Our Story

The journey of water begins

We follow the journey of a drop of water falls from the sky into the lakes and rivers. The rivers wind their way to the shores and down to the vast ocean. At each stage of the drop's journey you experience a unique environment teeming with animal and plant life to explore. From fresh water to salt water, bayous to swamps, and coral reefs to the ocean's deep abyss, your adventure awaits!

The Aquarium

odysea-aquarium-building

Located in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, OdySea Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Southwest, spanning 200,000 square feet. The two-level, state-of-the-art facility holds more than 2 million gallons of water and accommodates up to 10,000 visitors daily. With over 50 exhibits and 500 different species, there are more than 30,000 animals that call OdySea home.

OdySea Aquarium offers an entertaining, interactive, and educational experience for guests of all ages by combining theme-park-style amusement with highly engaging presentations of aquatic life like no other in the industry. The facility includes a 3D theater, SeaTREK™ underwater ocean walking, and a one-of-a-kind voyage through the “Living Sea.”

Our Mission

We deliver amazing guest experiences that create fun memories, highten animal awareness, and inspire change, while fostering growth for our team members.

Our Vision

Our innovation will drive beneficial change by inspiring people to conserve aquatic resources and protect the animal world.

Aquarium Construction

OdySea’s unique circular design was custom developed to deliver an engaging and entertaining experience, as well as to foster a sense of community. The project began in March 2015, and was completed 18 months later in September 2016. The scope of this project required close collaboration between architect Deutsch Architecture Group, contractor McCarthy Building Cos., and structural engineer Caruso Turley and Scott. Every part of the building was custom designed to showcase both fresh and salt water animals, as well as to deliver an enhanced experience through interaction.

Key Facts

OdySea Aquarium was literally built from the inside out – the animal habitats were placed first, and the structure was built around them. This enabled OdySea to put the exhibits front and center.

  • Constructed with 2 million lbs. of steel and 1,198 beams
  • Contains 5,455 linear feet of acrylic observation windows to provide guests insight into the exhibits
  • Holds over 2 million gallons of water
  • Includes a life support system with 300 pumps and over 42,000 linear feet of piping. Three miles of piping was installed underground to operate the facility

Concrete Poured:

  • 12,300 cubic yards of concrete for the structural footings
  • 16 cast-in-place aquatic environments
  • 121 individual structural columns
  • 72 concrete tilt wall panels, the largest panel placed weighs 220,000 lbs and is 60 feet high

Meaningful Building Accents

Exterior Walls

Patterns on the exterior concrete follow the journey of the raindrop falling from the sky to the river, eventually making its way back into the strata of the earth. The undulating rhythm of the wave is cast into the concrete panel, representing rivers and waters of the earth, their movement and how man should respect their power and celebrate their elemental necessity in the desert.

Cattails

A native plant to Arizona, Cattails grew along the river banks. The native Indian communities harvested the cattails and used them for basket weaving.

River Walkways

Leading to OdySea Aquarium, the walkways represent the five major Arizona Rivers: Gila, Salt, Verde, Colorado and Santa Cruz.

Generational Footprints

Verde, Colorado, Gila, and Santa Cruz rivers were central parts of the daily lives of the SRPMIC.  The footprints depict adult (4’ long) and juvenile (2’ long) generations leading to a river.

Birds in Flight

This pattern is symbolic of birds in flight that dates back to the Hohokam, and has continued to be important icon in the community.  Those who attended the Aquarium groundbreaking ceremony saw a performance by children doing a ceremonial dance of birds in flight.

Tribal Partners

OdySea Aquarium is located on the eastern boundary of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC). The SRPMIC community has been closely involved in the construction of OdySea. Native American design features have been incorporated into the building’s structure.

OdySea Development Team

Amram Knishinsky, PhD

Dr. Knishinsky is a lead developer in the OdySea in the Desert projects. In the corporate world, Knishinsky initiated an imports division at Armour Food Co. that he grew to $150 million in sales. Together with Mr. Pollack he formed Damar International, a food importing company that they grew to over $50 million in sales. As a real estate developer for over 35 years, Knishinsky developed shopping centers, commercial office buildings and apartment complexes. He also developed the first for-profit aquarium in the United States in Newport, Kentucky; the OdySea Experience at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, and most recently, Butterfly Wonderland and OdySea Mirror Maze in Scottsdale, Arizona. Knishinsky received his PhD from Arizona State University and earned his MBA degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Martin Pollack

Mr. Pollack is a developer in the OdySea Aquarium project. His extensive background includes senior lending officer in the import/export department of a major financing company for a number of years. He was the financial officer for numerous companies in the food, finance and real estate industry for over 30 years and co-developed shopping centers, commercial office buildings, apartment complexes, and the Newport Aquarium. Pollack is a graduate of City College, New York.

Ran Knishinsky

Mr. Knishinsky, prior to joining OdySea, acted as the Executive Director, Aesthetics Marketing for Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation. He was responsible for all marketing activities in North America for the $250 million franchise. During his tenure, the company sold to Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Knishinsky has also served as a Management Consultant in the areas of marketing, supply chain, and operations, in addition to retail and advertising experience. He is the author of 3 books published and translated into several languages worldwide. Knishinsky earned both his undergraduate and MBA degrees from Arizona State University.

Adi Knishinsky

Mr. Knishinsky comes from Bain & Co. where he worked alongside CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies addressing their highest priority strategic needs, with deep experience with growth strategy and operations. He has a MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and earned a dual undergraduate degree in Finance and Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona.