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National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey was amazing

Kidsday reporters, from left, Emily Wyman, Grace Oliveri,

Kidsday reporters, from left, Emily Wyman, Grace Oliveri, Sierra Roizman and Ellie Crowley at the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey exhibit. Credit: Marsha McLeod

Let the pulse-pounding sea life surround you! Immerse yourself in the gentle, shallow waters. Surrender your doubts and let the vibrant colors of the ocean welcome you. Explore National Geographic’s life-changing Ocean Odyssey.

We boarded the Long Island Rail Road on our way to the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in Manhattan. Within a block of the building, we realized that it was right next door to Guy Fieri’s restaurant. We walked through the spinning doors and down the escalator. Mist was coming down above our heads. The encounter was cool already. The entire place was lit up in blue light.

First was the pre-show. We could feel the music going down our spines. Then we walked into a room, which had screens all around. As we walked to a preferable spot, we seemed to be stepping into shallow water. There were small fish and eels going crazy under our feet. Different species of colorful fish swimming below swarmed the sand. The sea eels were elegant when they glided. We were all so eager to finally enter the exhibit. All we could see was a black curtain. We were just experiencing the pre-show, and it was already great.

The exhibit itself made us feel as if we were actually immersed in the ocean. The exhibit acted like a simulator.

The next exhibit we approached was the coral reef. We immediately noticed the vibrant colors as we were led further through Earth’s gorgeous oceans. In there the coral reef actually created the walls and the floor. Moving our hands around let us control virtual small fish and plankton. This adventure was awesome so far. We discovered a terrifying “red devil” squid with up to 40,000 razor-sharp teeth used efficiently to hunt its prey. These squid were aggressive and they actually ate each other.

We left that room through a mirror maze, which looked like a kelp forest. The mirror maze made us quite anxious to escape. As 3-D glasses adorned our faces, we saw seals, sharks and schools of fish, as well as a humpback whale, which ate us (not literally). Everything looked so realistic.

We were off to Explorers’ Hall. Different images and audio voices about underwater life pumped through each bubble.

The last exhibit came up quite quickly. For the finale, we entered an area of the building where we watched educational video, participated in hands-on activities and took an oath to protect the sea. Around the room were several quotes, and here is one that had an effect on us: “Destroying a coral reef is like turning a tropical forest into a parking lot,” said Enric Sala, a marine ecologist.

Will you please try to help protect nature too? Visit the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey at 226 W. 44th St., or go online to natgeoencounter.com

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