Water Show

An aquarium where you least expect it - in the Arizona desert

BY DON NICHOLS

At the recently opened OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale, Ariz., staffers may recommend you start your tour in an unusual location: From picture windows in the restrooms, you see menacing-looking sharks in "Sharks of the Deep," the aquarium's largest exhibit, with nine species of these mysterious creatures swimming in more than 200,000 gallons of water. The bathrooms are among multiple viewing areas for the exhibit.

You'll encounter much more than sharks and other deep-water dwellers, such as giant stingrays, as you wander through this aquatic haven located at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. In more than 50 exhibits, it showcases sea life found in all types of marine environments - including fresh water, salt water, bayous, swamps, and coral reefs. At Penguin Point, South African penguins demonstrate their swimming grace and mug all too cutely for the crowds. Large alligators and crocodiles call the "Rivers of the World" exhibit home, as do freshwater turtles, paddlefish, sturgeon, and the endangered Apache trout. 480-951-2100; odyseaaquarium.com

Check In

Spread out over 23 acres, the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa opened in December with 201 rooms sporting midcentury-inspired interiors. Visitors gather and socialize in the large Guest House, made bright with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Here, chefs in the Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen restaurant create innovative dishes using plancha cooking techniques. The restaurant overlooks a large pool with an expansive sundeck. To help nurture your creative side, the resort has launched an artist-in-residence program in partnership with Cattle Track, a nearby artist community. Its artists share their knowledge of painting, pottery, and photography techniques with guests both at the hotel and in their studios, and sell their impressive work in the Andaz gift shop. The spa offers outdoor hydrotherapy pools, eucalyptus steam rooms, and more. From $399. 480-368-1234; andazscottsdale.com

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