The Theme Pavilion is constructed on the ocean, making it as significant and striking architecturally as the exhibitions it contains. Seen from the sea, the pavilion looks like small islands scattered along the coast. Seen from the land, the pavilion resembles the back of a whale rising above the waves.
Right from the entrance to the Theme Pavilion, visitors are immersed in the mystery of our oceans and their importance to the survival of humankind. The lobby leads you to Exhibition Hall 1, 2, and 3, and the Main Show Room, which features touching and memorable friendship between a dugong (a mammal near extinction) and a human boy.
- Coexistence of the Ocean and Humanity
- Operating hours
- 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
- 1,200 persons
- Approximate tour time
- 30 minutes
- Exhibition sections
- Lobby → Exhibition Hall 1 → Exhibition Hall 2 → Main Show Room → Exhibition Hall 3
- The best way to enjoy the Theme Pavilion
- With its various images of humankind’s efforts to protect the sea, Exhibition Hall 1 & 2 help visitors appreciate the beauty and value of the sea and learn about the grave impact global warming has had on our oceans and coasts and the species that call them home. Next, visit the Main Show Room and watch the moving story of a boy who loves the ocean and a dugong, a mammal now facing extinction. This show stirs the heart and will make you think about ways we can protect these beautiful mammals.
The lobby of the Theme Pavilion makes a great first impression on visitors with its various images of ocean stations around the world. Visitors can learn about the efforts being made by humankind to understand and protect our oceans and coasts. Questions such as, “What do the Earth’s oceans look like from space?”; “What kinds of treasures exist in the deep sea?”; “Is it possible for human beings to explore the deep sea further?” can all be pondered and answered here.
Upon entering Exhibition Hall 1, visitors hear the gentle lapping sound of waves, feel a cool ocean breeze on their faces, and see various compelling images depicting the relationship between the ocean and people on the wall and dome screen in the center.
The exhibits here reveal to visitors the new value and potential of our oceans – which cover more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and are home to more than 80 percent of living creatures — and in doing so encourage a new perspective. And as 70 percent of the world’s population makes their living from oceans, the exhibits here also reveal the unique aspects of different countries’ maritime lifestyles.
Entering Exhibition Hall 2, visitors meet the mangrove forest, an analogue space with lower ceilings. Here visitors can learn about the ways the marine ecosystem is at risk through virtual interaction with a baby dugong. Images of the ocean are shown below while those of the mangrove forest are projected above, on the ceiling. In the last scene of this virtual experience, the dugong appears in the mangrove forest, leading visitors towards the Main Show Room.
Mangrove forests are created in wetlands in coastal or river mouth areas and are habitats for many living creatures. However, this important ecological habitat is in danger worldwide. Global warming is causing sea levels to rise and acidification of our oceans. Thus the marine environment, the greatest habitat of life on Earth, is deteriorating, which in turn is threatening human civilization itself. This exhibit reveals our intimate connection with the Earth and ocean, and makes us open our eyes to the reality that the suffering of our environment means our own suffering as well.
The main show of the Theme Pavilion, called “Spring of Life,” explores humanity’s relationship with our oceans through the friendship between a dugong and a little boy. Dugongs are fascinating mammals. Like humans, they are believed to hold their babies when feeding. They are also included in mermaid myths created by humans. Our fascination with the dugong is the reason it was chosen as a symbol of the Theme Pavilion, as in many ways it connects us with the ocean. The friendship between the little boy and the dugong is expressed through animation and performance, creating a truly memorable experience for the audience. This show conveys the powerful message that we must nurture and preserve our oceans and the creatures in them before it is too late.
Exhibition Hall 3 proposes a future vision of a marine lifestyle that is mutually beneficialforboth humankind and the ocean. People from all walks of life and all age groups participated in creating this vision of what it might be like if people expanded their living area into the ocean and were able to move much more freely than now from land to coast to sea. The hall provides the opportunity for visitors to imagine and ponder such a lifestyle, and presents new models for wise utilization of our oceans which have the potential to solve the energy, food and resources challenges we currently face.