Oceans: Our Blue Planet
Directed by: Mark Brownlow & Rachel Butler
Run time: 40 minutes
With the weather forecast ranging from extreme thunderstorms to humidity so high that no amount of keratin could save your hair it’s time to look for some indoor family fun. I recently took my kids to Discovery Place’s fantastic IMAX Theater to check out the documentary Oceans: Our Blue Planet to learn more about our planet’s last true wilderness. If your kids like sea creatures of any kind, this terrific documentary is sure to be a big hit.
Narrated by the fabulous Oscar winner Kate Winslet, Oceans follows the research boat ALUCIA as it travels our seas to learn more about the least known part of our planet. The trip begins off the coast of South Africa where we get to watch dolphins frolicking in the surf. I admit that I’m a bit obsessed with dolphins, so seeing them darting through the waves and jumping through the surf on that enormous IMAX screen is really fantastic.
We then travel to the tropics to visit coral reefs. While a quarter of marine species live on reefs, they actually take up less than one percent of the ocean floor. That gives you a sense of just how vast our oceans truly are. In addition to seeing all of the beautiful coral, we meet a very resourceful tusk fish who has learned a great trick for opening a clam shell. From the tropics we head to the temperate seas, where we learn about the underwater forests of kelp that grow up to two feet a day. Marine plants are considered the lungs of our planet as they pump out oxygen to the Earth. We also observe an octopus disguising itself with shells to avoid becoming a shark snack. Sea Otters are also featured in their element and they are absolutely adorable as they eat, swim and play. My daughter especially loved the otters and we could have watched them play for hours!
The ALUCIA then heads out into the open ocean which covers half of our planet’s surface. The ocean is just as difficult to explore as space. In fact, we actually know more about the surface of Mars than we do of our own ocean floor. Technology has improved to the extent that researchers can now explore 600 feet down to discover new and bizarre species. And some really are strange! The final destination is the arctic where we meet the always intriguing walrus. It’s a lot of work for those big gals to haul themselves up on the ice to rest and protect their babies! I especially liked learning that a mother walrus and her offspring stay in contact forever. I may have elbowed my son after that comment just to reinforce what a great concept that was!
This very enjoyable documentary does a fantastic job of explaining just how vital our oceans are to our planet. From the currents that link every ocean and affect our weather to the oxygen the oceans produce—our future truly depends on maintaining healthy oceans. So whether you hope to learn more about our oceans or you just want to see precious animals splashing and swimming, head on over to Discovery Place for a fantastic visit to our deep blue sea.