McCarthy Building Companies will break ground at 5 p.m. March 5, 2015, on the OdySea Aquarium, which will be located adjacent to Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale. The groundbreaking celebration has been organized by OdySea founders Amram Knishinsky, Ph.D., and Martin Pollack and also involves the facility designer Deutsch Architecture Group.

Poised to be one of Arizona’s premiere attractions, the OdySea Aquarium will offer unrivaled marine adventures with a high-tech, high-entertainment, oceanic educational journey. The 14-acre attraction that spans more than 200,000 sq. ft., is a three-level facility designed to accommodate up to 15,000 visitors daily. Revolutionary design features will move visitors to each level via an acrylic tunnel while viewing some of the mostfascinating animals of rivers and oceans in the world from the bayous and coral reefs to deep abysses of fresh water and salt water. A sampling of the planned exhibits includes Rivers of the World, American Rivers, Amazon Rivers, Shores, the Great Barrier Reef, Penguins, Sharks, Red Panda and “the Bizarre & the Beautiful” featuring Jellyfish, Octopus, large King Crabs and Seahorses. The facility will also include a Lighthouse Café serving a full menu and light snacks, and the OdySea Treasures Gift Shop.

Among some of the unparalleled features will be the SeaTREK experience that will allow guests to descend deep into the “ocean” where they will be surrounded by sea life on all sides. There will also be a state-of-the-art 3D theater and “a surprise visitor’s experience that has never been accomplished in any aquarium in the world,” Knishinsky said.

“This project involves large-scale aquatic displays and will be a great educational resource and entertainment destination once completed,” said Jim Brandt, project director for McCarthy. “We look forward to building the aquarium, which is destined to become a community treasure.”

The OdySea Aquarium is slated to open summer 2016. It will be both a for-profit facility employing more than 250 individuals while its 501c3 non-profit foundation will administer educational programs and services. For more information call OdySea Aquarium LLC at 480-951-2100 or visit www.odyseaaquarium.com