From Ferdinand Magellan to Amelia Earhart, the pages of history are packed with adventurers whose ambitions and perilous voyages continue to stoke our wanderlust.
But in the animal kingdom, Humpback Whales, Caribou and even Monarch Butterflies regularly undertake migrations that are every bit as lengthy and exciting as their human counterparts.
Beginning Feb. 14, audiences at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater will be able to enjoy Turtle Odyssey 3D. This giant-screen epic features a Green Sea Turtle hatchling’s 1,000-mile trek through the South Pacific.
The film’s Valentine’s Day arrival dovetails with the Aquarium’s Year of the Turtle celebration. Fittingly, the filmmakers at Definition Films say their plucky heroine, Bunji, is not only an easy turtle to love but an excellent ambassador for her species.
“Here in Australia, we have so many opportunities to witness the amazing intricacies of the marine turtle life cycle, from laying to hatching to regularly being able to swim alongside them,” the filmmakers say. “Bunji helped us bring a very special piece of Australia to the wider community.”
As they follow Bunji from her sandy nest into the life-rich waters of the Great Barrier Reef, viewers will meet an abundance of other species brimming with charisma and beauty. Fringed Leafy Sea Dragons, enormous Manta Rays and expertly camouflaged Giant Cuttlefish are just a few of the other animals Bunji (and the audience) will encounter during their journey.
Educators at the Tennessee Aquarium designed and produced supplemental educational materials to accompany the film’s release. The film’s free educational guide for elementary and middle school students offers activities that explore the Green Sea Turtle life cycle, the structure of food webs and how human activity impacts marine life worldwide.
In creating Turtle Odyssey 3D, the team at Definition Films employed a specially designed underwater camera housing and lenses to make the film burst to life on an IMAX screen.
By presenting lush, captivating scenery on the kind of grand scale that’s only possible via the giant-screen format, Turtle Odyssey 3D’s creators hope audiences leave with a better understanding of the challenges faced by these beloved reptiles and a sense of empowerment to help them.
“Turtles are like a ‘canary in the coal mine’ for our oceans, and they have a lot to say,” the filmmakers explain. “Turtle Odyssey is the perfect narrative to be able to thread incredible scientific discoveries into a fun family adventure with an important conservational take away for the next generation.”
For more information about Turtle Odssey 3D and access to the film’s educational materials, visit tnaqua.org/imax/turtle-odyssey-3d. For showtimes and online ticket purchases, visit tnaqua.org/calendar/month/category/imax-showtimes.
To learn more about the Aquarium’s Year of the Turtle celebration and associated events, visit tnaqua.org/yearoftheturtle.
Did you Know?
All seven species of sea turtles are threatened in the wild.
Species - Conservation Status
Green Sea Turtle – Endangered
Leatherback – Vulnerable
Loggerhead – Vulnerable
Flatback – Vulnerable
Hawksbill – Critically Endangered
Olive Ridley – Vulnerable
Kemp’s Ridley – Critically Endangered
- A Green Sea Turtle egg hatches about two months after its mother buries it in the sand.
- After hatching, the sea turtle crawls across the beach to enter the ocean.
- Young Green Sea Turtles feed on a diet of jellyfish, small crabs, and fish eggs. As it ages, Green Sea Turtles switch to a diet of sea grasses and other plants that live in the ocean.
- Female Green Sea Turtles begin to lay eggs when they reach 25 years of age. She will lay eggs every two to three years and may lay eggs up to six times in a season.
- A Green Sea Turtle’s median life expectancy in the wild is about 80 years.