SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment, the industry leader in immersive cinematic attractions, is celebrating the opening of a new 4D movie theatre at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. This will add a new level to the guest experience, with the ability to show 3D films enhanced with special sensory effects, like bubbles, snow, mist, wind and more.
“We’re very excited for our guests to have this fun, new, immersive way of exploring and understanding our world,” says Jason Patlis, president and CEO of The Maritime Aquarium.
“Having a shark swim right off the screen so that you believe you can touch it and feeling the spray as an ocean wave crashes will be memorable shared experiences for kids and parents, students and teachers, young and old. Including a 4D movie is going to be a must during a visit to The Maritime Aquarium.”
4D films on show
The cutting-edge attraction seats 169 guests and was built in partnership with SimEx-Iwerks. It is currently showing two films which play every hour during the day:
- BBC Earth’s Shark: A 4D Experience, a 12-minute film exploring some of the most mysterious shark species from around the world, which complements the Aquarium’s biggest collection of large sharks in New England, and its shark & ray touch pool.
- Ice Age: No Time for Nuts 4D, 9.5 minutes of fun with the franchise’s popular nut-loving sabre-toothed squirrel.
Currently, tickets must be bought in advance for timed entry to the attraction. Following the opening of the theatre, the Aquarium’s main entrance has moved to its bus circle at Ann and North Water streets, alongside the new Sound Bites coffee shop where guests can purchase items from Starbucks’ full menu of hot and cold drinks, as well as refreshments from local bakeries.
“We look for ways big and small to support the local community, and welcoming some of the area’s wonderful bakeries to provide a steady supply of pastries and other foods to the Sound Bites coffee shop is a delicious idea,” Patlis says.
A multipurpose asset
The new theatre is multipurpose and can also show 2D and 3D films. It can also be used to host lectures and events and rented out for corporate presentations and other opportunities.
“We intend to take full advantage of this exciting new resource, with animal and art talks relating to our new exhibit called ‘A Slug’s Life: Facing the Climate Endgame,’ plus a spring lecture series, and other special presentations,” adds Patlis.
During the pandemic, the attraction will adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, including cleaning between shows, machine-cleaning of 3D glasses and other protocols.
The 4D Theater replaces the Aquarium’s original IMAX movie theatre, which closed earlier this year to make way for a federal railroad bridge replacement project. In addition, a 150,000-gallon fully enclosed seal exhibit is expected to open in May. Funding for both projects came from a $40 million “functional replacement” agreement between the City of Norwalk and the State of Connecticut.
SimEx-Iwerks has successful partnerships with more than 40 museums, zoos and aquariums across North America. The company also recently announced the opening of ‘Take Flight – Wilderness Aerial Adventure Ride’, a new FlyRide attraction at Wilderness Resort.