Gray's Reef comes ashore, kids explore marine sanctuary through virtual reality

Archer Evangelista, 5, explores Gray's Reef using virtual reality glasses. (Photo: Ian Dembling)

In honor of National "Get Into your Sanctuary" Day, the Live Oak Public Library teamed up with the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration to show kids what it looks like at the bottom of the ocean.

All 14 national marine sanctuaries in the country hosted an opportunity Saturday to see some of the most beautifully protected marine sites in the United States. Since Gray's Reef is too far away from Georgia's coast, NOAA brought pictures of the sanctuary to Whitemarsh Island.

"We placed the tripods down on the bottom of the ocean and actually spun the cameras around," said Chris Hines, a deputy superintendent and diver for NOAA.

With these 360 degree cameras, they created photos that can be seen in virtual reality.

It gives users an experience to see what the bottom of the ocean is like, without ever getting their feet wet. Photos range from schools of fish, to barrel sponges and barracudas. NOAA says they will be taking even more pictures in the future.

Those interested in seeing the pictures on their phones can text "graysreef" to 24587. They are free to download onto your phone.

If you do not have a smartphone, you can also see the pictures here.