Hello readers! So I Just recently I bought a family annual membership to the OdySea Aquarium. My husband and I always struggle with the decision of whether or not it is worth it to buy annual passes to local family attractions in Arizona. My sister-in-law had tipped us off to the a special they were running and after about a month of debating I went ahead and pulled the trigger on purchasing an annual membership for our family of four. The fear of their summer sale ending and the membership prices going back up to what I consider an insane amount to spend on a local attraction that isn’t on par with Disneyland encouraged me to do it. The OdySea Aquarium regular admission costs $34.95 for an adult, $24.95 for a child ages 3-12, $29.95 for a student ages 13-17 or with college I.D., and $32.95 for seniors age 62+. To me this is just way too much and even though our youngest is free (ages 2- are free) $100 for one visit is redonk. While the annual membership is on sale we spent only $188.75 plus tax which means that it pays for itself in just two visits. So that is my tip #1
TIP #1- If the annual membership is on sale BUY IT!
I knew that even if the attractions weren’t that great we would go at least a few times just to get out of the house during the miserable Arizona summer heat. I enjoy walking and have found that mall walking or walking around Target doesn’t work out well for me (I cannot resist the urge to shop) so having a couple of places that the kids enjoy visiting and exploring that are indoors ends up saving me more money in the long run. Packing snacks and drinks for my kiddos and myself is always a must. I also have a problem with eating out, I love it, so if I bring snacks for all of us I tend to keep that urge in check. I personally love using my Ju-Ju Be Fuel Cells for snacks and drinks, they are insulated and have a strap that can easily be clipped onto a stroller, diaper bag, purse or backpack. There it is and I know it is kind of a given for most moms but my tip numero dos.
TIP #2- Pack your own snacks/lunch
The Odysea Aquarium does not allow outside food and drinks but I have never had a problem bringing in my own water bottle and snacks/food for my almost 1 year old. Even the food you can purchase there in their Lighthouse Cafe has to stay in the designated dining area (you do get a discount on food with your annual membership card). There is however a great outdoor area in the middle of the circular OdySea In The Desert center with a few tables, shade and plenty of room for kids to run and around and burn off energy, great for a picnic. If packing a lunch isn’t your thing and you just want to grab a bite to eat at the OdySea In The Desert there are several options in the area surrounding the aquarium. There are so many options there is surely something everyone will enjoy. Me sure to ask if they offer a discount for OdySea Aquarium members, I asked at Frozen Penguin Ice Cream and sure enough they did offer a discount! As the great Ben Franklin once said “A penny saved is a penny earned.” So that brings me to my third tip…
TIP #3- Ask if there is a discount for annual members
There is a surprising amount of activities to do at the aquarium that are included with your membership/admission, there also extra activities/experiences that you can pay for (members do receive discounts on those attractions). So far in the my three visits since becoming a card carrying member one month ago, I have yet to do all of the included “experiences. The first two times I went we spent about two hours there seeing all of the tanks and sitting through “The Living Carousel” which is about 20 minutes long. The third time that we went we only spent just over an hour, we didn’t do the carousel but had intentions of seeing the 3D movie, unfortunately they were having technical issues which is fine, we are members, we can see it next time. I like to keep the visits to under two hours that way the next time we visit there is something new to do. Plus, with my son two hours is about all we can do and still all leave happy.
TIP #4- Save some attractions for your next visit
Another reason our previous visit was shorter had to do with the time of day that we went. The first two times we visited OdySea school was still out for summer so there were tons of families. The last time however, we went after school resumed. Our thinking was that during the day there will likely be schools on field trips and/or tons of tourists, we decided that the time right after our daughters school gets out for the day would be perfect. We headed to the aquarium at about 2:30. Fortunately we were right, we walked right in without any sort of line what so ever. It was very pleasant, we were able to walk around and see all of the beautiful fish and animals without any crowd. The stingray tank and petting area was wide open and easy to spend a decent amount of time there. So my last tip is…
TIP# 5- Go in the afternoon/evening
There is a lot to see at OdySea In The Desert Aquarium. During my most recent visit I was informed that they are excited to be opening a new exhibit this fall and that they have a special limited time mermaid show coming up. I am so excited that my membership gets me into an exclusive event with the mermaids that is for members only. Also, be sure to check their event calendar, it features free live music in the center on weekends. So there you have it, I highly recommend splurging for the annual membership (while still on sale) if you have the funds to do so. Thanks for reading and I hope that you have found this useful.