Shark Reef Aquarium to add a virtual reality theater

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Ocean Explorer Virtual Reality Theater will screen a pair of films that feature tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks and humpback whales.
Ocean Explorer Virtual Reality Theater will screen a pair of films that feature tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks and humpback whales.

The experience at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino will get even more immersive when a virtual reality theater opens in mid-March.

The 36-seat, motion platform Ocean Explorer Virtual Reality (VR) Theater will screen two live-action films in addition to hosting interactive exhibitions.

The films show underwater creatures up close in their natural environment. "Swimming With Humpbacks" chronicles the journey and behaviors of mother humpback whales and their calves as they migrate during mating season. "Shark Dive" visits Tiger Beach, a shallow sand flat about an hour by boat from West End on Grand Bahama Island, a reliable spot to photograph tiger sharks and hammerheads.

Guests will wear VR headsets and experience seat movement during the six-minute films, recommended for visitors age 5 and older.

Shark Reef Aquarium partnered with Immotion Group, a company that specializes in immersive virtual reality experiences, on the installation.

Entry to Ocean Explorer will be included with aquarium admission ($22 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and older and $15 for children 4 to 12).

Shark Reef Aquarium, a $40 million facility that opened in 2000, is the only Nevada institution to be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The aquarium is home to 100 species, including 12 species of sharks, and more than 2,000 animals in all.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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