One of the many joys of having a child is having a new found reason to go exploring again with a new set of eyes. Recently we found ourselves gifted with tickets to the Odysea Aquarium for Shiloh’s 1st birthday. (Thank you, Jamie!) After a successful trip to the zoo, we were excited to take him to another observation based experience.
At the zoo, you get to explore some of the world’s coolest and most identifiable animals but most of those animals are meant to blend into their environment. A fun game once Shiloh is older to try and spot the animals but a 1 year old is going to be pressed to even look the correct direction of the exhibit. At the aquarium, the fish are right in front of you in a tank. While a couple habitats might have some hard to see friends, more often than not there are many fish to see in each area making it easier for Shiloh to understand what we are all looking at.
I love the staff at Odysea. Everyone is friendly without being overly chatty. *You know what I mean?*
We are immediately given a layout of the land which includes a mention of their special bathroom. So special that it won America’s Best Bathroom in 2017. What makes it noteworthy? Well on top of it being VERY clean when I walked in… there are sharks. Yes, instead of a bathroom mirror so you can see other people waiting to use the bathroom behind you while you wash your hands, there is wall-sized aquarium filled with active and beautiful swimmers. Shiloh was entertained enough we stood there for a couple minutes checking it out as the sharks were in the mood to do several swim-bys. So I agree, best bathroom I’ve been in as it’s the only public bathroom I’ve ever wanted to stay in.
After probably overstaying my welcome in America’s Best Bathroom we hopped on the elevator to hit the freshwater floor. You are quickly greeted by a stream of flapping fishies to your right, some turtles straight ahead and if you peek further down the line you’ll get a glimpse of the giant sturgeons! (You used to be able to touch them.)
I’m always amazed just how many fish are freshwater ones. It’s the floor I spent the most time reading the informational decks on just because I found out I didn’t know much about those fish (and related critters they had upstairs; like the sloth.)
Our next adventure was to the tide pool where the ‘touch’ exhibit was. They had some covid safety protocols still active where you are required to wash your hands before dipping them into the water and a staff member that was elevated to make sure everyone complied and keep the animals safe. So many ray-varieties, some even colorful were on display. We didn’t touch this go around. Shiloh would have just fallen in and we very well couldn’t enjoy the fun in front of him. Maybe in a year or two.
Who doesn’t love those salt water fish? They are the colorful and strange looking creatures of the dark depths that always catch me stuck at their tank. When you are carrying a 1 year-old, you don’t get the luxury of enjoying your mysterious new friends. As soon as he would catch a glimmer of another fish he would start laughing and grabbing towards that direction. The king leads, what can I say. That being said we made it through the aquarium in about an hour and a half at his hasty pace.
You have to exit through the gift shop, always the best marketing move ever. And yes, we are THOSE parents that think we want to commemorate everything and will overpay to do it. You can betcha we are the fine owners of some Odysea Aquarium green screen pictures/magnets/keychains, one bag of sea creature figurines aaand a sticker…
We decided AFTER all of that our new way to commemorate places with Shiloh would be a nice sticker for his water bottle/books. If I end up with one more stuffed animal for him my husband might burn them all. *I joke!*
If you too have a quick toddler, then never fear, the AZ Boardwalk has much to share with you! A Ripley’s museum, Pangea Dinosaur digging, sweet treats and more! A full day can be had the boardwalk. Don’t be afraid to be a tourist in your own town.