New Partnership with HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, Founder and CEO of KBW Ventures, Grows Encounter’s Portfolio around the World

National Geographic Encounter announces its expansion with KBW Ventures and its partner, the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia to develop and launch up to 10 new locations with Ocean Odyssey, an entertaining and immersive walk-through adventure across the ocean from the South Pacific to the coast of California, throughout the region on an unprecedented scale. The first of several locations in Saudi Arabia will be situated in the city of Riyadh starting in 2019.

Coming off the heels of the recent successful opening of National Geographic Encounter’s flagship location in New York City’s Times Square, SPE Partners, creators and developers of Encounter, and its partner the Peterson Companies will once again engage a world-class global team of Academy, GRAMMY®, and Emmy® Award-winning artists, including the design firm Falcon’s Creative Group, Pixomondo which is the visual effects team behind “Game of Thrones,” and GRAMMY® Award-winning composer David Kahne, to produce this experience that is changing the landscape of entertainment and cinema. Through groundbreaking technology and stunning photo-realistic animation, guests are transported to extraordinary underwater destinations and gain access to rarely witnessed moments in nature.

“We are excited to bring this iconic brand and immersive experience into Saudi Arabia and provide premium entertainment in our country,” said Faisal Baraft, CEO of the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia.

“Our goal at SPE and Peterson is to expand and revolutionize entertainment and storytelling, while delivering world-class guest experiences,” said Alexander Svezia, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of SPE Partners.  “We aim to combine the power of technology with the awe of entertainment to advance science and conservation, and KBW shares that vision. The General Entertainment Authority’s mission, to create a vibrant society and provide exciting entertainment and tailored experiences in Saudi Arabia, aligns perfectly. We are excited to bring ‘entertainment with purpose’ to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, center, founder and CEO, KBW Ventures, attends an event in New York, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, to announce National Geographic Encounter’s expansion with KBW Ventures and its partner, the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia, to develop and launch up to 10 new locations with Ocean Odyssey in the Middle East. SPE Partners, creators and developers of Encounter, and its partner the Peterson Companies will once again engage a world-class global team to launch these new locations. (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for National Geographic Encounter)

“When I first visited National Geographic Encounter and saw that the experience brings people around the globe into the natural world of wildlife, I knew that this was the future. We also believe in Encounter’s ‘entertainment with purpose’ ethos, especially with our current work with Future Oceans, an organization whose mission is to protect all marine wildlife,” said Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, Founder and CEO of KBW Ventures.

National Geographic Encounter consulted with dozens of technologists and scientists to create a new kind of immersive experience that guests can walk through to share stunning ocean encounters with friends and family. Blockbuster new science – some of it not even published yet – was used in its creation. National Geographic Encounter is also working with marine biologist, professor and National Geographic Emerging Explorer David Gruber, Chief Science Advisor to the experience and who specializes in bioluminescent and biofluorescent marine animals.

National Geographic Encounter:

  • Guests will get up close with dozens of species, including mischievous sea lions waiting for a playmate, sharks up to 20 feet long, a 50-foot Humpback whale, and a battle between two ferocious Humboldt squids which could have as many as 35,000 teeth each;
  • The coral reef was built from a process called photogrammetry, where more than 1,300 photos were taken on location in the Solomon Islands. The 2D photos were then used to construct 3D models of coral;
  • Kelp found throughout the experience is modeled after the Giant Kelp species, which grows at a rate of up to 2 feet per day; 120,000 fish make their appearance in the magnificent bait ball feeding frenzy.

Once visitors “resurface” to land, they can go even deeper on their adventure in Exploration Hall, hearing breathtaking stories from National Geographic photographers and deep-sea explorers, including Sylvia Earle, Bob Ballard and Enric Sala, who through transparent multi-media screens, share their inspiration and passion for the ocean. Audiences can also enjoy a gaming challenge to clean up their own piece of the ocean and play with holograms of the sea’s greatest wonders and mightiest creatures. Everyone will have the opportunity to take an individual pledge to take action that makes a difference in ocean conservation, and share it with their social communities and on a live social feed, discovering how everyone can be a champion for our oceans in everyday life.

“National Geographic has been igniting the explorer in all of us for 130 years through ground-breaking storytelling from the best scientists, explorers, photographers, and filmmakers in the world,” said Rosa Zeegers, Executive Vice President, Consumer Products and Experiences at National Geographic Partners. “Because of our partnership with SPE Partners, audiences have gotten to experience this in a completely new way as part of the enriching, immersive experience that National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey offers in New York. Encounter has been wildly successful, and has proven to be a powerful new storytelling platform for us that perfectly embodies our passionate belief in entertainment with purpose and is a natural extension of our brand. These expansion plans are very exciting, and we’re looking forward to delivering this one-of-a-kind experience to our important Middle East audience.”

National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey helps support the National Geographic Society’s critical works around the globe, including the Pristine Seas Project.   By returning a portion of its proceeds to the non-profit work of the Society, National Geographic Partners contributes to the Society’s critical work of exploring, understanding and protecting our ocean through scientific grants and programs.  To learn more, visit

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