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A surprising underwater adventure awaits you in Times Square in the heart of New York City. And you don’t even have to get wet! The National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey on 44th St was a surprising addition to our recent New York trip and I’m so glad we got to experience it. While it may seem like another tourist trap, this is one you’ll want to visit. The National Geographic Ocean Encounter is a breathtaking, wonderous, and informative experience. Don’t worry, it’s not so informative the kids will be bored. Plus, with only one in the world so far, that is why this is a must-visit attraction in Times Square, NYC.
The National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey does not include live animals, as their mission of preserving and protecting the ocean includes not taking animals out of their natural habitat. Instead, they do what National Geographic does best; show you the underwater world through the use of stunning photography, animation, and videography.
The tour begins with a guide through several rooms. The first room is a giant screen that literally fills the room, including the floor. Plus, the floor is interactive. You see ripples when you walk on the water and later stingrays swim beneath your feet.
Throughout the rest of the tour, you’ll watch giant squid battle, touch a coral reef (it’s hazardous to do this in real life,) learn about bioluminescence, and have a 3D encounter with a humpback whale.
At the end of the tour, kids and adults have the opportunity to learn more about how to protect the ocean with interactive touchscreen elements, scavenger hunts, and more.
Both of my kids stated they enjoyed the Kelp Maze the most. What do you know about seaweed? After learning about the incredible nutrient dense benefits of kelp, we headed into a maze of kelp. This fun house type of exploration even led me astray a bit and certainly went on longer than I expected, in a good way.
My personal favorite was interacting with the sea lions. After the kelp maze, we stood in front of our own personal screen. A sea lion then played with us by responding to our movements. The visual technology is extraordinary that you do feel as if you’re interacting with a real sea lion. Beyond that, from a tech standpoint, how do they get the creatures to interact with you is impressive.
Because of its incredible visuals and interactive elements, this is a place to experience, rather than just read about. I highly encourage you to purchase tickets for this the next time you’re in New York City.
A portion of the proceeds from your ticket purchase supports the National Geographic Society’s nonprofit work in conservation, exploration, research, and education.
Tickets are purchased via a timed encounter and can be purchased in advance here.
Or get all your skip the lines tickets but visiting Tiqets below.
HOURS OF OPERATION
Open daily at 10:00 am
Sunday-Thursday until 9:00 pm
Friday & Saturday until 10:00 pm
(Last ticket sold one hour prior to closing)
National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey is located in Times Square at 226 West 44th Street between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10036
42nd Street Station – Times Square
1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R & S
42nd Street, Bryant Park Station
B, D, F & M
42nd Street, Port Authority Station
A, C or E