Sunday, January 22, 2017 – Sunday, May 14, 2017
Free with Aquarium Admission

Embark on a journey through our watersheds to see how everyone’s actions on land affect our ocean. Make it rain in a 3-D watershed model! Pilot a full-size “submersible” from mountain stream all the way to the ocean, discovering eye-popping aquatic species and habitats along the way! Be a biologist and find out fun facts about these animals and their environments. Guide “water” safely through a hazardous maze—but watch out for oil, mined metals and animal waste! Turn cranks to divert “pollutants” as they travel through stormwater drains in an 8-station interactive ball machine. Curl up with a book or play with early childhood exhibits inside the Riverside Clubhouse. Ocean Bound! presents fun environmental science for the whole family.

Four themed exhibit clusters invite visitors to learn about watersheds and the ocean, and the aquatic animals and ecosystems depend on them:

  1. Using Science to Understand Watersheds introduces the exhibition. Move a “rain cloud” over a 3-D terrain model to see how water cascades down mountains, collects in rivers, and flows out to the ocean. Interact with a large backlit map to find out where your watershed is in North America and where it flows—you may be surprised! Flip five clear tubes to learn about how different substances and pollutants in water travel to sea. Then pilot a life-size “submersible” from mountain stream to the ocean, discovering aquatic life and habitats along the way. Spin the dial for eye-popping HD underwater footage, frame-by-frame, slow motion, or at super-fast speed! Be a biologist and discover fun facts about 70 aquatic life forms encountered on your watershed journey.
  2. Recognizing Threats to Watersheds: No matter where we reside, we all depend on our ocean and its resources for medicine, jobs, oxygen and much more. Find out the importance of a healthy ocean as you enjoy HD videos of marine life. An 8-station interactive ball machine represents how water and pollutants flow down storm drains and into waterways: colored balls cascade rapidly from a “storm drain” at the top; spin knobs and flip paddles to divert “pollutants,” and let “clean water” travel to the ocean. How much freshwater do you use? Stack color-coded bags, representing different types of water usage, on a large interactive scale to show your water consumption. Can you balance your freshwater use with what’s needed in Nature? Then guide water safely to sea through a maze on its journey from land to ocean—but beware of hazards—mined metals, oil, fertilizer, and animal waste!
  3. Finding Solutions: Did you know that river otters nearly vanished from their natural habitat? After waterways were cleaned up, the otters made a comeback. Enjoy HD video showing otters eating and romping in snow. Then learn how biologists captured, examined, and reintroduced otters to their original habitat in this success story of watershed recovery! Did you know that ocean dead zones are actually reversible, and that you can help save marine animals and birds by changing your own habits on land? Find some empowering solutions here!
  4. Implementing Change: Duck inside a Riverside Clubhouse! Use a kid-friendly touch screen showing both helpful and harmful behaviors that affect our watershed--spot the polluters and be a Watershed Warrior! Families can curl up in the Clubhouse and enjoy illustrated books about watersheds, aquatic animals, and conservation. At Stop! Think!, watch videos connecting human actions with environmental impact: bad habits lead to polluted environments, and good habits sustain healthy environments. We learn that we can help lots of animals and our watershed just by changing our own behaviors!

Ocean Bound! was loaned to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center by the Sciencenter, and was by the Sciencenter with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).