March 30, 2019

Experience AZ

OdySea will host Autism Awareness Weekend

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, OdySea Aquarium, in partnership with Pal, a non-profit organization supporting individuals with autism and other related non-visible intellectual and developmental differences, is hosting an Autism Awareness Weekend April 5 – 7 with special Aquarium accommodations and a $10 off admission price (each) for impacted families.     

“We are thrilled to partner with Pal to provide an engaging and memorable experience for families affected by sensory disabilities,” said Jessica Peranteau, Director of Animal Care and Education at OdySea Aquarium. “While a variety of special activities will take place for our Autism Awareness Weekend, OdySea Aquarium is committed to accessibility year-round. As a dedicated Pal Place, we feel strongly OdySea Aquarium can be that unique outlet for these individuals on any visit.” 

The OdySea team is making the facility as welcoming and sensory-sensitive as possible for families that weekend, including sound adjustments for music and animal talks throughout the aquarium, and providing additional lighting in darker areas of the building. The Deep Ocean 3D Theatre will be transformed into a quiet area, featuring special sensory activities, books, bean bag chairs, and floor puzzles to create a relaxing atmosphere.  The Aquarium’s 3-D movie will have fewer – yet specific – run-times so families can plan accordingly.  On the iconic, revolving OdySea Voyager, there will be priority boarding for those with Pal bracelets, in seats that are designated as “easy to exit.”  Voyager will also be a walk-through experience for several hours (versus the usual one hour) at the beginning and the end of the day so families can enjoy the exhibit at their own pace. 

Adding extra consideration, the Aquarium will have a designated Ticket Window specifically for families arriving for the Autism Awareness days where they can quickly receive their discount tickets and Pal Bracelet (easy for Aquarium staff to identify).  An “OdySea Aquarium Mission Chart” – a visual schedule that helps kids break down complex tasks into bite size pieces – is available for download at Pal’s website prior to the visit.

OdySea Aquarium is an official Pal Place; venues/attractions that are dedicated to offering the best customer experiences to guests of all abilities. Whether individuals are on the autism spectrum, have an intellectual or developmental disability, or just need some extra support, Pal Places welcome everyone. Families interested in attending OdySea Aquarium’s Autism Awareness Weekend are encouraged to view Pal’s Aquarium video to visually see how to maneuver the Aquarium successfully, know what to expect and plan accordingly from their trip.