National Parks Adventure 3D Opens Feb 12 In IMAX With Laser

Thursday, February 4, 2016 - by Thom Benson
Half Dome in Yosemite National Park
Half Dome in Yosemite National Park
- photo by Dmitri Fomin
In 1903 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir embarked on a three-day camping trip to the Yosemite Valley. At the time, many Americans viewed the country’s untamed wilderness areas as seething, dangerous realms that should be tapped for their rich economic resources. This path might have tamed these special places out of existence.

But Muir was on a mission. It was a crusade to protect the nation’s wild places for everyone – forever. Muir’s poetic words stirred the emotions of the masses.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

The trip renewed Roosevelt’s passion as an outdoorsman and devoted conservationist. He returned to the White House determined to argue that America’s wild assets must belong to the public and must be staunchly preserved by the laws of the land.

Audiences will relive this camping trip when “National Parks Adventure 3D” comes to the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater beginning Friday, Feb. 12. This new giant screen film takes audiences on the ultimate off-trail adventure into the nation’s awe-inspiring and untamed wilderness. “National Parks Adventure captures the stunning beauty of our wild places and reminds us these landscapes are an essential part of the human spirit,” said the film’s narrator and Academy Award® winner Robert Redford.

Moviegoers will soar over red rock canyons, hurtle down steep mountain peaks and explore other-worldly realms found within America’s most legendary wilderness areas, making this a must-see movie for audiences in Chattanooga – a city that’s filled with people who are passionate about outdoor adventure sports.

Filmed in more than 30 national parks across the country, this immersive film takes full advantage of the new IMAX with Laser upgrades recently installed at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater. The bright, bold and colorful images make audiences feel as though they are joining world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, adventure photographer Max Lowe and artist Rachel Pohl as they hike, climb and explore their way across America’s spectacularly wild and beautiful places – including Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Yosemite and Arches. Together this threesome seems to represent the gamut of what the national parks bring to different people – from unabashed thrills to solace, healing and the source of their livelihoods.

“I really wanted this film to be much more than a tour and to invite audiences to engage with the parks in a fun and immersive way,” said two-time Academy Award®-nominated director Greg MacGillivray. “I wanted to make a freewheeling film that captures the way the parks speak to adventurers, artists, athletes, and anyone who wants to challenge themselves physically, artistically and spiritually within.  This is what led me to think of Conrad Anker, who I’ve admired for decades and who is a terrific ambassador for the parks.”

The concept of exploring the parks from a climber’s perspective was inspiring to long-time MacGillivray Freeman Films collaborator Stephen Judson, who serves as co-writer and editor of the film.  “Every tourist who has ever stood in Yosemite Valley gazing up at Half Dome has had a fantasy of climbing that great wall of granite,” said Judson. “Maybe it was only a wishful flash of glory, gone in a nanosecond, crushed by the heavy hands of caution, responsibility, common sense and doubt. But however briefly, we’ve all been there. Our climbers in the film give wing to that flight of fantasy. The national parks inspire us to dream of breaking free of our everyday boundaries. The climbers take that yearning we all feel and complete the experience.”

As a climber, Anker has been getting sustenance from the national parks his whole life, which is why he was thrilled to get MacGillivray’s call.  “Much of the best climbing in the U.S. is in national park sites,” said Anker, “so as climbers we really appreciate it and we feel an obligation to be stewards. I welcomed this opportunity to pay tribute to the national parks.  It’s been said the parks are America’s best idea and I’m confident in saying we have the best parks in the world.  I think the wonderful message of this film is that the wonders of our parks are approachable by anyone.”

Anker is especially excited to share his rarified POV on the parks – a climber’s sky-high view.  “When you’re hanging from a cliff, up there with the birds, it’s a whole different world.  You feel very much part of nature, and because it’s so challenging, you’re living fully in the moment,” he explains.

In addition to climbing, hiking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing, the film also gets audiences up close to iconic animals like Grizzly Bears, American Alligators and Prarie Dogs. The filmmakers spent a great deal of time meticulously capturing the soundscape as well as the sweeping vistas, adding to the sensations of taking a walk on the wild side with the featured explorers and inspiring a deeper appreciation for conservation.

“National parks have helped inspire a conservation ethic in our country.  They’re home to incredible biodiversity, and are an easy place for people to begin a relationship with nature,” said Dr. Anna George, director of the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute. “We’re partnering with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to better understand and restore Southern Appalachian Brook Trout within the park and in adjacent areas. We hope more people will learn about their connection to field conservation programs like this after seeing National Parks Adventure.”

As the National Park Service looks ahead to the next century of protecting U.S. treasures, it will pursue new directions in education, preservation and sustainability as well as seek new ways to connect the parks to communities throughout the nation and the world. “As a trustee of both the Tennessee Aquarium and National Park Conservation Association, I am proud to support the film’s run in Chattanooga,” said Greg A. Vital, President and CEO of Morning Pointe Senior Living.  “It’s important to shine a spotlight on our national parks, bring back fond memories for so many who have enjoyed them over the years, and inspire the next generation to visit and protect them.”

Greg MacGillivray says that drawing people who have maybe never visited the parks before is a goal that unites the National Park Service and this film.

“Sharing the park with people from all backgrounds is a really important thing,” he points out.  “Not everyone has the luxury of time and travel, so we’re thrilled to be able to give parents and kids a chance to experience more of the majesty of the world. I think people will be blown away by all the park system offers and hopefully some will have the opportunity to take their own journeys.” 

National Parks Adventure 3D is a MacGillivray Freeman film produced in association with Brand USA and presented globally by Expedia, Inc. and Subaru of America, Inc. with major support from the Giant Dome Theater Consortium. This film is presented locally by Morning Pointe Senior Living.

This film is family friendly and has a run time of 43 minutes. Purchase individual tickets online:

Or, purchase the new Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Club Pass to see unlimited 45-minute films for one year and enjoy additional passholder benefits:

View the official National Parks Adventure 3D trailer:

Fast Facts & Figures about America’s National Parks

-        The National Park Service celebrates its 100th Anniversary on August 25, 2016
-        There are 407 national park sites, including monuments, seashores, lakeshores, recreation areas and historic sites, protected across the U.S. – totaling a whopping 84 million acres, the size of the entire country of Germany
-        Last year, a record 292.8 million people visited park sites and the number keeps rising.  Since the park system began, they’ve drawn an estimated 12 billion visitors
-        More than 1,000 threatened and endangered animal species make their homes in National Park Service sites
-        The national parks feature a network of trails that span 18,000 miles, about ¾ of the circumference of the earth
-        Superlatives abound in the National Parks System.  Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is home to the longest cave system in the world – more than 3, 454 miles; the world’s largest gypsum dunefield can be found in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico; and the largest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere is in Florida’s Everglades National Park

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