It’s not every day you get to be a dark lord. Even less frequently that you get to be a dark lord underwater. Vader. Underwater. Cue a gurgly imperial march.
Three years ago, our dive operations manager was looking at the mask we use for our popular dive shows and exclaimed, “We should do a Darth Vader show!” It certainly made sense since we divers sound like Darth while wearing the mask. To bring this neat idea to fruition, we just needed an underwater costume and to convince our director of visitor experience that this would be an engaging experience and contain educational value.
The first obstacle was to create a Vader costume that could be submerged in our Strait of Georgia Exhibit. After several hours with a needle and thread, plus some extensive mask modifications, the costume came to life. We added an underwater light to a plastic lightsaber and, voila, the dark lord was ready for his salty debut.
The next challenge was to transform the program into something more than just a cool underwater-costume idea. Granted, seeing Darth Vader floating in the Strait of Georgia Exhibit is pretty cool on its own, but we wanted to use the dark lord as an educational tool. We take great pride in our award-winning interpretive shows, which support the Aquarium’s important mission to conserve aquatic life. Sometimes, our programs are informative and connect you to the natural world in a straightforward way, while other times, we use popular culture as a way to engage and inspire audiences.
Enter Darth Vader and Sea Star Wars!
During the show, guests are taken to a galaxy far, far away to learn about its native creatures—a.k.a. the creatures of the Pacific Ocean. Through Sea Star Wars, visitors get a tour of the Strait of Georgia with the one-and-only Darth Vader as their guide. Princess Leia has also been known to make an appearance during Sea Star Wars.
Starting October 26 and running until October 31, don’t miss Sea Star Wars at the Vancouver Aquarium. Dives happen once a day at 11:30 a.m. The daily schedule can be found here.
Written by Alex Clegg, an interpretive delivery specialist at the Vancouver Aquarium.