Have you noticed all of the expansion happening at Odysea in the Desert? There are now 4 major attractions, alongside ten restaurants, and multiple shops. We visited all of them, and here is a summary of everything you can do at Odysea in the Desert.
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.
- 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
- Opas Life Greek Cafe
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.)
Carousel Arcade — This place has a large, gorgeous carousel that will bring a smile to any person! A couple of the animals are even ocean themed (and who doesn’t want to ride on a sea horse or shark?) The state of the art arcade games give tickets which can be redeemed for prizes, similar to Chuck E. Cheese or Peter Piper Pizza. Prices: $3/person (one adult free with paid child) for carousel, arcade ticket prices vary.
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.
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.
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. As of posting this article, there is an annual pass deal for the aquarium, 10-15% off at a couple restaurants, and a free Oxygen Bar Session (for ages 16 and older) with a ticket stub from the aquarium or Butterfly Wonderland. We also spotted a flyer at the Mirror Maze with other coupons for restaurants and attractions. Some of the attractions like the Carousel Arcade are promoted on discount sites, such as Groupon.