Dolphins in the desert? That was the question posed by many when OdySea in the Desert announced their intention to bring a dolphin experience to Scottsdale, Arizona. The question has been answered. Dolphinaris Arizona is here, offering both land and swim experiences for people who want to learn more about these amazing creatures, and become personally acquainted with one of the facility's bottlenose dolphins.
The dolphins at Dolphinaris Arizona are cared for, trained and meet guests in a salt-water lagoon with a system that filters the water 16 times per day. The lagoon has movable sections and gates, allowing the dolphins to interact with each other (dolphins do have preferred companions) and guests in a controlled manner. They have access to both sun and shade, and live in a water depth that is comparable to what they would experience in a natural habitat.
Dolphinaris Tidbit: the dolphins here range in age from 6 years to 22 years.
During all the experiences you may ask the trainers questions about the dolphins and the habitats. Education is high on the priority list here.
- Dolphin Land Experience
You don't have to get in the water or don a swimsuit or wetsuit. You'll stand at the edge of the pool and meet a dolphin. The trainer will allow participants to touch the dolphins, explain how to give commands, and encourage you to allow the dolphin to plant a wet kiss on you. You may get splashed a little.
- Dolphin Swim Experience
Swimsuit required. You will get in the pool in about waist-deep water to interact with the dolphins and provide positive reinforcement.
- Deluxe Dolphin Swim Experience
Your mask will allow you to get close to the dolphins underwater. Access to the beach club is included with this package.
- Dolphin Trainer Experience
A behind-the-scenes tour. In addition to the standard swim experience, you'll feed dolphins and participate in their enrichment through play and contact. This program is the longest of all of experiences, and is available to those age 12 and older. Access to the Beach Club is included with this package.
Dolphin Tidbit: The dolphins brought here were medically analyzed and provided preventative treatment for potential maladies that are specific to our region, for example, Valley Fever.
The Human Element
People may visit the facility by reserving one of the packages above, but there are other ways to experience this unique attraction. A casual eatery on the property allows guests to enjoy lunch and/or cocktails with a view of happenings. There could be tours or experiences in progress, or trainers could be working with the dolphins, or the dolphins could just be having an afternoon swim or social time with each other. Guests who have not purchased an experience may eat here, as long as they meet a reasonable minimum purchase requirement.
At the Dolphinaris Beach Club, guests may relax in hot tubs and the heated human pool next to the dolphin habitat, which has a viewing window into the dolphin lagoon.
Beach Club access is included with the deluxe dolphin swim and dolphin trainer experience, or can be purchased as an upgrade to a swim experience.
Having a party or corporate retreat? Groups of 10-year-olds, 90-year-olds, or any age group in between can combine dolphin experiences with Beach Club access for a memorable occasion.
Dolphin Tidbit: Each dolphin here has an assigned trainer, for whom the dolphin has clearly "expressed" a preference. They have their favorites! Trainers use only positive reinforcement (food, toys, rubs) when working with the dolphins.
Conservation and Animal Welfare
Dolphinaris operates a foundation which works in partnership with several universities, providing an opportunity for students to study dolphin biology, physiology, behavior, medicine and conservation issues for marine life.
The company also sponsors a conservation study that monitors the ecosystem of dolphin habitats in the wild and how changes in the environment affect the dolphins and other wildlife. A portion of sales at Dolphinaris Arizona are donated to ocean and marine life conservation.
Dolphin Tidbit: None of the dolphins at Dolphinaris were caught in in the wild. They were all born in captivity and acquired through agreements with other U.S. dolphin habitats.
Dolphinaris (pronounced doll-finn-air-iss) is located in Scottsdale at the OdySea of the Desert entertainment complex. It is near the OdySea Aquarium but is an entirely different attraction, with different ownership and separate admission prices. Ventura Entertainment operates other dolphin facilities in Mexico, but this is their first dolphin venture in the United States.
9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Choose an experience!
Are There Ever Any Discounts?
Yes! Check online to see special deals that are currently being offered.
Five Things to Know Before You Go
- Photography is not permitted during your experience. There are professional photographers onsite, and you may purchase photos from them.
- No jewelry, hats, or sunglasses are permitted to be worn during experiences, as they pose a danger to the dolphins. Lockers for those items are provided at no additional charge.
- All wetsuits, life jackets, swim masks are provided by Dolphinaris Arizona.
- Keep in mind that you might be with other people during your visit; tours are not exclusive. That means that you could have quite a few people waiting for their turn to touch a dolphin or personally interact with a dolphin. Bookings are typically lighter on weekdays.
- The gift shop is a dolphin lover's paradise! You may access the gift shop without paying an admission fee.
- OdySea Aquarium
- Butterfly Wonderland
- OdySea Mirror Maze
- iFly Indoor Skydiving
- Octane Raceway Indoor/Outdoor Kart Racing
- Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (stadium)
- Topgolf Scottsdale
- RoadHouse Cinemas (movie theaters)
- Casino at Talking Stick