Featuring nearly 20 unique species from around the globe, MORPH’D takes guests at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, FL on a free-flowing journey through the process of adaptation for survival in the animal kingdom. IDEAS conceptualized and designed over two dozen interactive elements for the experience. These design features help present the unique adaptations of species like axolotls, paddlefish, and electric eels that have helped them withstand the rigors of natural selection in unique and engaging ways.
The IDEAS designers worked with a team of fabricators and production partners including HD Interactive, who developed the touchscreen content including a projection globe that guests can use to explore how adaptation has shaped animals that live in some of earth’s most extreme environments. All Pro Systems led AV integration and Artistic Contractors, Inc. built the physical show elements including a virtual reality periscope that allows guests to experience the world through the eyes of a four eyed fish – an animal that can see above and below the water simultaneously.
Working in collaboration with The Florida Aquarium’s exhibit design and animal care experts, IDEAS led the story development and creative direction of this unique experience introducing guests to the wondrous and universal process of adaptation. According to IDEAS Executive VP, Mike Yager, “Our creative team approached MORPH’D asking the question, ‘what do guests most want to do when they visit an aquarium?’ Our StoryJamTM process showed that the answer was to get inside the habitat with an animal. So, we flipped that on its head and devised some clever ways to bring the animal’s perspective out into the gallery and into our guests’ hands, minds, and hearts.”
In addition to the innovative hands-on interactives, IDEAS conceived and developed rich media content for 20 touchscreens that present engaging information about each of the gallery’s animals through dynamic videos, animations, and games. Pete Colangelo, Senior Director of Creative Services for The Florida Aquarium, says, “The IDEAS team brought a real sense of play and discovery to MORPH’D that helped convey the importance of our animals in visceral ways. It’s fresh, fun, and our guests are absolutely thrilled!”
MORPH’D is helping to kick off a multi-year, $40 million expansion for The Florida Aquarium. For the IDEAS team, it represents a breakthrough in story-driven exhibit design. “Our team champions the importance of story in carefully curated experiences like aquariums,” says IDEAS Chief Storytelling Officer, Bob Allen. “MORPH’D uses narrative to get guests to care about these incredible animals-the real celebrities, helping them understand that adaptation is something shared by all species, including homo sapiens!”