Rendering of the new Aquarium of the Pacific wing

Attractions make excellent venues for receptions and special events. For that very reason, it’s important for planners to stay on top of their options. There’s nothing like taking your group to new and improved attractions, from building excitement before events to creating lasting memories, which will keep attendees coming back to your convention.

Here are few projects in the works that attendees will love:

Aquarium of the Pacific

One of the premier learning aquariums on the West Coast is about to get bigger and better. Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, will be adding a new wing in the shape of a blue whale.

The project, which is slated to be complete in 2018, calls for an immersive theater, special exhibition and art gallery spaces, and animal exhibits. The 300-seat Honda Pacific Visions Theater will include a 32-foot-tall, 130-foot long, 180-degree arc digital projection wall and a 30-foot-diameter floor projection disc to create a virtual ocean setting.

Here’s a description of the new theater, according to the aquarium website: The theater will bring to life epic ocean stories, allowing audiences to discover new species, witness the processes and phenomena of Earth’s ecosystems, and grapple with the many challenges facing the natural world. Each seat will be wired for interactivity, providing visitors opportunities to explore a range of possible trajectories for our planet and underscoring how human action can lead to a more sustainable future. All stories will be developed by the Aquarium in partnership with leading scientists, filmmakers, storytellers, and digital artists.

Walt Disney World Resort

Orlando’s popular theme park is expected to open a new “Frozen” ride at Epcot in May. The  Maelstrom ride located in the Norway pavilion of the World Showcase will be transitioned into “Frozen Ever After.” This new attraction is based on Disney’s popular animated film. The ride will take guests to Arendelle during the kingdom’s Winter Festival, featuring favorite characters and music from the film, all with cutting-edge technology.

Hershey Lodge

Scheduled to open Memorial Day in Pennsylvania, Hershey’s Water Works at Hershey Lodge will be an added bonus to this major meeting property. The $13 million project includes two indoor pools, a fitness center, game room, food and beverage offerings including a full bar and wait staff, event space, whirlpool and bathrooms. The capacity of the complex is 781 people. There are 665 guest rooms and more than 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Universal Orlando Resort

Coming this summer, Universal Orlando Resort will open a highly anticipated new attraction on its Islands of Adventure. “Skull Island: Reign of Kong” will honor one of the most monumental figures in movie history, King Kong. Guests will board large vehicles and explore ancient temple structures while encountering hostile natives and fending off unspeakable terrors. Now that’s a wow factor.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Central California’s meeting gem hopes to add a 26,000-square-foot Center for Ocean Education and Leadership. Plans call for development of the state-of-the-art center to begin in the fall and be completed by 2018. Cutting-edge technology will be incorporated into the four-story building, which will include learning labs, wet labs with marine life and collaborative learning spaces. Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, it will feature solar panels, a living roof and water conservation features.

“We’re thrilled to be moving forward with a project that will have such a significant long-term impact on science education in California,” said Julie Packard, executive director. “Completion of the Center for Ocean Education and Leadership will take our commitment to advancing ecosystem-based learning to a new level of excellence. This work is so important as threats to the ocean grow more urgent each day. We’re at a pivotal time for the planet. We need to reach more children, teens and teachers, but right now, demand for our education programs far exceeds our capacity to serve.”