The salient features of Ocean Expo will include: marine mammal shows, aquarium exhibits, aviary with free flying birds, butterfly exhibit, reef tank with sharks and stingrays, touch pools, interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations, and a 3-D theater. One of the attractions will be the snorkeling river. Patrons will be able to swim in this recreation of coastal shallows as it winds and snakes its way through the Ocean Expo complex. It will house dozens of aquatic animal and plant species that will be just waiting to be discovered. Visitors to Ocean Expo will have access to picnic areas, a rainforest restaurant, gift shops, and harbor tours. We foresee Ocean Expo to be an interactive facility with a lot of activities that patrons can touch, feel, and experience.
This, one-of- a-kind, marine education center will provide both students and the general public an opportunity to learn about nature and marine mammals. This facility will be open to the public and provide a much needed family attraction for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Ocean Expo Learning Center project is meant not only to enhance the quality of life of the area and the community, but would also make the Mississippi Gulf Coast a family-destination attraction. It would have a tremendous impact on the local economies and would be an impetus to beautify and enhance the Mississippi Gulf Coast areas that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Presently, IMMS is the only public marine education facility on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. When fully completed, Ocean Expo is expected to draw approximately750,000 visitors per year and employ about 250 individuals.
The content included in this concept design/programming package is the product of a collaborative effort between the design team and key members of the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies. The EGH/tvsdesign team believes that this facility as outlined in this package includes the ingredients to being a one-of-a-kind underwater adventure, with a more engaging and authentic experience than most typical aquariums.