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Futuristic Animal-Free Aquarium Opens in NYC

Guests can now come face-to-face with whales, sharks, and giant squid in their natural habitat without exploiting animals.

An entirely animal-free aquarium recently opened its doors at Times Square in New York City. The Encounter: Ocean Odyssey exhibit—hosted by National Geographic with visuals created by Society for Photographic Education (SPE) Partners—features large screens with moving imagery of whales, dolphins, squid, and sharks that create an immersive viewing experience without exploiting marine life. “Our dream is to create entertainment that matters,” Lisa Truitt, chief creative officer, at SPE Partners, said. “We all feel so strongly that now is the time to focus on real science and the vital importance of keeping our oceans healthy, and entertainment is a critical component of that message.” The animated animals—created by the same team behind the dragons on Game of Thrones—engage in behavior that is difficult to replicate in captivity to create an educational experience (complete with ocean sounds) aimed at children, with an exhibit focused on plastic pollution. A percentage of profits from ticket sales will benefit National Geographic Society’s ocean conservation efforts.

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