Getting up-close with a Humpback whale is a rarity that many can only dream of. Getting up-close with one in Times Square is just crazy. Or is it? 

Last fall, National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey debuted in New York City and takes visitors from the South Pacific to the California coastal waters. 

With photo-realistic animations developed and produced by SPE Partners, guests are transported to an underwater world with moments rarely seen in nature. The experience includes stories from National Geographic photographers and deep-sea explorers, gaming challenges and a chance to learn about the great wonders of the sea in the Exploration Hall. 


“The most incredible thing about events at National Geographic Encounter is that the entertainment is already built-in,” said Erin DePalma, director of sales, Shubert Events, which managed events at the venue. “As a first-in-kind immersive entertainment experience, Encounter has engaged a world-class global team of Academy, GRAMMY and Emmy Award-winning artists that pushes the boundaries of visual effects and is changing the landscape of entertainment. We’ve found that our guests are engaged the moment they step into the venue, throughout the event and even afterwards. Our clients have also reported higher social media interaction during their events.”

In additional to offering group tickets and tours, there is 5,000 square feet of event space for private functions of all kinds as well as additional rooms for smaller meetings. Groups can also rent the entire 60,000-square-foot venue for events up to 1,000 people. 

The spaces include private registration and a cocktail lobby, 40-foot fully customizable HD LED wall, Bose Pro Audio sound system, theatrical lighting and the opportunity for installed digital branding. 

The experience has even inspired attendees after they leave.

“Oftentimes, groups will also make conservation pledges in the Exploration Hall, which extends the team-building activity beyond the actual day of the event,” DaPalma explained. “A recent client told me that her colleague has become the ‘no plastic water bottles’ advocate in the office due to what she learned at Encounter. It’s great that clients are incorporating sustainable practices into their lives even months after their event.”