What has thousands of residents but no houses, a tunnel without cars, and a bathroom where you can watch sharks swim by? If you guessed the Odysea Aquarium in Scottsdale, Arizona, you were right!
Prepare for an Immersive Experience at Odysea Aquarium
Spanning over 200,000 square feet and holding more than 2 million gallons of water, the Odysea Aquarium is a marvel to behold. With over 65 exhibits, the aquarium houses more than 6,000 animals from 370 different species. This expansive and diverse collection offers an educational, interactive, and entertaining experience for guests of all ages.
And entertain, it did! We were recently invited by Experience Scottsdale to get a taste of what their city has to offer families, and the Aquarium was one of our first stops. Here’s a taste of what you’ll experience at this aquatic wonderland.
A Unique Entry
As you step into the Odysea Aquarium, you are immediately transported into an underwater world filled with a myriad of marine life. The nine water-filled globes hanging from the ceiling in the lobby, each weighing a thousand pounds, are impressive! Yes, they actually have fish in them! Still, one of the most memorable features of the aquarium is just a few steps away.
The Award-Winning Shark Tank
You’ll want to make your way to the restrooms before starting your tour. Don’t need to go? Doesn’t matter. You won’t want to miss the award-winning shark tank, which you’ll view from an unexpected location – behind the sinks in the restroom!
This unique design element has garnered the aquarium an award for “America’s Best Restroom” and speaks volumes about Odysea’s commitment to providing a creative and immersive experience for all its guests. Way to go, Odysea! We definitely score this a 10 for creativity.
Step Aboard the Odysea Voyager – The Revolving Auditorium
Another highlight of the Odysea Aquarium is its revolving auditorium, which offers a one-of-a-kind 360-degree viewing experience. With four separate viewing sections, guests get a sweeping view of the diverse marine life that calls the aquarium home. Each section has a 46-foot viewing window where you’ll see sea lions, sharks, sea turtles, and plenty more to keep you entertained. It’s hands-down the best way to get a view of some of the massive creatures you’ll find there.
The rotating feature of the auditorium lets visitors see the aquatic creatures from different angles, and the soundtrack that plays while you’re in each section makes for an educational experience that’s as entertaining as it is informative. This was one of our favorite exhibits at the Odysea Aquarium!
Interactive Touch Pools
If you’re the type who likes to dive in and get hands-on, Odysea Aquarium has four interactive touch pools that you’ll love. (Our kids sure did!) These tanks allow visitors to get really close to a range of marine creatures, like stingrays and starfish. It’s not just a lot of fun, it’s also a great learning opportunity, helping visitors understand more about various species and the environments they live in.
Enter the Shark Tunnel -If You Dare!
Don’t miss out on the shark tunnel when you visit the Odysea Aquarium. This tunnel, cutting right through the shark tank, will give you a heart-pounding experience as you watch these giant creatures swim right over your head. Can you imagine what it would be like to actually swim with sharks? If you can’t, step into the tunnel and you’ll have a new appreciation as you get up close and personal with a few of them!
Beyond the Usual: SeaTREK Underwater Helmet Diving
Odysea Aquarium offers unique experiences that go beyond the usual aquarium visit. One such experience is the SeaTREK Underwater Helmet Diving. This immersive experience lets visitors dive deep into one of the aquarium’s largest underwater environments, surrounded by thousands of marine life from the Indo-Pacific region of the world.
Participants don an OdySea Aquarium wetsuit and a SeaTREK helmet and are guided by certified instructors. This experience is open to anyone aged eight and above, making it a perfect adventure for families. Children aged 8-14 must be accompanied by a paying parent or guardian in the water.
Encounter Playful Otters
When you visit Odysea Aquarium, you’ll quickly discover it’s not just about the fish. One of the highlights of our visit was the Otter Banks, a busy hub of activity where we got to watch the resident otters in action. Gizmo, Peanut, and Pepper, the otter siblings, put on quite a show with their wrestling, playful antics, and impressive underwater acrobatics. The kids got quite a kick out of watching these little guys play around!
Beyond the Aquarium: The Arizona Boardwalk
The Odysea Aquarium is more than just an aquarium. It’s part of the larger Arizona Boardwalk, a bustling entertainment destination filled with a variety of attractions. After exploring the aquarium, visitors can enjoy a host of other activities, such as Butterfly Wonderland, the Museum of Illusion, and plenty more.
Thank you, Odysea Aquarium and Experience Scottsdale, for inviting us. We had a fantastic time exploring the aquarium!
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Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.