Caribbean Journey to Open, Shark: A 4-D Experience® Film to Premiere at the Texas State Aquarium on May 13

Explore new, immersive exhibits and come face to face with some of the world’s most mysterious shark species at a 4-D film experience like no other. Corpus Christi, Texas – (April 10, 2017) The Texas State Aquarium (TSA), the Official Aquarium of the State of Texas, is slated to open its newest experience, Caribbean Journey, and premier the film Shark: A 4-D Experience® on May 13.

The $58 million, 71,000-square foot expansion will double the size, species and programming of the existing facility and advance its mission to engage people with animals, inspire appreciation for the sea and support wildlife conservation.

Along with the grand opening of Caribbean Journey, TSA will premiere a 12-minute film Shark: A 4-D Experience®, which explores the complex nature of sharks and their survival instincts. The film spotlights ten species of sharks and places viewers right in the action with stunning underwater visuals and perfectly-timed special effects. The film is a product of SimEx-Iwerks, the world leader in cinematic attractions specializing in 4-D Theaters.

“Caribbean Journey enhances our guests’ experience with one-of-a-kind, immersive exhibits that bring the marine world of the Caribbean Sea to life in the Gulf Coast of Texas,” said Texas State Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid. “This substantial expansion, alongside our show stopping 4-D film, transforms the aquarium experience into a highly interactive, educational and action-packed adventure that is a must for marine life enthusiasts of all ages.”

Caribbean Journey utilizes immersive and interactive exhibits to showcase the biodiversity and culture of the Yucatan Peninsula and Caribbean Sea. Guests can expect to see sharks, tropical Caribbean fishes, birds and reptiles. They will also experience marine themed films in a new, multi-sensory 4-D Experience® theater that uses state-of-the-art digital technology to simulate special effects including bubbles, snow, scent, FX lighting, water mist, seat vibrations and wind.

Caribbean Journey also expands the aquarium’s conservation and wildlife rehabilitation programs, guest and event services and catering capabilities; it boasts a new Flint Hills Resources Center for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education for local and visiting students.

“The Texas State Aquarium prides itself on innovative experiences that blend education, conservation and marine life exploration for all,” said Texas State Aquarium VP of Education and Conservation Leslie Peart. “With the expansion and continued capital commitment to education, we’re able to enhance our offerings in onsite learning and camp programs as well as distance learning (Aquavision) and outreach to schools across the state and nation.”

During construction of the new facility, the project supported $107 million in gross area product or economic activity. The final product is estimated to increase the annual economic impact of TSA to $69 million, supporting 887 area jobs, more than $10 million in annual hotel room sales, and create more than 50 new, full-time jobs with salaries and benefits of nearly $2 million.

Further, the grand opening of Caribbean Journey enhances the aquarium’s ability to educate visitors about wildlife ecology and marine life conservation. The aquarium currently cares for more than 4,000 animals representing more than 350 species; it also treats approximately 250 injured animals annually through its Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Program.


SimEx-Iwerks specializes in designing, building and operating 4-D Experiences® that feature blockbuster content licensed from the world’s major studios. For 20 years we have built partnerships with institutions and parks that today provide 4-D Experiences at over 200 attractions worldwide. These attractions incorporate innovative special effects technologies and programs that are constantly refreshable. SimEx-Iwerks’ family friendly attractions generate new revenues, improve general attendance and are experienced by 50 million guests annually.