By Sandra Morrison
The Florida Aquarium will unveil an exciting new interactive experience, ‘Moon Bay,’ in time for the 2019 summer season. The stars of this touch experience, moon jellies, which are named for their translucent moon like circular bells, are sensational, mesmerizing and prehistoric. This unique experience, to gently interact with jellies, is only the fourth of its kind in the United States. Moon Bay will connect guests to these graceful animals that have inhabited our oceans for more than 500 million years.
The Florida Aquarium’s mission to entertain and educate guests, while inspiring them to protect and restore oceans and waterways, is forefront in this opportunity to touch moon jellies in the first floor lobby of the Aquarium.
“Connecting our guests to the underwater world and inspiring them to care about every animal in the ocean, including jellies, is core to our mission,” said Roger Germann, President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium. “This exciting new touch experience will undoubtedly change perceptions of these amazing animals,provide a rare opportunity for guests to interact with jellies and enhance our world-class guest experience. It will be Tampa Bay’s must-see attraction this summer.”
This unique 2,000-gallon habitat will have two separate areas where the jellies can be touched by visitors. Guests are invited to experience and understand these beautiful animals up close as their bodies glow with the illumination of changing colored lights as they drift gracefully through the water.
Guests will be guided through an interpretive experience and learn fascinating facts, including the importance of moon jellies to our ocean planet and why moon jellies and their relatives are not jellyfish. (The correct term is ‘jellies’ as they are not fish).
Above Moon Bay will be a state-of-the-art digitally mapped projection wall that will bring guests on a journey through the waters of Florida and beyond. This dynamic visual and Moon Bay will transform the guest experience as they enter the Aquarium from the main entrance.
This is the second major exhibit to open at the Aquarium in the past year, following the debut of Heart of the Sea. Heart of the Sea is a renovated 100,000-gallon habitat and is the Aquarium’s second largest aquatic display, second only to a 500,000-gallon Coral Reef habitat, where guests can see more than 400 animals including endangered sea turtles, sharks, coral reef fishes, underwater coral trees and more.