Reef Rescue is a new VR experience at Moody Gardens that lets up to 15 players virtually dive in a colorful 360 degree coral reef environment. Each player's avatar is a mini submarine and there are tasks to accomplish, but be forewarned that great white sharks are always lurking nearby, in search of their next meal.
"There is a pesky shark, as always. Yeah, you’ve got to watch out for the sharks but of course all animals under the sea are our friends. They belong in the ocean just as much as all other sea creatures," says Kevin Aguilar, public relations coordinator for Moody Gardens.
Rack up points by blasting trash into oblivion, planting coral and feeding fish. Players can view their own scores on robotic arms, then see how they compare on the leaderboard after the game ends.
"It’s really unique. We’re so in tune with our technology and smart phones. Adults are really responding well; it’s a lot of fun," says Aguilar, who says the game also communicates an important message by calling attention to how marine debris can damage important marine habitats, such as coral reefs. Humans and their trash are one of the biggest dangers to the health of our oceans.
"After playing the game and upon exit you’ll see signage in the gaming area that has tips for what you can do to save the coral reefs: Planting a tree to reduce runoff, conserving water, talking to representatives to take action, bringing more awareness, supporting reef friendly businesses."
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Aguilar suggests pairing Reef Rescue with a trip to the Aquarium Pyramid. "It's really fun. Play the game first, get the 360 degree experience going and then walk over to the aquarium for a hands-on experience," says Aguilar, about the touch tanks featuring jelly fish, stingrays and other crustaceans.
Reef Rescue was developed by Super 78, a media production company that has designed flying films, interactive character experiences, 4D attractions, and immersion tunnels.
Reef Rescue continues through spring 2020 at 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard, Galveston. For information, call 409-744-4673 or visit moodygardens.org. $6 to $7.
Access to the Aquarium Pyramid calls for a separate ticket, $25.95 to $31.95; free for children ages 0-3.