Unlock the Secrets

The Texas State Aquarium’s brand-new Caribbean Journey puts guests right in the middle of the marine action.

Special to Inspire Coastal Bend

Oceans are full of life, with countless thriving ecosystems and active communities – just like on land. But to most people, what lies beneath the surface of the water is a total mystery. The Texas State Aquarium (TSA) provides the key to unlocking the secrets of the marine world.

Here at TSA, the mission is to engage people with animals, inspire appreciation for the sea and support wildlife conservation. The best way to engage and form connections with our natural environment is to interact with it, coming face-to-face with the animals and plants that make up these wondrous marine worlds. That’s why TSA makes sure that exhibits do more than show guests underwater life – here, they’ll be part of it.

As the official state aquarium of Texas, TSA strives to stay ahead of the field and provide a premier, one-of-a-kind experience for visitors. As they say, everything is bigger in Texas – and now TSA is, too, with a new adventure in store for the Coastal Bend community! Opening May 13, 2017, a brand-new, 71,000-square-foot addition called Caribbean Journey brings the lush natural wonders of Mexico and the Caribbean right to your fingertips.

“Caribbean Journey dramatically expands the guest experience with one-of-a-kind, immersive exhibits that bring the marine world of the Caribbean Sea to life in the Gulf Coast of Texas,” says Texas State Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid. “This substantial expansion – the first since Dolphin Bay was added in 2003 – elevates the aquarium visit into a highly interactive and educational experience that is a must-see for marine life enthusiasts of all ages.”

Guests won’t just see the sharks, tropical Caribbean fishes, birds and reptiles that make up the ecosystems of coastal Mexico and the Caribbean. At TSA, visitors are invited to create their own experience. Walking through the 68-foot-long underwater acrylic tunnel (the longest in North America) puts one right in the middle of the marine action.

Being surrounded by the ocean brings this aquatic ecosystem to life. There’s even a shipwreck to explore! From touch tanks to jungle pools with crocodiles to coral reefs teeming with life, Caribbean Journey is a captivating experience that draws visitors in to become part of the experience.

With more than 4,000 animals and 390 species onsite, there’s something for everyone at TSA. There are a variety of sharks, including sandbar and nurse sharks, and macaws, Caribbean flamingos, keel-billed toucans and more for bird lovers. The ecosystems represented in Caribbean Journey feature a full range of animals and plants to truly showcase the awe-inspiring richness of these environments.

Caribbean Journey is more than thrilling – it’s educational. “The Texas State Aquarium prides itself on education, conservation and leading innovation to make marine-life exploration accessible for all,” says the Texas State Aquarium VP of Education and Conservation Leslie Peart.

In addition to conservation efforts like treating approximately 346 injured animals in 2016, TSA goes beyond interactive exhibits to provide a well-rounded educational experience for all. The opening of Caribbean Journey brings a new, multi-sensory 4-D theater that uses state-of-the-art digital technology to make marine-themed films an immersive experience teaching visitors more about the ecosystems and animals they’re interacting with during their time at TSA.

To celebrate the opening of Caribbean Journey, TSA is premiering the film, “Shark: A 4-D Experience,” which explores the complex nature of sharks and their survival instincts. The film spotlights 10 species of sharks and places viewers right in the action, with stunning underwater visuals and perfectly-timed special effects. Viewers won’t be in danger, but their hearts will be pounding!

Caribbean Journey offers an exciting, one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience one of North America’s premier aquariums. TSA connects people with nature and inspires in them an appreciation for the wonders of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Come check it out!

For more information, visit www.texasstateaquarium.org.

Photos courtesy of Texas State Aquarium