My wife and I decided to buckle down this year and get an annual pass to our local zoo. We live in a small town, which actually has a decent little zoo. We live less than a mile from away, so it is super convenient for us. We spent $45 for the year, and we’ve easily made our money back in a number of visits to keep the kids entertained.
At this point you’re probably thinking, “Sheldon, this is a travel blog, not a zoology class.” I would tell you that you’re right, but I wanted to show you how cool our zoo pass was for us last week when we spent time in North Carolina.
North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll
One of the big highlights that everyone told us that we needed to see was the aquarium on Emerald Island. They raved about its features, animals, and live exhibits. Being a tighter than tight guy, I was puckering at the thought of spending $33 to go look at animals for a couple of hours. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate zoos, it’s the spending of the money that gives me heartburn. (That’s why I love using points to travel places for next to nothing)
We decided to make the plunge as we had traveled across the country, and everyone had recommended it, we figured it was worth it. There was something in the back of my mind that told me to check the Zoo reciprocity list from the Idaho Falls Zoo to see if the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores was on the list. Right as we approached the front desk I noticed it was on the list. Yahoo!!
I proudly flashed my membership card to the Idaho Falls Tautphaus Park Zoo to the attendant. She researched for a moment, and came back and said, “It looks like it worked. You can enter for free.” My excitement level was higher about my savings than the idea of seeing the zoo. (Can you tell that this can be embarrassing for my wife?)
How was the Pine Knoll Aquarium?
It was at this point that I realized we had made the right decision. When all is said and done, I gladly would have paid the entrance fee. This place was legit!
Right as we arrived we had a chance to watch the scuba divers jump into the shark infested tank. They swam with the sharks in the tank. You can even see them in the background of this photo. Later they fed the fish in the tank, and these guys aren’t like my kids. They left no trace. My kids are covered from head to toe after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Our kids had a great time exploring everywhere. They were able to see snakes, lizards, turtles, sharks, jellyfish, and so much more. There is no way we could have shown our kids all of these animals in the wild, taking them to the Pine Knolls Aquarium was definitely the way to make this happen.
One of the biggest highlights for me was the jellyfish tank. These animals are scarier than the clown on “It.” Somehow that show still scars me and I haven’t seen it since 6th grade. They also remind me of the movie 7 Pounds with Will Smith. That’s the
sad, emotional, tearjerker where he gives up all of his body parts to people who medically need them. He throws the jellyfish in the bath with him, and the thing takes him down in NO time flat.
If you have a zoo pass from your hometown, look and see where it might be able to take you for free or at least a discounted rate. Something like this can help your dollars stretch farther than ever before. In our case it saved us $33, which almost paid for the pass at my local zoo! Consider saving on your next vacation.
At WorldWanderlusting we’re always trying to help you to save more on your next vacation. What other tips do you have for everyone else who is trying to travel the world?