For the past eight months, the Aquarium's exhibits team has been working tirelessly to bring its newest experience to life by creating sculptures and scenes from scratch. This Aquarium-wide feature will highlight an array of "monsters," showing that they are not always obtrusive or scary.
Whether tucked into blades of grass or hidden miles below the ocean’s surface, South Carolina is home to numerous amazing and unique species. Focusing on these unique creatures highlights a group of animals that are not as heavily displayed in zoos and aquariums. “Monsters” provides a chance to examine these species up-close and learn more about their important roles in the ecosystem. No matter how small, large, grotesque or beautiful they may be, each of the featured monsters is vital to everyday life.
July is also Member Month at the Aquarium, and guests can enjoy $15 off an annual membership with the code SCA20 at scaquarium.org/member-month. Members will also enjoy exclusive access to the Aquarium on Monday mornings throughout the month with an opportunity to meet the makers of the "Monsters" experience.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of this Aquarium experience is the way in which it came to life. “Monsters” began as a creative concept in early 2018 and, through numerous collaborations and conversations, it began to take shape as a way to shed light on the lesser-known species that hold major importance in the natural world. Nearly all aspects of the experience were conceptualized, designed and built in-house by the Aquarium exhibits team. Materials used to make the monsters went beyond materials found at a hardware store, as everyday items such as bamboo skewers and plastic water bottles became the basic building blocks for some of the installations.
As Kevin Kampwerth, director of Aquarium experience, puts it, “Visitors will love walking through galleries they’ve been through dozens of times and seeing them in a whole new light.” Rather than a dedicated single space for the new exhibit, “Monsters” will be featured throughout the entire Aquarium, with new photo opportunities, areas for educational exploration and more."
The larger-than-life sculptures will inspire awe and foster an appreciation for creatures often not given a second thought. One highlight of the “Monsters” experience includes a 12-foot-tall praying mantis that greets you as you enter the Mountain Forest, where you will begin a journey of learning about the insects all around us and their monstrous features. In another gallery, guests will encounter the inspiration for the kraken, a giant squid made up of nearly 1,000 recycled plastic bottles and spanning nearly 40 feet, aimed at raising awareness of the monstrous impact plastic pollution has on our oceans.
“Monsters: From Micro to Mega” opens Saturday, July 4. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit scaquarium.com/monsters.