VR jelly

Photo by Peter Parks


SAN FRANCISCO (May 23, 2019)—Starting Friday, visitors to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco can experience the ocean from an entirely new perspective thanks to Drop in the Ocean, an immersive, social virtual reality experience. Drop in the Ocean is produced by Conservation International and Vision3 in association with Vulcan Productions.

Narrated by explorers, filmmakers, and environmental advocates Philippe and Ashlan Cousteau and built from the photo archive of Academy Award-winning micro-photographer Peter Parks, Drop in the Ocean shrinks participants down to about two inches tall as they hitch a ride on a jellyfish to encounter the mysteries of the deep ocean and directly experience the plastic pollution crisis as sea life does every day.

“At a time when our world’s ocean is facing unprecedented threats, the need to educate, engage, and inspire the public to work towards solutions to sustain these critical ecosystems has never been more important,” says Dr. Elizabeth Bagley, the Academy’s Director of Sustainability and content advisor for Drop in the Ocean. “We’re incredibly excited to partner with Conservation International and Vision3 to immerse Academy visitors in this one-of-a-kind VR experience. While not everyone has access to explore the depths of the ocean, this cutting-edge technology gives everyone an opportunity to marvel at the wonder of our ocean and see first-hand why it’s worth protecting.”

Following its premiere at Tribeca Film Festival in April, Drop in the Ocean will make its public debut at the Academy from May 24-July 14, 2019. Other tour locations are expected to include North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, and the Middle East and will be announced later this year. Bay Area visitors can get a sneak peek of the experience during the Academy’s NightLife event for adults 21+ happening on Thursday, May 23 from 6-10 pm. Tickets for Drop in the Ocean are available on-site at the museum for $12 per person and $10 for Academy members and are not included with daytime admission to the museum. The experience is recommended for ages 13+.

Designed as a 7-minute group interactive VR experience in a custom-built space by New York-based museum design firm Thinc, Drop in the Ocean brings up to four participants together at a time into an open, physical space, allowing full freedom of movement while creating an atmosphere of shared adventure and knowledge gathering. The project is experienced through HP’s new lightweight, high-resolution Reverb headsets. Renowned British electronic music producer Gold Panda composes an original score that captures the emotions of wonder and adventure in the experience.

Conservation International thanks its generous partner SC Johnson and is grateful to work in association with Vulcan Productions. In-kind technology support was provided by HP.

About the California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in scientific research and education—all under one living roof.

About Conservation International

Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking "Nature Is Speaking" campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: "My Africa," “Under the Canopy" and "Valen's Reef." Follow Conservation International's work on our Human Nature blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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