Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
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Exploration Center: You oughta be in ocean pictures

During your next visit to the Aquarium, head to the Exploration Center to experience an ocean studio. This fun area was designed with kids in mind to give them a chance to experience the wonders of the ocean and the magic of the movies. The studio contains everything a young actor or director needs to set the stage for a great sea show: costumes, backdrops and camera. All you have to do is add the action.

First, actors get to choose a role as an animal or scientist. The costume department features a turtle, a garibaldi (California’s state marine fish), a sting ray, a sea slug, a sea star, a pipefish, a hermit crab, a flatfish, a masking crab and gear for a diver, marine biologist of fisherman. This diverse selection allows kids to stage a one-man show or an action-packed adventure scene featuring several Southern California animals.

The territorial garibaldi is a great choice for a solo-act since these fish scare off intruders by making thumping noises and acting erratically, which is a good survival tactic but not a great way to make friends. Group acts could be anything from a “Little Mermaid” inspired song and dance number to a “Finding Nemo” action sequence. And since this isn’t Hollywood, there is no need for a guaranteed box office hit. All original ideas, independent productions and risky investments are welcome.

Second, actors must switch hats and temporarily become directors to pick the best backdrop for their movie. There are three Southern California habitats to choose from including eel grass, the rocky shore or the kelp forest. Pick one backdrop for the entire movie or rotate between scenes. All directors have to do is flip the cloth screens that are framed and mounted to the wall to make the switch.

CMA staff members are always on hand to answer questions and provide production assistance if directors would like to match their ocean character to its natural habitat. Or be extra-creative and start as a run of the mill pipefish living in eelgrass that acquires superpowers and conquers the pounding waves of the rocky shore. It’s the movies so anything is possible.

Lastly, it’s time to yell action and start the movie! A television and video camera mounted to the ceiling capture everything in real time and allow stars to watch as the movie unfolds with ocean sound effects and special wave lighting. The ocean studio gives kids a chance to use their imagination, learn about the ocean and have fun.

Post Date: Friday, December 21, 2012


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