A virtual water experience is coming to Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas, at Moody Gardens. A limited-time attraction, the just opened Reef Rescue is an interactive experience allowing visitors take a VR dive, exploring a coral reef in a 360-degree immersive experience.
16 visitors at a time get to suit up in a “diving mask” and remotely pilot their own ROVER, which stands for Remotely Operated Vehicles for Exploring Reefs. They have a mission: to assist in the restoration of the undersea home of fish living in the Great Barrier Reef. The ride’s conservation message is strong, encouraging guests to help return the reef to health through clean-up efforts that include planting new branches of coral, water clean-up, and fish feeding. The ride is billed as the world’s first high-capacity, interactive VR experience.
The ride dovetails nicely with the Moody Gardens mission and initiative, which according to CEO and president John Zendt is all about “education and conservation as well as recreation.”
Moody Gardens is a public, non-profit educational destination, which nonetheless offers a wide range of entertainment experiences, from an aquarium and penguin habitat; a small waterpark with beach area, called Palm Beach; primarily open during summer months, as well as paddle boat rides; a ropes course; a zip line; and both a 3D theater with among the largest screens in the state, and a 4D theater. Reef Rescue is positioned inside the gardens’ visitor center; and while educational in nature, it’s designed to be a lot of fun too. The ride is a separate $7 admission per guest, $6 for Moody Gardens members. Zendt explains that a dollar from every ticket sold goes toward conservation.
There are three main attraction areas in Moody Gardens: the Aquarium Pyramid, the Rainforest Pyramid, and the Discovery Pyramid which features science related exhibitions and activities. Reef Rescue’s development comes from Super 78, based in Los Angeles, Calif. The Super 78 team worked on the Sponge Bob SubPants adventure at the park, which received a Thea Award in 2015.
Value Passes at Moody Gardens are $69.95 for single day and $89.95 for two-day admission. The passes allow admission to all attractions; individual tickets are available at varying prices depending up the attraction. Memberships are $140 for individuals, and $475 for a family of four.