Save Half Off Norfolk Virginia Zoo Admission

The Groupon link used in this post pay us a commission should you elect to make a purchase using them. You of course do not need to use our link, but we appreciate if you do.

When my wife and I had our first son, we of course had some initial trepidation of taking him out into the world, let alone traveling. However, due to a family wedding in the Outer Banks, only a couple of short months after his birth, we started a lifetime of travel adventure with our newborn.

A large staple of any of our travels often finds ourselves at local zoos. After all, our Cleveland Zoo membership, and many of those around the country, offer reciprocal admission to other facilities around the country. Therefore, to save some money, yet still fit in some activities on the trip, a visit to the Norfolk Virginia Zoo was the perfect opportunity to take our son.

090718 Norfolk Virginia Zoo

090718 Norfolk Virginia Zoo

090718 Norfolk Virginia Zoo

090718 Norfolk Virginia Zoo

So the Norfolk Virginia Zoo holds a special place to us as parents, being his first encounter with mother nature’s finest display of fauna and flora. Sure, he was only a couple months old, and surely would not even realize he was there, but our visit marked an important milestone for our family. Our trip to the zoo and this vacation in general symbolized we as parents had no need to worry about stepping outside the “protection” of our home.

090718 Norfolk Virginia Zoo

090718 Norfolk Virginia Zoo

090718 Norfolk Virginia Zoo

090718 Norfolk Virginia Zoo

Looking to save money for your family on admission to the Norfolk Virginia Zoo? Check this out.

Link: Zoo Visit for Two or Four to the Virginia Zoo (Up to 50% Off) (affiliate link)

Groupon is currently offering two and four person ticket packages to the Norfolk Virginia Zoo for half off.

Choose Between Two Options:

– $11 for a zoo visit for two (up to a $22 value)
– $22 for a zoo visit for four (up to a $44 value)

Tickets are valid through March 29, 2015, plus if you fail to use them, Groupon will automatically refund you the money.

Has a vacation ever held a special moment in your family’s timeline? Share with us below.

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Source: InACents

Aquarium of the Bay

Review: Aquarium of the Bay

Several weeks ago I was excited to learn that a fellow travel blogger took advantage of the discounted admission to the Aquarium of the Bay promotion that we mentioned back in January. So I asked Chester from Relentless Financial Improvement if he would be interested in writing us a guest post reviewing the Aquarium of the Bay. Please welcome him in sharing his experience.


No visit to San Francisco is complete without a walk through San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. This popular tourist spot is home to restaurants, sea lions, cable cars, shopping, street performers and various attractions such as the Aquarium of the Bay.

The Aquarium of the Bay is at the edge of Pier 39, located at Embarcadero and Beach Street. From the outside, this aquarium looks very plain and unassuming. However, once you enter this 50,000 square foot aquarium, you enter an underwater world filled with over 20,000 amazing aquatic animals, focused on species from the San Francisco Bay and neighboring waters. This facility holds 700,000 gallons of bay sea water in 300 feet of crystal clear acrylic tunnels you can travel through.

140216 Aquarium of the Bays Outside Aquarium

The Aquarium of the Bay is divided into three main exhibits: Discover the Bay, Under the Bay, and Touch the Bay.

The first exhibit you are introduced to is Discover the Bay, which includes a collection of smaller tanks that display the marine creatures that live in the bay. Here you can see anchovies, Garibaldi (the California State Fish), moray eels, lobsters, fish in coral reefs, and more.

140216 Aquarium of the Bays Corals

140216 Aquarium of the Bays Sea Anemones

Next, you board an elevator that takes you down to the lower level of the aquarium, where you go to the second exhibit: Discover the Bay. This is the largest exhibit in the aquarium.

140216 Aquarium of the Bays Jellyfish 1

You are greeted by beautiful, pulsating groups of various jellyfish.

140216 Aquarium of the Bays Jellyfish 2

Then you step onto a moving walkway surrounded by acrylic glass, which allows you to explore what it looks like to be a scuba diver in the deeper waters of the San Francisco Bay. You will slowly travel through 300 feet of tunnels to see hundreds of sea animals swim around and above you. You will be surrounded by various species of sharks, stingrays, sturgeon, and fish.

Here you will see a unique type of shark called the Sevengill, which happens to be San Francisco Bay’s largest predator. This shark has a peculiar blunt snout that you don’t normally see with sharks. While most sharks have 5 gill slits per side, the Sevengill shark has a unique set of 7 gill slits.

140216 Aquarium of the Bays Sevengill Shark

Next you get to see a giant octopus up close. Be sure to watch all of the octopus videos, showing how intelligent and incredibly flexible these creatures are.

140216 Aquarium of the Bays Giant Octopus

Touch the Bay is the last exhibit in the aquarium. Here you get a chance to touch different types of rays, skates, sharks, starfish, and more in shallow pools of water. In this part of the aquarium, you can also see some local land animals like snakes, frogs, and even an opossum (so random!).

140216 Aquarium of the Bays Touch tank

140216 Aquarium of the Bays opossum

The newest part of the aquarium is the Otter exhibit, which features 3 river otters. We did not see much here on our visit since all 3 otters were sleeping.

At the Aquarium of the Bay, there are also daily visitor programs like live presentations on otters, live shark feedings, as well as 3D movies in the Bay Theater. (Note: movie tickets are not included with paid admission to the aquarium)

One thing we didn’t realize until later was that your Aquarium ticket provides return privileges throughout the day. After visiting the aquarium, you can walk around the shops, see the sea lions on Pier 39, grab something tasty to eat, then come back and see more of the aquarium.

140216 Aquarium of the Bays Schooling fish

The Aquarium of the Bay is open 364 days of the year, only closing on Christmas day. The next time you find yourself strolling through San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, don’t forget to stop by the Aquarium of the Bay!

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Source: Relentless Financial Improvement. All photos ©Relentless Financial Improvement and used with permission.

Visiting the Columbus Ohio Zoo Means More Than Just Animals

Last month our family decided to take a quick spin down to Columbus, Ohio since the weather was so nice. Our destination for this trip was the Columbus Zoo. It is incredible, to say the least, just how far the Columbus Zoo has come in the last decade. No longer is the zoo just a quick visit to see some animals. The zoo has been completely revamped, and has an adjoining water park, making a multi-day visit if one so chooses. It is no doubt the affiliation with Jack Hannah has spurred the success and growth of the Columbus Zoo.

120902 Columbus Zoo Pressed Penny

120902 Columbus Zoo Globe

Our family has never visited the water park, but at least once per year we take advantage of our reciprocal discount zoo admission to our zoo to the south. The zoo is now so large, I dare say sometimes a family just can not see every aspect without experiencing physical exhaustion. Our family typically sees the exhibits in a random assortment, and has yet to see the entire property in one visit.

120902 Columbus Zoo Penguins

120902 Columbus Zoo Manatee Sign

120902 Columbus Zoo Manatee

You better believe this family of boys made a stop at the train ride. For a $1, guests can ride around a small loop of the North America area. Unfortunately, there really is not much to see on the train. In addition, the ride is not narrated in any way, making the train nothing more than a rest break. With the whole zoo having been carefully designed and laid out, the train appears like an afterthought.

120902 Columbus Zoo Train

120902 Columbus Zoo Train Ride Sign 1

120902 Columbus Zoo Train Ride Sign 2

The Grand Carousel was manufactured in 1914 by the William I Mangels Company with wood horses carved by the Marcus Illions Company. The carousel was first located in Olentangy Park, an interurban-era amusement park in Clintonville. In 1938, the Mangels-Illions carousel was relocated to the Scioto Ranch Park (also known as the Zoo Amusement Park and Wyandot Lake). On June 17, 2000, the restored carousel, with original 52 horses and 2 chariots, began “spinning its magic” at the Columbus Zoo. Of the nearly 5,000 “Grand Carousels” that were operational during the 1900s, fewer than 200 remain.

120902 Columbus Zoo The Grand Carousel

120902 Columbus Zoo Australia Sign

120902 Columbus Zoo Australia Bridge Detail

120902 Columbus Zoo Islands Boat Ride Sign

What we were totally surprised about during this visit, and somehow we overlooked it for years, is the boat ride through the Islands. Our boat ride experience was nothing short of remarkable. I will just let the video speak for itself. We had the entire vessel to ourselves in a nice, quiet, peaceful setting. During our slow visit down the stream, and in the process of trying to capture the perfect video for our audience, we captured some incredible sounds of nature.

As soon as our boat set sail, I no sooner had my phone ring, our boys asked lots of questions, and some guy on the bridge above us asked if it was a good ride. At the end of the video you will even get to hear a lovely boat song by Lan-Shark (1).

We are a first-rate production company here folks, and dive into experiences to truly capture the emotion and feel of the destination.

Throughout the zoo there are lots of great hands-on areas and playgrounds for the kids to expel some energy, just in case trekking them around the zoo is not tiring enough.

120902 Columbus Zoo Habitat Hollow

120902 Columbus Zoo Bear Statue

120902 Columbus Zoo Habitat Hollow Furniture

120902 Columbus Zoo Habitat Hollow Mailbox

120902 Columbus Zoo Little Bugs Sign

Our overall trip to the Columbus Zoo was very rewarding for both the boys and us. The nice thing is that regardless of how many times we have visited, the Columbus Zoo offers something new and exciting that we had not experienced prior.

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