Dolphinaris Arizona sets grand opening for October 15

Posted at 12:02 PM, Sep 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 19:50:55-04

Dolphinaris Arizona has scheduled its grand opening for next month.

It is the latest attraction to join Odysea in the Desert, a 35-acre entertainment collection near the Loop 101 and Via de Ventura, which includes Odysea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland. (Dolphinaris and Odysea attractions are separate facilities, however).

Related: 10 things to see and do at Odysea Aquarium

It is scheduled to open October 15.

Dolphinaris involves dolphins -- bottlenose dolphins.

Guests will be able to purchase various experiences to interact with dolphins.

The "Dolphin Land Experience" will let guests interact with the dolphins for 15 minutes from outside the pool while the "Dolphin Swim Experience" will give guests 20 minutes with the dolphins in the shallow portion of the pool.

The experiences range from $59 for the land experience to $219 per person for the "deluxe" experience.

The idea of having dolphins in the desert has been apoint of contention for animal rights activists who feel the mammals do not belong here in Arizona. Online petitions have been signed, protesters have gathered outside the venue's construction site, and opposition groups have popped up on Facebook.

In a Tuesday media release announcing the grand opening, General Manager Dr. Grey Stafford said they currently have five dolphins -- two males and three females. The dolphins were "born and raised in human care and come from U.S. licensed facilities," according to the release.

He also addressed concerns regarding the dolphins' care. The main points in the release:

  • The 900,000-galloon lagoon is filtered sixteen times a day
  • The water will remain between 75 and 80 degrees. It is cooled in summer and heated in winter.
  • Their habitat has access to sun, shade, indoor and outdoor pools, social companions
  • "The dolphins have settled in well, they are eating fish, jumping, exploring the lagoon and exhibiting normal behaviors," said Stafford in the release.

"The mission of Dolphinaris Arizona is to amaze, inspire and empower guests, by encouraging them to become stewards of the oceans and its inhabitants," the company says.

Dolphinaris will also have a pool-side "beach club" where guests will be able to grab a bite to eat and relax while watching the dolphins from a distance.


Modern Grove Eatery, which has locations in Phoenix and Mesa, will be opening a third one at Dolphinaris. It will have an eating area that overlooks the dolphin lagoon, according to a spokesperson for Dolphinaris.

It will not be open in time for next month's grand opening and it wasn't clear when it would open. When we hear more, we will update our story.

Dolphinaris Arizona, 9500 Via de Ventura, Scottsdale AZ 85256 (Opening October 15, 2016)
Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: $59 - $200+ (advanced registration required)