Celebrate World Oceans Day This Friday with National Geographic Ocean Odyssey

National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey is a one-of-a-kind aquatic journey in the heart of Times Square. Here you and your family will walk through chambers full of ocean life, with dazzling images of seals, whales, and a seemingly infinite variety of fish. This Friday, June 8, marks World Oceans Day. Partnering with the Dopper Foundation, National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey will commemorate this special day with a free talk, discount tickets, and the premiere of Plastic Bridge, a recreation of the Brooklyn Bridge made of 25,000 single-use plastic bottles.

Nat Geo Ocean Odyssey

Sculptor Colin Hendee and artist Asher Jay helped create this impressive piece of environmental art that definitely lives up to the code of “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Plastic Bridge invites visitors to consider plastic waste in oceans around the world. According to National Geographic, there are 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the ocean today. The bridge ushers in a world without plastic waste contaminating our water and harming marine life, a world where more plastic is recycled and less throwaway plastic is used every day. 

Plastic Bridge

A significant component of plastic waste is the plastic bottle, as highlighted by the plastic bottles used in Plastic Bridge. Though it’s not as large as the real bridge, this plastic sculpture will be large and sturdy enough to walk across! It will measure 30 feet wide by 11 feet tall.

World Oceans Day at National Geographic's Ocean Odyssey will feature events for the public to enjoy. On June 8, visitors can walk across the plastic bridge, win free passes to Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, write a message in a bottle, and win a free Dopper water bottle with a pledge to reduce plastic waste. Asher Jay will also have an exhibition inside Encounter that further explores ocean conservation through creativity. These family-friendly activities will be held June 8 from 11 am to 1 pm at Shubert Alley and West 44th Street, just outside Encounter: Ocean Odyssey.

The bridge is part of National Geographic’s Planet or Plastic? initiative, providing information about plastic pollution to the readers of National Geographic magazine. National Geographic’s video “A Brief History of How Plastic Has Changed Our World” explains how rapidly our world industries incorporated plastics into making goods from office chairs to Tupperware. Our one-use plastics (like bottles or plastic wrap) fill landfills and oceans. Marine species like birds, turtles, and fish eat or become entangled in discarded plastic products. Only one-fifth of plastic is currently being recycled.

National Geographic has partnered with the Dopper Foundation on this project. Started by Merijn Everaarts, the Dopper Foundation is an organization dedicated to ridding the water supply of contamination, reducing plastic waste, and providing clean water to all. With the unveiling of the sculpture on June 8, the Dopper Foundation will embark on their Plastic Bridge Project, a yearlong tour of primary schools during which foundation representatives will educate students on plastic waste in our water systems. Through skits and children’s books, not only will children learn about the “plastic soup” floating in the ocean, but they will find out how they can help to curtail this pervasive environmental problem.

Also on Friday, you can enjoy a free talk at Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in the evening. Named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet, Dr. Sylvia Earle is one of the world's foremost marine biologists. In honor of World Oceans Day, she'll be telling stories from beneath the waterline in a free talk at the new Nat Geo experience.

Stay for a 2-for-1 Ticket Special to experience National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. Buy one ticket to Encounter and get another one free. Plus, on June 8th, your ticket to Encounter that evening from 5pm-9pm includes a complimentary glass of wine or non-alcoholic beverage, sponsored by Lillie’s Victorian Establishment.

*Dr. Sylvia Earle's speaking event ticket does not include entrance to the Encounter experience. Encounter requires a separate paid ticket for admission. To buy tickets to Encounter and learn more about our World Oceans Day events and ticket offers, click here.

National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey is located at 226 W 44th Street. For more information, go to To find out more about Plastic Bridge Project and RSVP for the unveiling of the bridge on June 8, go to

About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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