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A new exhibition at the Natural History museum is a dream-like dive into the ocean’s depths

Will Gleason

A new exhibition that opens Monday at the American Museum of Natural History is a deep dive into the most unexplored part of the planet.

Unseen Oceans” utilizes groundbreaking new technology like robotics, high-definition imaging, miniaturization and satellite monitoring to highlight remarkable things that can be found under the sea. (Between this and The Shape of Water winning Best Picture, sea creatures are really having a moment!) From glowing sharks to floating plankton and giant squid, you’ll be able to come face-to-face with the animals that call the ocean home—some for the very first time. If your favorite part of visiting the museum is standing under that giant whale, this one's for you.

“All life on our planet depends on the oceans, yet they remain one of the last great frontiers,” the museum’s president Ellen V. Futter said in a statement. “Today, a new generation of marine scientists with a pioneering spirit of ingenuity and adventure and an explosion of technological and imaging advances, are creating a golden age of ocean exploration, yielding astonishing discoveries at dark and mysterious depths."

Photograph: Courtesy Roderick Mickens AMNH

The watery new show begins in a room full of digital projections that transport visitors to a typical beach. It’s realistic enough that you may catch yourself stepping back a bit to avoid the lapping waves as they crash on the floor below you. Then, you make your way through various rooms, each examining an exciting new discovery.

An immersive 3D theater lets you reach out and “touch” animals like the blue whale as they swim past you, a floor-to-ceiling installation presents various mysterious creatures found in the ocean that glow in the dark (bioluminescence if you're nasty) and there are even some live animals, including a catshark. Throughout the exhibition, “Meet the Scientist” stations help you get to know the people that made the discoveries a bit better.

For those in it for the ‘gram, a life-size Triton submarine replicable is also on-hand for you to fulfill all of your childhood Titanic fantasies. (Well, at least the ones that don’t involve Leonardo DiCaprio.) 

“Unseen Oceans” will be on view at the museum through January 6, 2019.

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