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  • Odysea Aquarium

    Visitors walk through a tunnel surrounded by sea life at the Odysea Aquarium in Scottsdale, which opened in September.     

    Photo courtesy of Odysea Aquarim

Amram Knishinsky

Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 10:00 am

First it was butterflies. Then mirror and laser mazes. Last month, sharks, sea lions, otters, penguins and thousands of sea creatures were added.

They are all part of Odysea in the Desert, a concept conceived by Israeli-born developer Amram Knishinsky. In addition to Butterfly Wonderland and Odysea Mirror Maze, both of which opened in 2013, the 35-acre entertainment destination includes Odysea Aquarium, which opened in September; Dolphinaris Arizona, which is owned by Ventura Entertainment, an entertainment company based in Mexico, and opened Oct. 15; and Polar Play, an indoor ice playground for children and adults where everything – including the bar – is made from ice. The entertainment destination, which is on land owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, will soon include restaurants and retail shops, as well as a courtyard featuring music on the weekends. “Eventually we’re turning the area into a new town square,” Knishinsky says. “It’s a gathering place, you can come and enjoy all the activities.”

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