Odysea in the Desert

Have you noticed all of the expansion happening at Odysea in the Desert? There are now 4 major attractions, alongside nine restaurants, and multiple shops. We have visited most of them, and here is a summary of everything you can do at Odysea in the Desert.

MAIN ATTRACTIONS

 

Butterfly Wonderland — This is one of our top favorite places in Phoenix, and a must do activity with visiting family or friends. Whether you’re you’re a butterfly lover or admirer, or even don’t know much about these beautiful creatures, Butterfly Wonderland gives a flawless insiders view of the butterfly life cycle. Our kids never tire of visiting and the favorites remain the 15 minute video documentary and the large atrium with free flying butterflies that you can observe and enjoy. Also, newly added to this attraction, is the Rainforest Reptiles exhibit, with exotic reptiles and amphibians from all over the world. Prices: $21.95/adult, $14.95/children 3-12 (2 and under free), $19.95/students 13-17, $19.95/seniors (62+)

Odysea Aquarium — More than just fish, this aquarium boasts a whole range of sea animals, from otters to penguins, sharks and turtles, sea lions and more! Some of these creatures are only viewable in the unique Living Sea Carousel, which our kids always want to ride. And it’s continued to develop with side exhibits such as the small collection of tropical birds. You can pay extra to have an underwater SeaTREK adventure, or join an employee in feeding cute penguins. (Also, the bathrooms on the entry level have some pretty sweet views of the shark habitat!) Prices: $34.95/adult, $24.95/children 3-12 (2 and under free), $29.95/students 13-17, $32.95/seniors (62+)

Mirror and Laser Maze — Team up with friends or family and try your hand at navigating a rainforest themed mirror maze! You can take as many walk throughs as you like, so consider just trying to find the exit on the first try, then on the second try located the five hidden butterflies. (There are some sound effects and lighting that may scare younger children.) The laser maze is more suited for older children, teens and adults who are quick on their feet as you step over and around laser beams. Prices: $9.95/person all day Mirror Maze Pass (ages 2 and under free), $3.95/person one time Laser Maze, combo prices are available

Note: combo tickets for two or three attractions are available!

Dolphinarius — Ever wanted to swim with dolphins? Dolphinarius offers several options for families to interact with dolphins, even experiences that little ones can get close and make memories, stay dry, all while learning about these sweet, funny animals. We loved our land experience earlier this year and the kids still talk about being able to pet the dolphin and learning the hand signals for various tricks. Prices: varying depending on desired experience, starting at $59/person for the land experience.

Pangaea: Land of the Dinosaurs –There are 50 animatronic dinosaurs (roughly 25-30 different species) vividly surrounded by their habitats for you to enjoy and learn about.  If you have a dino lover in the family, this could be the highlight of their year! Extra activities are available for cost beyond general admission. General admission is $15/person, ages 3 and under are free.


FOOD OPTIONS

  • Modern Grove Views
  • Humble Pie
  • Frozen Penguin Ice Cream
  • El Encanto
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
  • Docktails Beach Cafe
  • The Kakery
  • Nekter Juice Bar
  • Pangaea Grill

 

There is something for everyone when meal time comes around! Even if you just need a little pick me up, options like smoothies or pastries are available. We’ve personally tried most of these restaurants, both the fast food and sit down options, and every place had good choices and service. For kid favorites, check out Modern Grove Views and sit at the windows for an awesome overlook of Dolphinarius, or the cute ocean themed cookies at The Kakery. And ice cream at Frozen Penguin is always needed. There are also small cafes located in Butterfly Wonderland and Odysea Aquarium with food and drink options.


EXPLORE AND PLAY

Polar Play — Ice sculptures in the desert?? Wearing lush fur coats in the middle of summer? Polar Play is a unique frozen mini world where you can play checkers, cornhole, and shuffleboard — while being surrounded by ice and below freezing temperatures. Hot drinks and food are available while you explore. What tickled our desert children the most was the soft fake snowballs that could be thrown around! While the atmosphere mostly lends itself to adult parties and gatherings, kids will love the colorful ambience and winter feel. Prices: $15/adult, $10/child per hour; coats and mittens included, drinks and food are additional costs. (Note: it might be wise to bring leggings or pants for little ones who may chill quicker.)

Oxygen Bar — After a day of exploring and shopping, take a break and pamper yourself. There are several options to choose from, including the Aqua Massage which you can experience fully clothed and will leave you refreshed and relaxed. They also have a variety of massage and wellness products for sale. Prices: vary depending on services.

Bumper Boats and Express Train – our kids LOVE the Bumper Boats! It’s simple and so fun to drive around an enclosed mini pool (ages 3 and older only). The train ride takes you around the Odysea complex. See the links for exact cost.


SHOPPING

Four Peaks Mining Company — The jewelry here is exquisite, definitely worth a stop. While they feature gemstones mined from around the world, their speciality is amethyst jewelry, mined themselves from the Four Peaks Amethyst Mine near Phoenix! Children and adults alike will also love the free mine experience, where you don a miner’s helmet with a light and search for various minerals embedded in the walls. They also have a fabulous kid centered gift shop, with ideas for learning about mining, and more.

Sugar Drop Candy Shop offers candy and sweet treats galore – it’s such a colorful store to browse and find unique gifts. Don’t miss the huge red Adirondack chair as a great photo op!

If you’re looking for a souvenir to take home, both Butterfly Wonderland and Odysea Aquarium have gift shops filled with toys, activities, clothing, jewelry and more. Anything and everything imaginable with butterfly, insect or ocean themed can be found here! Or if you’re on the search for Arizona and southwest themed gifts, the Arizona Territory Trading Post features all sorts of themed merchandise, including Native American crafted items, and snacks such as salsa and candy.

Be sure to check out the deals page for some discounts on various attractions at Odysea in the Desert.  We also spotted a flyer at the Mirror Maze with other coupons for restaurants and attractions. For more ideas on how to find discounted admission, check out our popular article 9 Ways to get Discounted Admission to Phoenix Attractions. Odysea also hosts numerous free community events all through the year! With movie showings, snow days, concerts, artisan fairs, festivals and more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. See their listing for all the details.

Also of note:

Bodies Revealed – this traveling exhibit is at the Odysea in the Desert complex for a limited time! Learn about the human body with unique displays of skeleton structures, muscle groups and more. There is nothing inappropriate in this exhibit, but due to the detailed displays, younger children might find it frightening. We recommend visiting this with children ages 10 and up, for a better experience.

Paradise Earth – coming in 2020 is Paradise Earth, the largest indoor rainforest in North America! Sign up for their newsletter to receive updates on this exciting development.

 

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Jana Tingom

Jana is a homeschooling mother of two children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!