Fins in Phoenix

If anyone would have told me I’d find some of the world’s largest known sea creatures in Arizona, I would’ve said that’s quite a fish story. But I was set straight one soggy afternoon when an outdoor baseball game gave us a rain check, leaving us to visit more indoor options. Like water…

While this corner of the world is well known for hot sunny days, it is—after all—part of a desert. So the nights can be chilly. And when it rains, it pours. A rainy March day in the Phoenix area means spring training is benched, leaving baseball fans to seek out other activities. For me, visiting family, I was in good hands. Their plan B? The OdySea Aquarium.

Flippers & fins

Because we weren’t the only sports enthusiasts seeking an indoor something-to-do, there was a bit of a line for tickets. But we didn’t queue up for long. The booth was fully staffed, and ready for our spontaneous purchase. When we entered, the first thing to greet us was a monster fish.

Suspended from the lobby ceiling, this monster gazes upon all who dare enter its domain. Kind of hard to miss. Making our way to the escalator, we climbed up a floor to begin our visit with other giants, as well as sturgeons, piranhas, paddlefish and rays.

As we made our way around the tanks, I noticed superhero themed information cards at several viewpoints. Up to this point, I’d never compared an Archer Fish to The Green Arrow. Rather clever! And then there’s the sharks. Wow. Teeth. Lots. And some intensely cold hard stares…

I love sea turtles. And freshwater ones. And I most definitely appreciate the rescue efforts being made on their behalf. In other tanks, it was fun to watch the Asian Small-clawed Otters in action, as well as the sea lions and penguin clans. Soooo adorable!

Fur & feathers

Serving as ambassadors to their water based buddies, some tropical birds have made a home for themselves in OdySea. Attempting a staring contest with the macaws proved futile; they won. The shyness of the cockatoo was adorable, but the toucan had no problem showing off.

Sometimes it’s tough to see a critter who’s snoozing, but the super cute two-toed sloth was kind enough to take his nap in a basket near the glass wall. What an excellent vantage point! There’s something about an uber fuzzy sleeping ball of fluff that made every passerby utter “Awwwwwww!”

We continued our visit to each window, easily navigating our way around. We soon found ourselves at the dive tank, and watched a few brave visitors—wearing ginormous dive helmets—interact with some very curious fish.

The escalator took us back downstairs to the larger exhibits, such as OdySea’s Voyager rotating theatre, where we could see the bigger critters like sharks, sea turtles and sea lions do their thing.

Having enjoyed the last tank, we headed through the gift shop to the exit. My favorite exhibit? The jellyfish. So gracefully elegant…

Fun & flavors

Our aquatic visit over, we met friends at a very “green” themed locale: Irish Wolfhound Pub. Arriving just in time for the Irish folk band’s opening number, we enjoyed dinner from the game room—but within earshot of the band—allowing us to hear our own lively conversations.

I chose the Irish Wolfhound Burger, which included one of my favorite cheeses: Irish Cheddar. My drink of choice? An Irish coffee. Not your typical burger beverage, but delicious nonetheless.

Even though our day in the Phoenix area didn’t include an afternoon at the ballpark, or a game-delectable hot dog, it did include an excellent plan B combo: a wonderful aquarium visit and a yummy (cheesy!) burger. And just a few puddles in the parking lot… J 🦈

 

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