Augmented Reality Comes to Life at Mystic Aquarium

Wild Arctic Exhibit Opens on April 6
Mystic, CT – Humpback whales and walruses now at Mystic Aquarium? Not literally but virtually, beginning this weekend. Just in time for school vacation, Mystic Aquarium will debut Wild Arctic, an augmented reality journey that will provide guests an unbelievable encounter with some of the Arctic’s most amazing creatures.
“We believe this hi-tech exhibit is one more way that we can help establish a deeper connection with our visitors to this remote environment and its engaging inhabitants,” said Katie Cubina, Senior Vice President, Mission Programs.
Of course, the most compelling way that Mystic Aquarium engages children and families is through important animal ambassadors like its beluga whales.
Wild Arctic uses multiple high-end projection systems and state-of-the-art computer-generated animation to completely transform the exhibit area into a fully immersive trip to the Arctic. Through the magic of augmented reality, visitors come face-to-face with a live streaming video of themselves interacting virtually with wild animals.
Visitors are immediately swept up into an encounter with Arctic species including a polar bear, walruses and a breaching humpback whale.  By stepping onto the ‘hot spot,’ guests are completely immersed into the Arctic adventure.
The addition of the Wild Arctic exhibit further solidifies Mystic Aquarium as a destination for interactive family fun.
But it’s not all just fun and games.
A rapidly changing Arctic poses concerns to the welfare of marine mammals in the natural environment. By creating authentic connections through exhibits like the Arctic Coast Beluga Whale habitat and simulations like the Wild Arctic Augmented Journey, Mystic Aquarium is able to reach mass audiences to inspire a greater understanding of this incredible region and promote a conservation ethic and action for change.
While visitors engage with augmented reality in Wild Arctic, Mystic Aquarium scientists and veterinarians are actively engaged in pure and applied research aimed at conserving Arctic species. 
Each year, Mystic Aquarium scientists conduct research expeditions to Alaska and other Arctic locations to monitor the health of wild populations of beluga whales and determine whether climate change, pollution and other factors are having an impact on their well-being. This work can and will directly impact the Arctic ecosystem and its inhabitants like beluga whales, polar bears, walrus and others.
Mystic Aquarium continually strives to create new ways, like through the use of Augmented Reality showcased in Wild Arctic, to build the connection, channel the social action and promote positive conservation behaviors.
“It’s the Arctic within your reach, right here in Connecticut,” added Cubina.