’ll get to see when you’re out to sea. Although I’ve been on two successful whale-watching trips, this was not one. All we saw were birds, a pod of dolphins and quite a bit of flotsam. Here’s a video summary:
That said, we were aboard one of the newer Harbor Breeze ships that had a really nice interior. I never went outside and still had an excellent view. I didn’t miss the bitter-cold wind in my hair at all!
The Pacific Visions Wing
According to the Aquarium’s website, Pacific Visions is the new focal point of the Institution and offers visitors “innovative ways to understand our connections to Earth, the World Ocean, and contemporary scientific research.” My experience was mixed.
What I Liked About the New Wing
The look and feel of the new wing are beautiful. It was designed to suggest the form of a whale and “evokes the size, depth, variability, luminosity, and biological diversity of the Pacific Ocean.” It truly is a stunning design both inside and out.
Click on the image to open up the full size.
Included in the new wing is a state-of-the-art immersive theater, expanded special exhibition and art galleries, and additional space for live animal exhibits. This space, which can be used for not only new exhibits but also performances and cultural events, holds a lot of potential for future exhibits.
During the movie, the seats rumble at appropriate times, and I was told that scents can be added in, as well.
In other words, the new wing has a lot of “wow” factor going for it.
What I Did Not Like About the New Wing
The movie currently showing in the theatre is all about developing new, sustainable methods for producing food, water, and energy. These are all laudable goals that I’m all for. However, the way in which they were presented was very in your face and obviously fueled by political agenda. Here are the things I did not like about the movie:
1. The Hostess
Colombian-American actress Isabella Gomez is the host and narrator of the film. She is perky and enthusiastic and was probably chosen to appeal to audience members under the age of 30. However, given the content of the film, I think a narrator with a bit more gravitas is called for. If they wanted someone young, perhaps Camren Bicondova (Selina Kyle on Gotham) would have been a better choice. I would have gone for someone like Morgan Freeman, myself.
2. The Presentation of Science
3. Fear Mongering
Because they were stating theories and projections as fact, the movie could easily engender fear in young audience members who don’t have the life experience to take where they’re hearing with a grain of salt. Ms. Gomez cheerfully tells the audience that we’re going to run out of food and water if we don’t do something now.
My personal belief is that the human race has been given the role of stewards of this planet. And therefore, I’m all for developing creative ways to develop alternate forms of agriculture and animal husbandry, especially if we can do so humanely. I’m all for developing new and innovative ways to produce energy. I especially liked the idea of using wind-power technology to collect the energy stored in the ocean’s currents. However, I don’t want to be bullied or scared into doing these things.
The film clearly had a leftist ecological agenda that I think would be much more effective if discussed in more down-to-Earth terms and not like Chicken Little proclaiming that the sky is falling.
The heavy-handed eco-agenda didn’t stop there. After the movie, you can exit out the back and enter into the second-floor exhibit about the “future city.” It is filled is demonstrations that go into greater detail about the concepts in the film.
Do we need to be better stewards of the planet? Yes.
Do we need to be thinking about being more efficient with the land and waters we have so that future generations can enjoy what we enjoy? Yes.
Do we need to be scared into it? Do we need to be misled into thinking things are worse than they are? No.
I think this new wing is worth a visit. The interactive technologies used are cool. However, be prepared to be virtually bludgeoned over the head with an “the sky is falling” eco-ideology.
Click on image ot open larger version.