Expo 2020 Dubai’s Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion will welcome its first public guests on Friday (January 22) as the countdown to the hotly-anticipated global exhibition gathers momentum.
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A total of 3,000 guests at a time will be able to go into the monument to sustainable living on weekdays, capped at 5,000 on weekends, and can do so for Dhs25 per person.
Paramount to the lasting legacy of Expo 2020 is inspiring the next generation to think more critically about the impact their choices have on the environment. This is abundantly clear in a huge range of interactive educational installations throughout the site.
Ahead of the grand opening, Time Out was given a first look at what visitors can expect from the greatest show on Earth.
Terra is billed as a playful, exploratory experience, and post-Expo will remain in legacy as a Science Centre.
Visitors will be guided on a trip through time, under the shade of ‘energy trees’ that track the sun to harness solar power that fuels the structure – which itself has net-zero energy aspirations.
Visitors will be introduced to the concept that change is a natural part of life, but as the trail concludes, and mankind is introduced into the equation, the messaging turns to how our impact has accelerated change beyond a sustainable pace.
The scene is further set at the trunk of the overarching pavilion canopy. This is topped by more than a thousand photovoltaic panels that capture the sun’s energy – where fairground-esque giant pinball machines, strong-man ‘high striker’ amusements, and fixed bikes that encourage pairs of riders to strike a balance between problems facing the world with the speed of their ride begin the emotive experience.
Inside the immersion continues, with trails under the ocean and through the rainforest presenting the beauty of the natural world in a mesmerising 360-degree sensory feast before segueing into hardhitting realities – think whale songs and rolling waves cutting to walls of plastic bottles and fake TV ads pushing plastic-filled tuna cans to the masses in the Sea of Consumption hall.
The entire journey is sewn together with clever and consistant questioning of guests. Eight fixed stations present testing ‘Would you rathers’, which can be answered by the pulling of one or levellers.
Would you rather save the Earth or touchdown on Mars? Would you give up your phone to save a rainforest you’d never see?
It puts you on the spot, but importantly collates the data and shares the most popular answer via scoreboard, so guests can draw their own conclusions on the morality of the matter, and allows organisers to better understand audience attitudes in their pursuit of education around key issues.
A Laboratory of Future Values, meanwhile, features hydroponic gardens, dioramas showcasing sustainable living solutions, and yet more would you rather stations. This time they’re in the form of a giant octopus, which invites guests to fill one of three bowls hanging from each leg, each representing an answer to another testing question on responbilities and drivers of change.
Close to 200 countries are due to participate in Expo 2020 – delayed by a year because of the global health pandemic.
World Expos provide platforms for collaboration, innovation and inspiration, and Expo 2020 is expected to welcome millions of visitors over the course of its run (October 1, 2021 until March 31, 2022).
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau and UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation, said: “This period of rapid, unprecedented change has brought with it a pressing need to rethink the way we exist, and is further accelerated by a global health crisis that has touched each and every individual on Earth.
“While 2020 may be remembered as a year that changed us forever, it has also given us a tremendous opportunity to come together as a global society and find answers to our most pressing challenges.”
Two other thematic pavilions –Opportunity and Mobility – have yet to open their doors to the public.
All visitors need to make a timed-entry reservation in advance online. Walk-in tickets will not be available.
The experience will be open from 3pm until 9pm on Tuesdays to Thursdays, and 4pm until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Pavilions Premiere bookings can be made from Saturday January 16 here.
Dhs25. Jan 22-Apr 10. Expo Road, www.expo2020dubai.com.
This article originally appeared on timeoutdubai.com