Officials at OdySea in the Desert announced today they are changing the name of the entertainment complex to Arizona Boardwalk. The name change does not affect the aquarium’s name, OdySea Aquarium, but was chosen to better reflect the diverse offerings of the 35-acre, multi-level entertainment destination, home to eight marquee attractions, numerous restaurant and shopping options, and exciting outdoor special events –  situated in one location. The announcement also revealed exciting new plans for Arizona Boardwalk including more innovative attractions, new theming, and opportunities for guests to extend their stay with the addition of a Hyatt Place hotel to be built on the property.   

“The name ‘Arizona Boardwalk’ is reminiscent of family-fun, adventure and excitement – and helps set the stage of what to expect in this type of destination,” explained Ran Knishinsky, Chief Marketing Officer of Arizona Boardwalk.  “The new name allows us to showcase our wide-ranging entertainment options and special events, while the name ‘Arizona Boardwalk’ also eliminates the confusion that OdySea Aquarium is the property’s sole attraction. We needed a name that puts the emphasis on ‘fun’ – and ‘Arizona Boardwalk’ delivers.” 

The destination is the vision of founder and CEO Amram Knishinsky, who wanted to build a place for both families in the Valley and tourists to come together and have fun while creating lasting memories. The first attraction to open was the whimsical Butterfly Wonderland in 2013, inspired by the butterfly fields Knishinsky enjoyed as a child in Israel. Shortly after came Laser + Mirror Maze and in 2016 the crown jewel, OdySea Aquarium, opened to much fanfare within the two-level entertainment complex then called OdySea in the Desert.  Additional attractions opened quickly after including Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs (2017), Polar Play Ice Bar (2018), Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition and Surprise Your Eyes (2019).  The center courtyard was soon bustling with special (mostly free) events every weekend ranging from outdoor movies to festivals, carnivals, cultural events and expos.  And to satisfy hungry visitors, the area opened a variety of restaurants and sweet treats alongside several shops offering a wide selection of merchandise from jewelry to unique Arizona treasures and souvenirs. 

Millions of visitors come through the complex year after year, enjoying endless memorable experiences at ALL the remarkable venues situated in one location. Expanding upon the success of these experiences, today’s announcement also unveiled new attractions and additional enhancements slated for Arizona Boardwalk.

Plans for Arizona Boardwalk include more innovative attractions, new theming, and opportunities for guests to extend their stay with the addition of a Hyatt Place hotel to be built on the property.

What’s NEW at Arizona Boardwalk?

Arizona Boardwalk is excited to welcome The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not to the destination in late 2020.  What’s more amazing than Ripley’s legendary compendium of oddities, anomalies and fantastic feats? The science that underlies them! This highly interactive exhibit is an adventure through the remarkable realms of scientific discoveries and real artifacts. Guests will go places they’ve never imagined, exploring the frontiers of knowledge and their understanding of the world, by way of an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects, astonishing artifacts, and first-class experiences. The exhibit is perfect for families or the ideal venue for local school children for the BEST. FIELD. TRIP. EVER!! 

Families searching for more action and activity can play together on the world’s largest inflatable! Arizona Boardwalk will soon be home to an enormous inflatable that spans more than 10,000 square feet — full of giant obstacle courses, pop-ups and mazes that will elicit laughter and excitement from guests of all ages!  Family-friendly and kid-approved – outdoor fun doesn’t get much better than this!

All gamers, sports enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies and fans of virtual reality are sure to be first in line when VR Xtreme opens in early March at Arizona Boardwalk! This incredible hub of non-stop virtual reality and gaming excitement will showcase 24 virtual reality immersive experiences that offer everything from competitive socializing, fine-tuning driving skills, marksmanship, and even a thrill-seeking roller-coaster ride off the top of a skyscraper! VR Xtreme will also feature popular games and experiences such as Project Cars 2 (the world’s most beautiful, authentic, and technically advanced racing game) and Raw Data (the world’s No. 1 VR shooting game with viewing screens for spectators).  VR Xtreme is also a fantastic place to host corporate team-building events or birthday parties.

Can’t fit it all into one visit? Extend the play with an extended stay! Slated to break ground in May 2020, Arizona Boardwalk begins construction on a brand new, 155-room Hyatt Place hotel. The addition of overnight hotel accommodations right on the property will help both locals and out-of-town visitors take advantage of all the entertainment offerings over multiple days, allowing families to enjoy more time together while never having to leave the property.  

In addition, the development team is working to re-imagine the look and feel of the destination, including creating a grand entranceway as well as adding activities to the courtyard that could entail rock climbing walls, play structures, zip lines, and more seating and shade. 

“I’m passionate about what we are creating here at Arizona Boardwalk,” said Adi Knishinsky, Chief Strategy Officer with the destination. “We know families are looking for special places to spend precious time together; a place to bring out-of-town guests or somewhere to make an entire day of it!  We decided to build just the right place for that. We offer the attractions and immersive experiences that will build lasting memories. That place is Arizona Boardwalk.”

Due to the name change, Knishinsky said he’s excited people will realize Arizona Boardwalk is much larger than OdySea Aquarium with many attractions, restaurants and shopping. “It’s about coming here with friends and family members and by the time you leave, you’ve learned something new, experienced something different and you’re going to walk away with memories you’ll have for a lifetime.”

To celebrate the debut of Arizona Boardwalk, the entertainment destination is hosting Slide n’ Ride, a weekend-long family-friendly event in the Arizona Boardwalk courtyard February 15 – 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests can enjoy three full days of UNLIMITED carnival rides and inflatable fun! Experience rides like the “Ballistic Swing” and “Tubs of Fun” along with 10 different inflatable slides. Entry is $5 per person for all-day access. Tickets are available online or at the OdySea Aquarium box office on-site. 

The name Arizona Boardwalk is effective immediately at the property. Currently, workers are busy swapping out all old signage, changing email addresses, updating brochures, etc. to reflect the destination’s new name and logo. The destination’s new website is, and social media pages have changed on Facebook (Arizona Boardwalk) and Instagram (@ArizonaBoardwalk).  

The aquarium’s name, OdySea Aquarium, is not affected by this name change for the destination and will remain OdySea Aquarium.

Attractions at Arizona Boardwalk:

OdySea Aquarium

Butterfly Wonderland

Laser + Mirror Maze

Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit

Polar Play Ice Bar

Surprise Your Eyes

VR Xtreme (opening March 2020)

The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (opening late 2020)

Shopping and Activities:

Butterfly Treasures Gift Shop

OdySea Treasures Gift Shop

Four Peaks Mining Co.

Arizona Territory Trading Post

Vitality Oxygen Bar and Aqua Massage

OdySea Express Train

The Country’s Largest Inflatable (opening late 2020) 

Food Options:

Pangaea Dinosaur Grill

Pizza Time

Johnny Rockets

Coffee Cove

Reef Snackbar

Nekter Juice Bar

Sugar Drop Candy Shop

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Frozen Penguin Ice Cream


Hyatt Place Hotel (groundbreaking Spring 2020)