DIVE INTO SCOTTSDALE
The Sonoran Desert may be known as a haven for coyotes and javelinas, but in late September 2016, Scottsdale welcomed more than 30,000 marine animals. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community brought the sea to Scottsdale with the opening of OdySea Aquarium. This 16-acre complex is the largest aquarium in the Southwest, spanning 200,000 square feet over two levels. OdySea Aquarium brings guests a high-tech, high-entertainment, oceanic adventure with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer viewing of aquatic life — even in the restrooms — and underwater acrylic tunnels that lead to each level. OdySea Aquarium will explore marine life of more than 500 different species, from bayous and coral reefs to deep abysses in exhibits such as “Rivers of the World,” “Amazon Rivers,” “The Bizarre & the Beautiful” and “Penguins.” The aquarium will also feature SeaTREK, an underwater program that allows visitors to descend deep into the water and meet marine life face-to-face.
OdySea Aquarium is situated in the $200 million OdySea in the Desert complex, already a hotbed of family friendly attractions like Butterfly Wonderland and OdySea Mirror Maze. While temperatures outside OdySea exceed 100 degrees in the summer, it will always be an icy 23 degrees inside the Polar Play attraction, featuring an indoor ice bar, along with a playground for children. Everything inside Polar Play, set to open in 2017, is made of ice — the bar, the drink glasses, walls and chairs. Phoenix ice sculptor Mark Armitage is using his skills to create more than 500 ice sculptures for the 3,500-square-foot space, which will include penguins and polar bears. Other icy plans for Polar Play are a game table made of ice, benches, a slide or an ice tunnel for children.
Right around the corner from OdySea in the Desert, iFly sky diving simulator is opening its doors in January 2017. This adventurous experience includes all necessary equipment, a personalized training session and flight time in the wind tunnel. iFly is family friendly and great for groups looking for more adventure.