Monterey Bay Aquarium are always striving to create more ways for visitors to enjoy the underwater world. Their latest exhibit will give many the opportunity to see new jellies close up. It is one of the most magical works of nature and without exhibits like these, the average people will never be able to view it close up.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s new jellies exhibit opens Saturday
Jellies are kind of like nature’s lava lamp, man.
Floating with sluggish grace through the ocean deep, with colorful, neon glows and translucent qualities, jellies lend themselves to psychedelic imagery, something not lost on Monterey Bay Aquarium exhibit curators.
The Jellies Experience, which opens to the public Saturday, is the aquarium’s newest installation featuring the popular sea creatures. This is the aquarium’s third special jellies exhibit since 1985.
Jellies have been on permanent exhibition since 1996.
While the groovy themes, Day-Glo textures and trippy displays harken an Age of Aquarius-style throwback, the galleries use a number of 21st century technologies — infrared motion sensors, touch-screen animation, pulse-sensory displays — to give visitors a true jelly experience.
“The Jellies Experience is going to look and feel very different from anything else we’ve done before with jellies,” said Ken Peterson, aquarium communications director. “It’s going to be very interactive, very hands-on. Fifteen amazing live exhibits on jellies we’ve never had before, and definitely showing off some different sides of their lives that we haven’t in the past.”
The 15 live animal exhibits are part of the half-dozen different galleries, each of which explore a different dimension of life as a jellyfish.
The first part is the jelly’s dance, focusing more on their grace and their movements.
Another exhibit, called “Radial Nature,” introduces visitors to the distinct physical makeup of jellies.
“Jellies aren’t symmetrical, left and right, like we are as people,” said Peterson. “They’re asymmetrical like a wheel. So we explore that nature of their shape.”
Part of the exhibit features a kaleidoscope projection. Visitors stand in front of the projection, and with the help of a hidden camera, their own image is projected on the screen in a kaleidoscope-vision.
“Jellies Fantastic” features touch-screen displays that allow visitors to draw their own jellies, then send them out into a virtual ocean that is projected on a large wall. Visitors can even email their jelly creations to themselves.
Perhaps the trippiest display is the Jellies Light Show, which re-creates how jellies produce light through bioluminescence, or chemicals produced through their body.
Some jellies produce the lights through phosphorescence and through movements in the water. When this occurs, it creates an effect of sparkles and explosions underwater.
“That definitely lends itself to some great interactives, some great exhibits,” said Peterson.
Ultimately, the exhibit’s aim is to inform visitors on the fascinating world of jellies, with emphasis on conservation.
“When people can see for themselves the beauty and diversity of ocean life, they come away with a deeper appreciation for the importance of a healthy ocean to our own survival,” said aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard, in a statement. “I hope this new jellies exhibit will continue to inspire our visitors to see the connection and get involved as stewards of our ocean planet.”
If you go
What: The Jellies Experience
Where: Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Monterey
When: Opens at 9:30a.m. Saturday. Regular aquarium times vary by date.
Cost: Included with aquarium admission. Tickets are $34.95 adult; $29.95 for seniors (over 65) and students (with I.D.); $19.95 children and disabled visitors; under 3 free.
More information: 648-4800; www.montereybay aquarium.or…
There will be new experiences for the young and matured visitors alike. If you are member, it would be great to take advantage of your membership to make a visit there soon. Be sure to pass the information around to your family and friends. They too will enjoy this.
Photo credits to amp photo, twicepix & chidorian / www.flickr.com