OdySea Aquarium Review


Today we’re sharing more about OdySea Aquarium at Arizona Boardwalk in Scottsdale.

We recently went for their special mermaid exhibit, but even for typical days at the aquarium, we are always looking for an inside activity to beat the heat of Arizona summers with kids.

Keep reading for our best tips and tricks for maximizing your day at OdySea Aquarium.



Is OdySea Aquarium worth the drive?

odysea aquarium reviewFirst thing to know is the aquarium is in a top-tier location.  It is located at the Arizona Boardwalk in Scottsdale, Arizona. There is a plethora of activities and dining experiences at and near this location. From the East valley, Scottsdale can seem like a long trek. However, when you can go there and make a day of it with multiple unique experiences and food options then it makes it well worth it.

Parking is abundant and free, another perk of the attraction.

Is OdySea Aquarium good for toddlers?

Yes! The sea life exhibits are low enough for littles to see from strollers, and there’s plenty of toddler-specific activities sprinkled through the aquarium to keep kids engaged.

Head to Kids Cover with tots in tow: There’s a water table where kids can learn how water dams move water, there’s soft play building blocks, a penguin ‘cave’ for kids to crawl in, light wall and more.

If you have only littles, plan to spend most of your time in this area

Mom hack: The highlight for the parents is the Starbucks Café located in the middle of the action on the second floor. We were able to sit in the café sipping our coffee while we watched our kids while the kids play with kinetic sand, touch the stingrays and colored themed coloring sheets. We loved that the seating was close enough to all those activities that we could clearly see them.

Any budget hacks for going to OdySea Aquarium?

Budget tip: Bring snacks and lunch for the family. There is seating within the aquarium to enjoy it but a better idea is to eat out in the courtyard area of the Boardwalk so you can enjoy the beautiful scenery without spending extra money for dining.

Also, you can score discounted tickets if you go after nap time. Discounted “twilight” tickets are offered after 4:30 p.m.

Plan your trip for a day when the Arizona Boardwalk is having a free event.  Every month they seem to have some kind of event related to major holidays or just for fun. That way when you visit the Aquarium the courtyard will be filled with free activities as well! It’s like 2 events for one price. More bang for your buck!

Pro Tip: Get a combination ticket for two or more of the attractions at the Boardwalk such as the Odysea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland.

Then on the way home, or in between attractions, go less than mile down Via de Ventura and get White Castle. It’s affordable, family friendly and exclusive, having only 2 locations in AZ.  You can’t go wrong with kids with a burger and fry meal! Their family bundles make it a no brainer for family outings.   It’s my family‘s favorite choice because it reminds us of our hometown in Michigan and the little burgers are the perfect size for tiny appetites.

Mermaid Magic at Odysea Aquarium

odysea aquarium reviewEvery spring, OdySea Aquarium brings mermaids to the experience – these mermaid sightings are included in general admission.

To put it mildly, mermaids are our jam. My girls and I have always loved mermaids, from photoshoots, to parties, you name it we have done it.  So when we saw that the OdySea Aquarium was having a mermaid experience we had to go check it out.

There’s multiple mermaid experiences during Mermaid Magic.

On the lower level where we could see the mermaids swimming fully underwater alongside stingrays, fish and even sharks! The kids were immediately in awe from their beautiful outfits to the fact that they were even in the tank with the rest of the sea life.

The mermaids were so personable, playing rock paper scissors with my son, blowing kisses at my daughter, and interacting with all the children viewing the exhibit.

There was a dry mermaid experience where you could take photos with the mermaids outside of the water then purchase professional quality photos on the spot for immediate pickup. We love our photo.

The third experience was the ability to interact with a mermaid at the top of the tank upstairs for kids Q&A. The children were able to talk to her, touch her tail, and have a one on one experience to ask her all of those burning questions while basking in her magic.

odysea aquarium reviewThe whole trip was a highlight for the kids. They loved all the exhibits and learning about all of the sea creatures.  However, by far the family’s favorite activity was the World’s Only Rotating Aquarium Ride. It was so cool and a one of a kind experience. We sat down in comfortable seating while rotating  around these huge tanks with so many different species of sea animals while a narrator gave us fascinating information about them. We all learned something new and had a blast doing it!




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