OdySea Aquarium welcomes its newest exhibit for visitors this November! Guests are invited to dive beneath the surface of the world’s rivers in the new exhibition “Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants,” opening November 10th. Enormous in size and rapidly dwindling in number, these ancient fish play critical roles in their freshwater habitats. Dr. Zeb Hogan, aquatic ecologist, National Geographic Fellow and host of the Nat Geo WILD series “Monster Fish,” has spent nearly two decades searching for and studying the rare, large freshwater fish species profiled in the exhibition. The interactive exhibition will include five extraordinary, life-size sculptures of monster fish as well as videos and hands-on interactive activities for audiences of all ages. “Monster Fish” will remain open at OdySea Aquarium until May 5, 2019.
“Monster Fish” takes visitors on a journey to river basins around the world to learn about colossal fish and the people that depend on them. Through detailed maps, sculptures and custom illustrations, the exhibition showcases close to 20 fish species and their diverse freshwater ecosystems. In addition to highlighting the biology of each species, the exhibit depicts the cultural ties between the fish and local people. From mythical tales and storied traditions to threats and conservation efforts, visitors will leave with a greater understanding of the connection between humans and fish.
“This fascinating exhibition is a trip around the world with one of Nat Geo’s favorite Explorers in search of bizarre and extraordinary species of freshwater fish,” said National Geographic’s vice president of Public Experiences, Kathryn Keane. “Zeb Hogan shows us that despite their size, these fish are an increasingly fragile link in some of the most important freshwater ecosystems on Earth.”
In addition to life-size models and live fish (not monster varieties) in aquariums representing various habitats, “Monster Fish” features several interactive elements and games designed to provide visitors with opportunities to learn about how monster fish grow; how scientists study them; and how anglers and others can help these fish survive. In “Monster Size Me,” users maneuver a marble through a circular obstacle course, avoiding threats like invasive species and dams and seeking ways to grow areas like protected habitats. In “Minnow or Monster,” groups can step onto a large scale to see their equivalent weight in monster fish. The “Go Fish” game invites children to use magnetic fishing poles to catch fish and then place them into a chute for release back into the river. A model boat serves as a theater, which guests can climb aboard to view five video shorts featuring Hogan talking about what it is like to search the world for monster fish.
Hogan’s Nat Geo WILD series “Monster Fish,” is currently in its seventh season. In each episode, Hogan immerses himself in a local culture, where fishing is often more than a sport or even a profession — it’s a way of life. He tastes the regional cuisine, mingles at fish markets, listens to the harrowing stories of native fishermen and sleeps where his local guides do. For more information on the series, visit www.natgeowild.com.
University of Nevada, Reno, where Hogan is a researcher, is the educational partner for the “Monster Fish” exhibition and provides support for Hogan’s participation in the project. University of Nevada, Reno has created an Educator’s Guide for children in grades 4 through 8 to explore the science and geography behind the exhibition and Hogan’s research. The guide provides a number of interactive activities to engage students before and after a visit to the exhibition.