We Visit the Oklahoma Aquarium:
Masks on, of course!
The Oklahoma Aquarium has officially re-opened its doors as of May 8, 2020, complete with a brand-new exhibit! While I still plan on keeping Joss home with me for the most part, I decided to purchase opening day tickets for the Aquarium. They have a lot of protocols in place to help keep guests and staff safe, including:
- All staff members were wearing masks
Tickets must be purchased in advance online, and a limited number are sold(As of May 15, guests will no longer need to purchase tickets in advance) Certain exhibits remain closed to the public(As of May 15, all Aquarium facilities, including the playground, will be open to the public)
- Guests can take advantage of hand-sanitizing stations
- There is a clearly marked, one-way path through the Aquarium with stickers notating where you need to be in order to maintain a six-foot distance from the person in front of you
It wasn’t busy on Friday morning; however, there were plenty of staff members available, and I felt confident that they have been trained to help guide guests as needed. Learn more about their current safety policies here.
Joss wore his shark shirt AND pants. And socks. But you can’t see those 🙂
Purchasing Tickets and Arrival
When you purchase your tickets online, you designate a fifteen-minute time slot for your arrival. Only fifteen people are invited to arrive per fifteen minutes. The Aquarium asks that you remain in your car until your designated time. Again, there is a clearly marked path leading to the front doors, with round stickers telling you where to stand in relation to those around you.
Also, because of the limited tickets, the Aquarium has extended its hours of operation. It is currently open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week, with the last ticket sold for 7:45 p.m.
I do wish I had just gone ahead and purchased a membership rather than tickets. One adult and one child ticket costs about $34, whereas an Individual Membership (which includes one named cardholder and one guest) is just $70. So we will probably be purchasing a membership for our next visit! Learn more about membership here.
Inside the Aquarium
I hadn’t visited the Aquarium with Joss since Hallowmarine two years ago. I’ve gone through for business purposes–taking photos of the new Polynesian Reef or Sea Turtle exhibits. But I hadn’t taken a leisurely tour through the entire space. It truly is a treasure, and so fun to visit with kids.
Alligator Snapping Turtle
Joss especially enjoyed saying hello to the sea turtle and sharks. I loved seeing the jellyfish, mudskippers, and this funny little guy:
There is such a variety here! Beautiful fish, bizarre-looking fish, fish that swim vertically, unicorn fish…and of course, other creatures as well!
The Secret World of the Octopus
Besides the sharks (always a favorite), I was excited to visit the Aquarium’s newest exhibit, The Secret World of the Octopus! It had a cool, steam-punky vibe. Although the giant Pacific octopus was stuck to the back of its tank while we were there, there is a 360-degree walk-around, so we still got a good view.
According to the website, The Secret World of the Octopus “is the Aquarium’s first exhibit fully funded through public donations.” The Aquarium sold special wristbands at $3 apiece, selling nearly 40,000 from March 6, 2018 through the end of the year. Wow!
A Note About Social Distancing
The Aquarium encourages its visitors to wear masks. We certainly did. I’d say maybe half of the guests were wearing masks, and half weren’t. Again, it wasn’t that busy while we were there. If you do go, please wear a mask! For more information about why and how to wear a mask, go to cdc.gov.
On Wednesday, when I purchased our Aquarium tickets, I later took Joss to the post office to mail Mother’s Day gifts. Thankfully, it wasn’t busy when we arrived. But that was one stressful experience! He didn’t want to keep his mask on, kept trying to touch cards, etc. By the time we left, I was pretty frustrated and definitely concerned about taking him to the Aquarium. We spent the next day and a half talking about the importance of masks, listening, and not touching things. And how, if those things didn’t happen, we’d have to leave the Aquarium early.
So glad to report that Joss’s mask stayed on the entire time we were at the Aquarium. Hopefully the message is sinking in! I don’t think we’re quite ready to “go back out into society” yet. But it was nice to get out and to see how seriously the Aquarium was taking its safety precautions.
Are you ready to visit Tulsa-area attractions when they reopen, or are you planning to wait?