Usually when I gather a group, I am more often than not experiencing the selected show/activity for the first time along with the group. This gives me a semi-free pass on my decision-making skills if whatever I selected is a bust. I love the freedom of a free pass. But sometimes I visit a place or see a show and then make the determination to bring the group back. This decision is then personal because I have determined right or wrong that this is something I think the group will love.
Cue the second-guessing that internally occurs before such events, like recently when a group of 25 of us made our way to the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. It was a cold and rainy day… my peeps had to walk a frigid 10 minutes from our first cozy group experience at the Broadway show The Lightning Thief to this next group experience tucked into a subterranean space in Times Square. A perhaps overly ambitious agenda? For sure. I am certain that a percentage of the group would have preferred to have been heading home. I would not have been surprised if some or all had snuck off in search of a cup of tea and a good book, but each and every one of my intrepid participants appeared! Phew.
Thanks to the numbers we had accrued I was able to negotiate a private tour of this space, which is essentially a series of high tech multi-media, multi-sensory, experiential rooms. These spaces enable one to get up close and personal with all things to do with the ocean, as you engage in a submerged tour across the span of the Pacific Ocean (in about an hour).
As we waited outside for our tour to begin I surveyed our group. “Kids” as young as 8, a whole bunch of tweens, a smattering of teens, some young adults (ages 20, 21, 24, and 25) and my peers the parents. A daunting age range to keep happy for sure. I reminded my second-guessing brain that National Geographic is a trusted brand and that we sincerely loved our last visit one year ago. This mini pep talk enabled me to enter the exhibit with a decent dose of confidence.
Well National Geographic and the untold team members that created this transporting and memorable experiential experience, THANK YOU for creating this exhibit and bringing it to NYC. All of our age ranges uniformly loved it and the experience of being there together as a group enhanced it all the more.
It was like a festive underwater party. We had the best time ooh and ahhing together. I am guessing each person in the group had different favorite parts, but the ocean at night seemed to dazzle a lot of the group. The kelp forest maze had us all laughing and we nearly left 2 of our group behind as they had trouble finding their way out.
Interacting with a seal was my favorite part. As we all competed for spots on the dots, I am guessing my group loved that part too. The big fish surprise finish at the end was also a crowd-pleaser. 🙂 At the completion of the tour there is a well done interactive educational space where I was happy to turn and see our 15-year-old daughter sitting on a chair made for toddlers quietly drawing with a friend.
The tasteful gift shop is worth some time as well. If you need an hour or more to fill before or after a show, or just want a fun immersive experience for your group… Grab Your Group and GO! Tell them GYGG sent you. 🙂
National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey226 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 PM — 8:00 PM
(Last ticket sold one hour prior to closing)
Admission Standard Rates:
$32.50 (Child 3-12)
$36.50 (Seniors & U.S. Veterans)
Additional rates and passes are available. For more information, visit the official website here.