Nature Club field trip to OdySea Aquarium

All photos by Irene Somes

All photos by Irene Somes

Pam Boedeker

Twenty-four members of the SaddleBrooke Nature Club traveled to Scottsdale to visit the OdySea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland.

What better place to be on a hot summer day in the desert than the cool water surroundings of an aquarium? The 200,000 square foot facility is an architectural wonder! It was built in a circular fashion from the inside out. There are 16 cast-in-place concrete aquatic tanks and over 50 exhibits. The expansive structure holds over two million gallons of water.

The aquarium and sea life surround visitors as they travel through acrylic tunnels. It’s an amazing surprise to find the aquarium in the restroom! Look up while washing your hands and you may see sharks!

Observation windows are large-scale to allow as many as 10,000 people to observe the exhibits at one time. There is a 3D movie, exhibits including Rivers of the World, Otter Banks, Touch Pools, Penguin Point, Sharks of the Deep and the Great Barrier Reef. Some of the most fascinating sea life includes jellyfish, octopus, large king crabs and seahorses.

SaddleBrooke Nature Club members enjoyed some of the special experiences at the OdySea Aquarium which are available at an additional cost.

Sea Trek allows you to put on a Sea Trek helmet and wetsuit then walk underwater through one of the largest habitats.

Several members took the Behind the Scenes Tour. It is a guided tour through the inner workings of OdySea Aquarium. Dick Somes and Carole Chase said the tour informed them of what it takes to keep 30,000 animals thriving.

The Penguin Encounter allows guests to get up close and personal with the South African Penguins. Pam Boedeker had the privilege of actually petting and playing with the penguins. Pam was informed by the trainer that the penguin which chose to stay by her side was the old lady of the group. Pam said the penguin knew to choose someone from SaddleBrooke to be her buddy.

Some of the crowd favorites included: Pat Andrea loved the Turtle Tank. Irene Somes enjoyed the carousel where the room slowly goes around. Curtains open and a narrator explains what you are seeing in the aquarium. Sloths are one of JoAnn Waddell‘s favorite animals. Seeing Squidldy the sloth up close was the highlight of her visit. Karen Moore, Diane Korn and Gary Greenbaum loved the social part of being in Scottsdale with the group. Dinner together was especially fun. Mike Buckley advised us not to miss the 3D movie at Butterfly Wonderland. Diane Buckley recommended the greenhouse at Butterfly Wonderland and lunch at The View restaurant which overlooks the dolphin encounter area. Dan Chase’s observations reflect his former life as a teacher. One exhibit caught his attention. It shows how water gathers as a drop in high elevations and amasses into rivers, lakes and oceans.

We were struck by how little we know compared to what is still to be explored in our oceans.