Scottsdale, AZ: OdySea Aquarium & Mirror Maze
The newest attraction in the Phoenix area is the OdySea Aquarium, located on Via De Ventura right off loop 101 in Scottsdale.
First off, as you are driving towards OdySea Aquarium, you may think it looks like a small or average building. WRONG! As soon as you start pulling in, you’ll see how massive this place really is! There is tons of parking in the back, and you’ll be surprised to see how full it can get.
As you walk to the building, you can see the massive courtyard complete with a water fountain in the middle, and seating options to rest after taking the tour. While you wait in line, the monitors above the ticket office show all the purchase options. They offer combo packages that include one or all of the exhibits next door, which are the Mirror Maze and Butterfly Wonderland. Husband and I purchased the combo package that included the Mirror Maze.
After you’ve purchased your tickets, and walk in through the doors, there is a photo set-up where they take pictures for which you’ll have a purchase option at the end of the tour. The aquarium tour begins on the second floor, which was a surprise. It is very dark for most of the time! There is a wide variety of sea life to see throughout. When you become parched or hungry, you can visit the very spacious and clean cafeteria, ‘Lighthouse Cafe, which is right before the ‘Penguin Point’ exhibit. For the little ones, there is a section where they can sit and color pages, which of course, they can take home.
From there, you make your way back down to the first floor, where there is more sea life to see as well as a ‘Deep Ocean 3D Theater’. I can’t really speak for the 3D theater because it is noted on a sign that the movie is 45 minutes*, which is too long for a 7 month old to be still and non-screamy, so we skipped it. Then, you walked through double doors, which have bathrooms conveniently located right before you get to the other side to continue your tour. The next big thing before the tour comes to an end, is the ‘Living Sea Carousel’. Here you’ll see a variety of sea creatures from small to big.
The carousel ride lasts about 25 minutes and you cannot bring strollers inside. They have a small section where you can park your stroller, but we didn’t 100% trust it, so we took turns riding the carousel. It worked out great because while husband was riding it, I fed baby CJ near the exit.
After the carousel, you walk through another hallway in which you have to go back upstairs where you exit into the gift shop.
After the aquarium, we headed over to the Mirror Maze. You cannot take strollers in there either. Luckily, it was not too busy and we trusted the guy in charge to keep an eye on it while we walked through the maze. This place is trippy! I was wearing baby CJ, so I had to be extra careful and keep arms out at all times in order to not squish the little one. We went through it pretty quick, but then were told by the guy in the front to try to find our way towards the entrance, which is where the real challenge began.
In conclusion, this was a great family day! All together I’d say we spent 2-3 hours, so if you’re planning on visiting, be ready to be there for that time or longer if you do the 3D theater and/or get the combo package with the Butterfly Wonderland. We really enjoyed this experience and would definitely do it again!
*After looking further in their website, in the 3D movie section, it says it is 10 minutes. Now I’m like whaaat?! I’m a bit disappointed they had that 45 min sign outside the theater.
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