When the Caribbean Journey expansion opens in May 2017, it will take guests on an unforgettable adventure above and below the waters of the Yucatan Peninsula. The expansion will add 71,000 square feet of exhibit space to the Aquarium, more than doubling its size. Guests will begin their expedition through the Caribbean in the jungle, gradually venturing through wetlands, Mayan Ruins, coastal lagoons, coral reefs, and the open sea.
Upon entering the Caribbean Journey, guests will climb up to find a cenote, emulating the Yucatan’s captivating waterfalls and limestone sinkholes. They’ll pass through to emerge into a giant naturally-lit jungle, with nothing but a towering glass atrium between them and the sky. Attentive guests will spot birds flying between trees, iguanas crawling along branches, and quail scurrying about. Like intrepid explorers, guests will navigate this pathway, encountering wildlife at every turn.
Among the first animals guests will find will be vibrant flamingos, posing in a swamp. Discovering the ruins of a Mayan temple, they’ll peek in to see reptiles waiting in the dark. Continuing on, guests will spot crocodiles lurking in the Karst Pool, and a mangrove forest housing fish and wading birds. From there, guests will begin to be transported from the jungle to the ocean. At the surface of the H-E-B Caribbean Shark Overlook, all seems calm. But looking down, guests will see the ocean’s most infamous predators on the hunt.
Guests will also be able to peer into colorful habitats at the Coral Reef and Blue Hole Overlooks. Along their way, guests will pass touch pools filled with sharks and stingrays, and will soon arrive at the ominous entrance of the Mayan Ruins, and can venture inside to see vampire bats and Jamaican fruit bats.
Now it’s time to dive below the waves. Guests will descend into the depths and come face-to-face with countless unique creatures, including lobsters, eels, and tropical fish. Guests will get the experience of being underwater in the open ocean–all without having to get wet!
Walking through the clear blue waters, guests will be in awe at the sudden sight of an ancient shipwreck. An 118-foot tunnel will guide guests past the remnants of this ship, where prowling among the wreckage, they’ll see the sharks they previously spied from above. But now, they’ll find they are surrounded!
Nothing to worry about, though; guests will safely exit the tunnel and be able to enter a 4-D theater. This state-of-the-art auditorium will feature films that give viewers a multi-sensory experience. During shows, audiences will not only see and hear the ocean, but also feel, touch, and even smell it.
Finally, guests can ascend to the top floor, where they’ll be treated to a memorable view of the Caribbean Jungle and the spectacular Corpus Christi Bayfront. Inside, sharks and tropical fish from the lower floor exhibits can be seen swimming right below their feet.
Guests have now traveled through the entire Caribbean Journey expansion, but that doesn’t mean their adventure is over. After passing through the Gift Shop, they can then explore the Gulf of Mexico exhibits and the Dolphin Bay facilities. At day’s end, guests of the Aquarium will leave not only entertained, but with a greater appreciation of ocean life and the need to preserve it.
Learn more about the Caribbean Journey expansion by visiting: texasstateaquarium.org/Caribbean.