Voyage to the Deep at Mote's New Exhibit

Things To Do

Pictured: The Voyage to the Deep Exhibit at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium Photos Courtesy of: The Australian National Maritime Museum, Flying Fish and Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Dive into marine adventures this spring at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium’s temporary exhibit, Voyage to the Deep. The novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea served as inspiration for the exhibition, which intertwines Jules Verne’s fantastical story with real-life learning about modern and historical submarines.

Verne’s story tells the tale of Captain Nemo and his submarine, the Nautilus, which uses advanced technology to traverse the oceans. The Nautilus is the centerpiece of the interactive exhibit and delights both adults who enjoyed the book as well as young children still getting their sea legs. “Visually, you walk in and get the feeling that you are 20,000 leagues under the sea, from the lighting to the kelp forest to the giant squid that’s on top of the submarine,” says Betsy Kohl, Mote’s membership manager.

Guests can climb aboard the Nautilus, exploring every nook and cranny of the ship. Screens allow passengers to steer the ship through the water, and one section of the Nautilus is dedicated to Captain Nemo’s treasure collection and marine research. Explorers can play Nemo’s pipe organ, discover the geographical origins of his treasure chest and rummage through his vast collection of marine discoveries and artifacts. Visitors can also check out the submarine’s galley kitchen, bunks and lockers, and fans of the book can search for easter eggs from the story.

Throughout the exhibit, which is bilingual in English and Spanish, signs, videos and hands-on games teach visitors about the inner workings of a submarine and oceanic research. “We wanted our guests to really connect with our scientists and feel empowered to go out and learn about the world and do good things in their own time,” adds Samantha Bledstein, Mote’s senior exhibits coordinator. “We wanted them to know what it’s like to be a scientist and be in their flippers.” Visitors can even adopt a giant squid, like the one from the novel, as part of Mote’s adopt an animal program, further connecting them with the aquarium’s research efforts.

For the Mote team, Voyage to the Deep represents an opportunity for visitors of all ages to enjoy the magic of the sea. “We have a lot of families who come visit us and we’ve been trying to bring in more family-focused exhibits,” Bledstein says, “and this one seemed perfect because it can appeal to every age group and it gives the kids a place to run around, learn and be scientists.”

Voyage to the Deep and the Adopt a Giant Squid program run through mid-May. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, mote.org.

Pictured: The Voyage to the Deep Exhibit at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium Photos Courtesy of: The Australian National Maritime Museum, Flying Fish and Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

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