National Geographic Encounter's Ocean Odyssey Expanding Into the Middle East

New edition planned for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere

NatGeo Ocean Odyssey

National Geographic Encounter's Ocean Odyssey program is expanding across the ocean. National Geographic Encounter announced that it has joined forces with KBW Ventures and its partner, the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia, to develop and launch up to 10 more of the immersive walk-through adventures, which include special event space, throughout the Middle East. 

The original National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in New York City's Times Square offers a 60,000 square-foot venue where groups can feel as if they are journeying through the depths of the ocean. Combining immersive technology and the elements of a museum, exhibit, movie, and aquarium without exactly being any one of them, the attraction has exceeded all attendance projections. 

"The first time I experienced National Geographic Encounter, I said, 'This has to be in Saudi Arabia,'" says Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, founder and CEO of KBW Ventures, during a luncheon where details for the project were unveiled. "The experience brings people around the globe into the natural world of wildlife. Zoos don't make sense anymore as animals are not in their natural environment. This is the future. We also believe in Encounter's entertainment with purpose ethos."

The first of the Middle Eastern installments will premiere in downtown Riyadh, toward the end of next year, in the KBW Entertainment Complex and is expected to be three to four times bigger than the original. It will also include a movie theater, retail space, and event space larger than that in the New York location, which can accommodate corporate events, dinners, receptions, and more for up to 1,000 people.

"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."