National Geographic Encounter's 'Whale Challenge': Tamron Hall accepts Sam Champion's challenge

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, September 9, 2019
Sam Champion takes National Geographic Encounter's 'The Whale Challenge'
Meteorologist Sam Champion talks about his experience at National Geographic's "Encounter," an Ocean Odyssey in Times Square.

TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- 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.

National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey is challenging well-known personalities to take "The Whale Challenge" to benefit students from the Tri-State area!

Eyewitness News weather anchor Sam Champion accepted and completed the challenge, passing it along to another ABC personality who is now returning the favor.

Sam dove into a virtual ocean at Nat Geo Encounter, taking a journey across the Pacific, before being "transformed" into a sardine. He then joined over 100,000 other sardines off the coast of California in Encounter's grand finale "Bait Ball" scene.

It's an immersive two-story dome with 3-D, 8K resolution, photorealistic animation.

At the end, Sam (and anyone else who accepts the challenge) tried to escape the jaws of 50-foot humpback whales.

For every personality who participates in "The Whale Challenge" at Nat Geo Encounter and posts their video of getting swallowed by a humpback whale in Times Square, a class from a Title 1 school will receive a free field trip to visit Nat Geo Encounter.

Sam challenged Tamron Hall, who has a brand new talk show that premiered Monday at 10 a.m. on ABC.

Tamron Hall talks about her experience at National Geographic's "Encounter," an Ocean Odyssey in Times Square.

She accepted and took the plunge.

And afterwards, she returned the favor and challenged our own David Novarro, a longtime friend after the two hosted a daytime talk show in Chicago beginning in 2001.

National Geographic Encounter is a virtual ocean in Times Square where high tech meets the deep sea. Opened in October of 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-foot humpback, 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, having fun while learning about 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.

Since it opened, more than 70,000 school kids have visited Nat Geo Encounter as part of a school or youth program field trip.

The challenge benefits NYC area Title 1 schools from New York City, New Jersey, 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, and 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.

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