The New York Aquarium, a subsidiary of the Wildlife Conservation Society, is developing Alien Stingers, a 4000 square foot, permanent exhibit featuring Cnidarians, jellyfish and their relatives. This exhibit will showcase species such as the purple stripe, umbrella and lion's mane jellies. Other animals to be presented include colorful sea anemones and live corals. Visitors will learn about Cnidaria and their habitats, ecological roles, adaptations and relationships with other ocean life. Endangered species, human impact on habitats and various conservation efforts will also be highlighted. The exhibit design will create a sense of wonder and mystery using dramatic lighting, music and unique displays. Moveable 3D models, interactive graphics and specially designed cylindrical tanks will result in an exhibit experience that stimulates curiosity and invites learning.
The project has a comprehensive, multi-level evaluation plan structured around two exhibit openings. The first round of evaluation will look at the impact of two-dimensional graphics and prototype interactives. A second opening is planned which will add complex prototype interactives that are designed to present more intricate messages. Both layers of evaluation will be used to shape the permanent exhibit graphics and promote self-directed learning. A website with a live jelly-cam supports this exhibit, along with a host of educational programs and materials for various audiences. A family handbook, children's activity guides, visitor guides and a children's book on jellyfish are among the supplemental materials planned. It is anticipated that over 815,000 visitors will view Alien Stingers on an annual basis.