Have you ever experienced seeing a movie in 4-D? Ever seen a vampire bat in person? Have you seen the new attractions at the Texas State Aquarium lately? If not, what is taking you so long? Down at 2710 N Shoreline Blvd in Corpus Christi, taking the Harbor Bridge to get there, the local aquarium has been around since 1990 with the intention to preserve and rehabilitate any wildlife within the Gulf’s region, developing many outreaches and raising money through fundraisers within the last couple of decades. In 2017, the aquarium developed their Caribbean Journey section to add to its location, doubling in size to introduce new wildlife that would be staying there. The Caribbean Journey section of the aquarium includes a jungle aviary, where flamingos are planted on the ground up to other free-flying birds up above, a two-toed sloth, even a little vampire bat within its own Mayan-styled hut to keep it in the dark along with its Red-Tailed Boa neighbor. Taking the escalators to the floor below, you will find some beautiful artwork by Sheila Rogers that shows the damages of beach pollution, but turning it into incredible 3-D art.
Across from the artwork you will be able to see the H-E-B Caribbean Sea, where this 350,000-gallon tank not only lets you view its sharks, stingrays and various fish from one side, but you could also view the other side through an underwater tunnel to give you the perspective of being inside the tank, walking next to a sunken ship, watch stingrays stick to the glass tunnel above you and enjoy watching them slide down. Once you leave the tunnel, you can head over to the aquarium’s 4-D theater, sponsored by Whataburger, that variates every half hour between an educational film (currently playing Sharks: a BBC Documentary, about 10-12 minutes long) and a more kid-friendly film (currently playing Ice Age, the 4D Experience). Senior environmental science major, Breanna Hild, also an employee at the aquarium, was kind enough to explain how a 4-D movie experience would be like. For those who have not been able to experience a 4-D film, you are basically watching a 3-D movie, but while also using the rest of your senses such as touch as smell like feeling bubbles flying in the theater once the screen shows the viewer they are going “underwater” and bubbles are released on screen. Hild has been working at the aquarium since September of 2017 but has been going since May of 2017 when she started off with an internship at the aquarium over the summer. “It’s a great environment to work in,” Hild said. “Especially with what I’m aspiring to do after I graduate with an environmental science degree, it’s a great way to learn about conservation of the wildlife.”