08-May-2015

Volvo Ocean Race Newport Exploration Zone Opens Tomorrow With Marine Exhibits For All Ages

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Foto: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

A prominent feature of the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, R.I., is the Exploration Zone - presented by SCA and 11th Hour Racing, which features 22 exhibits from 20 educational partners.

With interactive exhibits for all ages and free admission, the Exploration Zone aims to educate and inspire visitors about the sport of sailing, the oceans, and to discover continents and cultures around the world through the lens of the world's most grueling sailboat race. Exploration Zone themes include marine science and technology, geography and culture, sustainability, mathematics and sailing.

"The Exploration Zone will offer something for everyone. We're excited by the diversity of exhibitors and their commitment to make it as fun and interesting to all of our guests," said R. Mark Davis, president of Sailors for the Sea and a co-chairman of the Education Committee for the Newport Stopover.

Supported by Port Partners SCA, the Sweden-based global hygiene and forest-products company, and Newport-based 11th Hour Racing, which seeks to create systemic change for the improved health of our oceans, the Exploration Zone will enlighten visitors on topics such as solar energy, habitat and water conservation. It also attempts to raise awareness about the problem of marine debris and ocean acidification. There will be interactive exhibits for all ages showcasing marine life, weather experiences and marine technology.

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography and NOAA are prominent exhibitors, as well as 5 Gyres Institute, SCA Americas, Clean Ocean Access, E2SOL, Newport Renewables, the Rhode Island Sea Grant/Coastal Resources Center, Inner Space Center, US Sailing/REACH, Sailors for the Sea, IYRS School of Technology and Trades, the Rose Island Lighthouse, Collaborative Community Sailing booth, and a collaborative effort from the Jamestown Arts Center, Women's Resource Center and the Met School. Visitors also can tour Rhode Island's Official Sailing Educational Vessel, the tall ship Oliver Hazard Perry, which will be berthed at the new pier at Fort Adams State Park, until May 13.

Stopover officials have encouraged local schools to take field trips to the stopover. More than 2,500 school children are planning field trips to the Race Village.

"An educational component was an important aspect of the stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race," said Kim Hapgood of Sail Newport. "This builds on the wildly successful Exploration Zone we did for the America's Cup World Series in 2012, but expands on it greatly. There's a broader cross section of activities and experiences." The Exploration Zone officially opens on Saturday, May 9, with a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. The Exploration Zone will be open daily with the Race Village.