Aerial construction photo of OdySea Aquarium.
Photo courtesy of OdySea Aquarium
OdySea in the Desert Promises July 2016 Grand Opening
By Sheila Begay
Au-Authm Action News

If you haven’t noticed, the walls and structural components of the much-anticipated OdySea Aquarium are going up quite quickly at the corner of Via de Ventura and Loop 101 on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The Talking Stick Cultural and Entertainment Destination will be welcoming the new aquarium in July.

The groundbreaking for OdySea Aquarium was held in March 2015, and just over a year later, the two-level aquarium will open as the largest in the Southwest.

“We’re very excited that we get to continue to develop OdySea Aquarium,” said Ran Knishinsky, marketing officer for OdySea in the Desert. “We think we’ll be one of the most exciting aquariums to visit in the country. We’re creating a new way to view marine life, with a whole number of different types of experiences within the aquarium that typical aquariums don’t have. We are still scheduled for our July 2016 grand opening date.”

With well over 2 million gallons of water, this aquarium will allow visitors to see sharks, turtles, penguins, jellyfish, octopus, exotic fish and more. The 200,000-square-foot structure will feature walkways through acrylic tubes allowing visitors to explore acrylic tanks, a Great Barrier Reef, a 3-D movie experience, a SeaTREK Experience (underwater experience), the Shore Gallery allowing visitors to interact with marine life, 12 ball-shaped aquariums hanging from the ceiling, and more. Highly anticipated is the floor-to-ceiling acrylic wall separating the lobby restrooms from a shark tank.

“In the last eight weeks, we’ve had many different advancements. We are now setting in place the structural steel on the roof area and will be topping out the roof this month. We’ve [also] been delivering thousands of pounds of rebar to support the large concrete tanks, such as the SeaTREK tank. We have recently received and installed most major pieces of acrylic on the first floor,” added Knishinsky.

“Over this next month, we’re delivering fiberglass tanks. For example, we’re completing the steel top in the main building and that’s going to result in the building’s complete closure. We’re paving Dobson Road and the parking lots, we’re applying waterproof coating to the tanks, we’re setting the escalator and we’re beginning all the theming throughout the different tanks.”

OdySea Aquarium is projected to employ more than 250 people.

“We have our head curators joining our team next weekend. They’ll be responsible for obtaining the marine life. We’ve already started that process, but we’ll be continuing that process all the way through July,” said Knishinsky.

For more information about OdySea in the Desert, or to submit a résumé for employment, call (480) 313-8837 or visit

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