Among the cactus, scorpions and dry desert heat lies land of plenty for ambitious developers to create entertaining venues for the masses. Odysea in the desert will be a winning combination of SeaWorld meets Disneyland in this one of a kind world class attraction.
With an average of 18 million tourists coming to visit the valley of the sun each year the Salt River Pima community wanted to capitalize on the 8 million tourists who come to stay and play in Scottsdale. Arizona has a variety of unique things to do but they are spread all over the valley. Trying to create a place for people to maximize the activities they do in one location is the challenge and creative venture of lead developer Amram Knishinsky, Ph.D. and CEO of Odysea an Oceanic Adventure.
Odysea in the Desert is a multi-million dollar entertainment district which started with the first phase Butterfly Wonderland. The Butterfly Wonderland is the largest indoor pavilion of butterflies in the country and a tour of the facility takes about two hours to go through. It’s been open since Memorial Day weekend of 2013 and hundreds of thousands of tourist from across the country and around the world have come to visit.
The second phase to the indoor attraction will be the Oceanic adventure, Odysea in the Desert. This style of aquarium will be the largest in the Southwest and one of the largest in the United States holding 2 million gallons of water. Odysea in the desert will also be one of the most unique in the United States Knishinsky said “It will be a combination of SeaWorld meets Disneyland with a few surprise elements to this attraction that will be unveiled once the aquarium is open”.
Knishinsky and his team of experts have designed aquariums before this is not their first rodeo. They were the first to develop an aquarium for profit in the United States in Newport, Kentucky which opened in May 1999 and it was named the fourth best aquarium to visit in America by Newsweek magazine.
One of the unique features to this aquarium is that it will give visitors the opportunity to be part of marina life in a whole new way. With advanced Sea TREK technologies people who do not have certification with scuba diving will have the opportunity to get into the water with the fish. The only other place in the US that has these diving technologies which allows people to experience marine life in this way is the Discovery cove in Orlando Florida.
The aquarium structure will be very pedestrian friendly with parking all around the building and access walkways for people with strollers. Phase threes design will be a two story building with a collection of restaurants that will be located on the second floor. The circular design will feature the restaurants overlooking the center court with fountains, water features and a stage for musical performance. The concept for the restaurants is an idea similar to EPCOT center at Disneyland with taste from countries like Thailand, Mexico, Greece, China, France and a Jewish deli. This will give the patron an experience as if they have traveled to a foreign land.
There will be a wide variety of retail shops but these shops will not compete against the local malls. Knishinsky said “this will be experience retail, 4000 sq. ft. a glass shop and in the front of the shop will feature artist blowing glass and then they can sell the glass so the tourist and locals have an experience”. The same for a Candy store we want them to create the fudge and chocolates so that it is unique and different.
Odysea in the Desert is scheduled to start construction in the summer of 2014 with the target date for the aquarium to be open on Thanksgiving Day 2015. Additional features to the aquarium will include a Lighthouse Café, Odysea Treasure Gift shop and the facility will accommodate private events up to several hundred guests.
Odysea in the Desert Aquarium will be located at Via De Ventura and the 101 in Scottsdale adjacent to the Butterfly Wonderland.