Phoenix With Kids

OdySea Aquarium Review

Chris and Jana Tingom

We had the chance recently to visit the new OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale, AZ. We’ve been back twice after the grand opening weekend, and have a quick list of top ten things you can do at OdySea.

  1. Touch the fish exhibit (Tide Pools) — they have a really nice and very popular area for kids and adults to touch fish and other sea creatures. They have starfish, sea slugs (or maybe they’re sea cucumbers), and much more.
  2. A rotating room where you can sit back and relax — while watching sharks, sea turtles, and seals and sea lions swim! I’m not a fan of the rotating room concept, but it does work well and gives you a great view of the sharks, which are my favorite. There must be a dozen sharks in just a single tank.
  3. Penguins! They have a bunch of penguins swimming in a water tank, which is absolutely the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. The penguins are African Black Footed Penguins.
  4. Crazy cool bathrooms that have a stunning view of the shark tank!
  5. The first thing you see when you enter is a really cool set of ceiling aquariums that are held in giant spheres.
  6. A tunnel that features fish, sharks, and other marine life from the Great Barrier Reef.
  7. There are a couple of tanks filled with California Spiny Lobsters that have huge legs — very cool to look at.
  8. There’s a small movie theater with a 3D film about marine life. We enjoyed the film, and so did our kids. After the movie, the screen hides and reveals a huge shark tank.
  9. Bonus finds: True Piranhas, clownfish, sea otters, seahorses
  10. Beautiful modern building, new labeling for the fish tanks, and a terrific gift shop with interesting products.

Watch my video!

A few things I’ll note: There’s a SeaTrek exhibit (think underwater walk with a diving mask) which I haven’t experienced (doesn’t look interesting to me, and my 5 year old would never like it).


Oh, and they have a separate exhibit opening soon with dolphins!


The aquarium seems to be accidentally hiding some exhibits. For example, in order to see the second shark exhibit, you must watch the 3D movie, and in order to see the sea turtles, and first shark tank, you must sit through the rotating Living Sea Carousel. I wish it was possible to see these without going on the ride.


Overall, we’ve had a great time exploring the aquarium, and will definitely be back soon!



Also, the Butterfly Wonderland is right next door, which is also fantastic!

Getting there

OdySea is located along the 101 freeway in Scottsdale. Take the Via de Ventura exit, and go east and you can’t miss it! It is part of the Odysea in the Desert complex, which has many other attractions as well.

OdySea Aquarium
9500 E Via de Ventura
Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Phone: (480) 291-8000


Trying to decide whether to visit Odysea or SeaLife Aquarium? Check out our article comparing both!


  • Chris and Jana Tingom

    We live in Scottsdale, AZ and have three children, ages 10, 7 and 3. They are full of energy, and so we're always looking for new things to do. Come join our family adventures!

6 Responses

  1. don’t forget to check out Sea TREK helmet diving while visiting! you can take a walk in a tank and check out the sea life from the inside!

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