Danish writer Isak Densen once said, “The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea.” If you are in Arizona and you are not sad enough to cry or hot enough to sweat, you may find yourself in a predicament, as the state is not close to the ocean. Fortunately, you can visit a reasonable facsimile of the sea at OdySea Aquarium, which is the largest aquarium in the Southwest.
OdySea in Scottdale is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sunday and from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm all other days of the week. Tickets are $75.95 for adults and $54.95 for kids. Before you get sticker shock, you must realize this is no ordinary aquarium. In addition to educating people about fish and sea vegetation, the aquarium also has some unique tours and exhibits.
The Bizarre and Beautiful Gallery
This exhibit will introduce you to some of the strangest creatures in the ocean. You will meet an axolotl, a fish that can regenerate its own organs. Be sure to check out the hidden viewing area behind the crab exhibit. You can find a tunnel that leads to a bubble window where you can get a better look at these curious fish.
The Penguin Interaction Program
If you are a fan of the adorable and fascinating flightless waterfowl known as the penguin, you will want to participate in this program. The experience is limited to eight participants at a time. These lucky people actually get to meet and interact with African black footed penguins for forty-five minutes.
The OdySea Voyager
The Voyager is the newest and largest exhibit at OdySea Scottsdale. Guests sit in stadium seating in a revolving underwater theater with 46-foot windows. They are then “submerged” in a “submarine” and taken through a narrated ocean adventure.
The SeaTrek experience allows visitors to walk under water and meet many of the sea creatures by use of a special helmet that weighs seventy-two pounds on land, but only fifteen under water. The tour takes about an hour, with twenty minutes of helmet time.