National Geographic Encounter: "The Whale Challenge"

NEW YORK -- Imagine getting swallowed up by a whale! It's all part of the fun at National Geographic's "Encounter," an Ocean Odyssey in Times Square.

With "The Whale Challenge," NatGeo is enlisting celebrities to dive into a virtual ocean, be transformed into sardine, and face down a fifty-foot humpback whale while escaping its on-screen jaws.

ABC7's own Sam Champion is taking part, challenging celebs to join in - and for each one who does, a class from a school with at-risk students will get a field trip to visit the Nat Geo Encounter.

"The Whale Challenge" at National Geographic Encounter is where high tech meets the deep sea; a blast of an underwater journey that's fun for all ages, and for a good cause.

Find out more about the event, and about arranging your own ocean adventure, at


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What is National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey?
National Geographic Encounter is a virtual ocean in Times Square where high tech meets the deep sea. Opened in October, 2017, it's the first entertainment attraction of its kind in the world that pushes the boundaries of typical attractions by combining National Geographic's incredible storytelling with an innovative blend of cutting-edge visual effects and technology.

Visitors take an interactive walk-through journey across the Pacific Ocean over one incredible night, where they see, hear, and feel rarely witnessed spectacles in nature. Guests can splash in the shallow waters of a spectacular coral reef in the South Pacific, be transformed into a sardine to be part of a magnificent 3-D bait ball feeding frenzy, escape the jaws of a 50-ft Humpback whale, witness a battle between ferocious Humboldt squid, play and interact with their own virtual sea lions, and more - all without getting wet.

Encounter provides entertainment with purpose, allowing people to form an emotional connection to the ocean, and a real appreciation for its beauty. We protect what we love; and, Encounter introduces hundreds of thousands of people each year to the magnificent beauty of the Pacific Ocean, and why it's critical to protect all our oceans. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from all ticket purchases supports the National Geographic Society's nonprofit work in conservation, exploration, research, and education.

First and foremost, it's a lot of fun for everyone at every age!

How many school kids have come through Encounter?
Since opening in October 2017, over 70,000 school kids have visited Nat Geo Encounter as part of a school or youth program field trip.

Who does "The Whale Challenge" benefit?
The challenge benefits NYC area Title 1 schools from NYC, NJ, Long Island, and Westchester. Title 1 schools are part of a federal program to assist students at risk of failure and living at or near poverty. Title 1 is committed to closing the achievement gap between low-income students and other students, and ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education.