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Spring Break is finally here and we are heading out of town soon. But for these few days we are home, I wanted to try some new stuff and explore NYC a bit more. My kids are finally old enough to spend the day walking around Manhattan – without too much complaining! They love visiting new exhibits and attractions – especially anything that involves science or animals! We were super excited to be invited to visit the Nat Geo Encounter Ocean Odyssey in Times Square and include that in our spring break plans. If you are heading to Manhattan, this should for sure be on your to-do list!
Momma To Go would like to thank the National Geographic Encounter for hosting our visit. As always, all opinions are my own.
A Visit to the Nat Geo Encounter Ocean Odyssey
The National Geographic Encounter Ocean Odyssey in New York City is located on West 44th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenue – right in the heart of Times Square! The exhibit is easily accessible by many subway lines (S, 7, N, Q, 1, 2, 3), as well as a short walk from Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal.
What is the Nat Geo Encounter Ocean Odyssey?
The Nat Geo Encounter is a walk-through experience that takes you to the depths of the ocean in a way you never thought possible! Honestly, we have never done anything like this!
Encounter uses groundbreaking technology and stunning photo-realistic animation to transport guests on an extraordinary underwater adventure, where they see, hear and feel what it’s like to live under the Pacific Ocean – all without getting wet!
Entrance to the Nat Geo Encounter is on a timed ticket. When you arrive, you will queue up waiting for a group to form. While you wait, ocean trivia questions will present themselves on a nearby screen, giving you a nice intro into what you are going to see! The kids loved these questions and I found the facts a fascinating way to start the day, in addition to being a good way to pass time in line!
You will move through 95% of the exhibits in a small group, with a guide. At the end, there is an exploration area to take in on your own.
The journey through Nat Geo Encounter begins in the Western Pacific Ocean, in the shallow waters off the Solomon Islands. Through computer technology, you are transported to a room that takes you to the ocean floor – it was really incredible!
As you move east through the Pacific Ocean, you experience coral reef (which you can touch, unlike real coral), learn about bioluminescence, experience what it’s like to be in the ocean at night, and then you will witness a full-on squid fight!
The last two experiences were our favorites – the kelp maze, which was simulating what it would be like to dive through the ocean’s kelp fields, and the 3D show, where you have a front row seat to the predator/prey relationships under the sea!
After the tour, you have a chance to take photos, and there is a room for self-exploration. This area seems to focus on educating guests about ocean conservation. There really is so many simple ways we can help ocean life – especially by cutting out our use of single-use plastics. This exhibit really opened our minds to how bad plastic is for the marine environment! Of course, my kids loved the interactive exhibits and I could not get them out of there!
Oh, and before you go, don’t forget to stop at the retail shop – they had for sale those great National Geographic books my kids LOVE as well as some adorable plushies and other great souvenirs. Baby girl picked out a glow in the dark shark’s tooth for her keepsake!
How to purchase tickets to the Nat Geo Encounter
Its encouraged that you purchase Nat Geo Encounter tickets online, for your desired arrival time. Tickets are available on-site, but if you walk-in you will have to wait for the next available time slot.
If you are unsure when you might arrive, then consider buying the FlexPass, which will allow you to enter at any time, bypassing the general admission line as well!
Bringing the family? Then consider purchasing a Family Fun Pack for Four! This package comes with four tickets for $99.00. This ticket is available all year round and will give you the best value!
Special Events at the Nat Geo Encounter
Nat Geo Encounter is officially expanding Sip ‘n Sea Nights offered regularly throughout 2019 on Fridays and Sundays from 4 pm until closing!
When Encounter guests complete the “underwater” portion of their journey, they are invited to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or non-alcoholic beverage as they continue visiting Exploration Hall and the National Geographic Gallery. Sip ‘n Sea is ideal for date nights or friends getting together. There is also a children’s activity station so kids can take part and enjoy.
So what are you waiting for? On your next New York City visit, be sure to stop by the National Geographic Encounter Ocean Odyssey – we spent a little over two hours here on our recent visit and we all very much enjoyed it!
Have you been to the Nat Geo Encounter? Do you love learning about life under the sea?
Heading to Times Square with kids? Then be sure to also check out a performance of Pip’s Island, an interactive theatre show just for little ones!