by Waverly W., 9 years old, Nico B., 10 years old and Danny A., 10 years old
Waverly here!  When we heard about National Geographic’s Ocean Odyssey opening in Times Square, we flipped (just like a California Sea Lion – more on that later!).  We have visited lots of shows and places…but we have NEVER gone deep into the ocean.  Well, now we have gone deep into the ocean – without going into the ocean at all.  And now that we are back on land, we can tell you all about it, and yes, it was awesome!!  Our friend and fellow Kid Reporter Danny also went  with his parents, and loved it just like we did.

Right from the beginning we knew that this was going to be different from anything we have ever done before.  When we entered, we heard the sounds of the sea and there was a friendly virtual sea otter right at the top of the escalator that made us feel like we really were going down deep into the water…not to mention the blue lights and the ceiling spritzing water on us!  That really felt good and got us in the mood to see what was going on under the sea!

The first thing we did was go into a big room with lots of large screens on the wall.  A voice came on and said, “You are about to embark on an ocean odyssey.”  Nico whispered to me, “This place seems fishy.” And I laughed.  At that time, I thought we would just be standing there the whole time watching movies of fish.  It was really cool watching all the fish on the screens, but honestly, I thought it would be just like school.   But then, suddenly, doors opened and we were…under water, walking right into the  sandy grasslands of the Solomon Islands.

Whoa!! The floor even rippled when we walked on it, and there were so many little fishies that swam away as we walked across the floor! It was so amazing! Stingrays, sharks and huge turtles came right by us.  I have been to aquariums, but this is a whole other experience.  It’s like being IN the aquarium (but you won’t get hurt or in trouble!).

We did NOT want to leave that room and thought nothing could be as cool as that was.  We were wrong.  Next came the Coral Reef at night where we learned about Bioluminescence and our movements made the creatures glow!  

Nico noticed that the eels on the floor (yes, this had a really cool floor, too) reacted to our steps.  This room was just as cool as the first one! We were actually inside the coral reef!  The walls were rocky and glowing blue and green.  You could even touch them! It sounded and looked so real, it was completely amazing!

What came next?  Something just as amazing.  We went deep down into the ocean where there was no light, only the sounds of whales talking to each other.  It was actually a lot like music. Everyone was quiet and listening and we realized through all of the different sounds and pitches that humans are definitely not the only ones with something to say!

A very fun part came next – we got to make California Sea Lions flip, move around, and basically do anything we wanted them to do! Told you we would get back to that!  I have no idea how they did that but I’m serious.  We went into a room where there were sea lions just waiting to play with us!  If we moved our arms to the right, they would move to the right.  We made them do like a hundred flips!  You would swear they were real….

We also watched a battle between two Humboldt Squids.  We never heard of them either, but they are definitely worth learning about!  They are called “The Red Devil” and are 13 feet long…and they travel in schools of THOUSANDS.  Yes, thousands.  They have 8 arms, of course, with lots of tentacles, but these tentacles each have teeth!  They’re not made up – they really exist!!  And here at National Geographic Ocean Odyssey, you can get up close to them and watch them in action and still come out alive! Here’s Danny’s awesome picture – look at those tentacles, and they each have teeth!!

Great shot by Lauren Asnis!

Danny here! I loved being able to interact with a seal and watching him mimic all of my actions.  I especially liked making it flip.  I really also liked feeling like I was in the ocean with the stingrays and other fish swimming under my feet. 

Another great shot by Lauren Asnis!

Nico here! Another fun part (they were ALL fun!) was the Mirror Maze.  There was me everywhere!  Waverly and I kept bumping into each other and we got tricked a lot during this part – it was so fun!

Back to Waverly! If all that isn’t enough for you, there’s MORE! We are not giving it away, sorry.  I can tell you  that if you ever wanted to go whale-watching, here’s your chance….you’ll see…here’s a clue:

It was totally awesome…you’ll know what I mean when you go there yourself!  Back on land, we entered “Explorer’s Hall,” where we got to learn more about everything we just saw by standing under sound domes.  This place was beautiful and had all these bottles above us. (Note from Mom:  This is a stunning art exhibition called, “Message In A Bottle,” by Asher Jay.  It’s made up of 365 bottles saved from landfill!)  It was a beautiful blue color and there were all kinds of fun things to do while we were learning.  Nico was telling me all these fun facts that he was learning – but some of them were not so fun.  Turtles are becoming endangered!  Coral can die from stress! Now for a fun one….some shrimp are not so shrimpy at all!  The Peacock Mantis Shrimp can grow to be 7″ long!   In this room you can do so many cool things! 

You can hear how all the different creatures sound with the touch of a button.  You can even move models of cool ocean animals on these really cool machines.  We loved playing a game and answering questions to clean up our very own ocean!

Nico here!  It was awesome to be able to explore the sea without actually being there.  I love virtual reality and National Geographic’s Ocean Odyssey really makes you feel like you are literally in the ocean!   Right before we left, we made pledges to spread the word about ocean conservation.  This is one of the ways I am keeping my pledge and I will not stop spreading the word! I learned that we need to stop using so much plastic, like straws.  And we definitely need to clean up our beaches and not let garbage go into the water.

Back to Waverly! I also pledged to spread the word about ocean conservation and it made me feel good that a kid like me could do something to help save the beautiful ocean.  I will stop using straws and plastic spoons and forks.  I hope you will do that also so National Geographic can reach its goal of “Pristine Seas,” and protect 20 of the ocean’s wildest places by 2020.  We can all do something to help the ocean.  Let’s work together to help them!

Mom here again!  If you’re like me, you’ve done a lot and seen a lot with and without your kids.   Well, you haven’t done anything like this, I guarantee you.  National Geographic Ocean Odyssey is truly the “next-level” and you have to check it out! All ages were there and everyone was in awe during this truly amazing odyssey.  Get your tickets now and dive into an unforgettable, unmatchable, unbeatable  experience.  Dive in for yourself – don’t worry, you won’t get wet!!

National Geographic Ocean Odyssey in Times Square.
What an awesome adventure!
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A portion of the proceeds from ticket purchases supports the National Geographic Society’s nonprofit work in conservation, exploration, research, and education.