It's fitting that "selfies" and "sea life" share so many letters, because the new SEA LIFE Orlando aquarium is designed for taking photos -- of yourself with the underwater creatures.
SEA LIFE Orlando is a new aquarium on Orlando's International Drive. It opens on May 4, 2015. During a media preview, visitors were asked to pose in theatrical ways in front a green screen. As they exited, the short-term actors were invited to buy the pictures -- which had been digitally transposed onto out-of-this-world backgrounds. I'd assume this add-on will be available to all guests. The technology had kinks -- it took several tries for an employee to get our images, and only prints were offered, not digital snapshots. Maybe that will change. The pictures themselves were a hoot.
So, inside. This is not the look-and-learn aquarium set-up to which we're accustomed. SEA LIFE Orlando theme parks it up.
Exhibits are broken up by ocean. The fish are set into dramatic backdrops, many of which have those glass photo-pose bubbles in them. To insert yourself, do this: Get down on your hands and knees, climb underneath the exhibit, stick your head into the bubble, and pose while someone else points and shoots. Technically that's not a selfie, I know, but being more literal would destroy my selfie/sea-life comparison, so let it go.
Many displays had sounds. Some were nice, like classic Indian instrumental music in the Indian Ocean area. Others need some fine-tuning. In the first room I entered, while silver fish swam in a circle around me, the faux sky above became populated with cartoon characters. They talked, but I struggled to hear what they were saying. I didn't care, truthfully, but parents with young kids would likely want to pay attention.
The aquarium is smallish, nicely themed and, on a basic level, educational. It's also well air-conditioned, which alone is a big selling point.