By Stacey Leasca
July 25, 2019
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Forget exploring museums above ground. The new, cool, and totally hip way to see them is by diving below the ocean’s surface instead.

On Wednesday, the country of Jordan unveiled its latest museum dedicated to its military history. Though, to get there you’ll need a scuba certification as the hotel is located underwater off the coast of Aqaba in the Red Sea.

According to the BBC, the military sank several pieces including tanks, helicopters, and troop carriers next to a coral reef to provide visitors with a “new type” of museum. The museum, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) explained, will combine "sports, environment and exhibits.”

The new dive site, CNN reported, includes 19 antique pieces, all of which were provided by the country's armed forces. Each piece can now be found 92 feet (or 28 meters) below the surface at a new spot known as the Underwater Military Museum Dive Site.

Though the concept sounds odd, sinking the old gear could actually help improve the local marine environment.

“Artificial reefs do have important value,” Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, a New Jersey-based environmental coalition, told The New York Times. “They just have to be the right materials that are suitable for that habitat.”

The state of New York completed a rather similar project with reef systems off the coast of Long Island. There, it sank parts of the old Tappan Zee Bridge to help the reef regrow.

“What you’re trying to mimic when you’re creating an artificial reef is the natural habitat,” Zipf said. “I think the emphasis should be on habitat and the protection of the marine life, rather than the repurposing of the material as a museum.”

The Jordanian museum and the Long Island sire aren’t the only ones out there. As CNN explained, Bahrain has its own underwater museum. For its unique dive it sank a Boeing 747 airplane off the artificial island of Diyar Al Muharraq. Turkey also has a spot with a sunken Airbus jet near the northwestern coast along the Gallipoli Peninsula.

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