Wash Your Hands and Watch a Shark – Only in Arizona
It's hard to imagine our desert-reared kids being able to experience of life in the ocean. Most of them know how to remove an accidental cactus needle from a finger (Elmer's glue to cover the needle. Let dry. Peel carefully.)
They may be able to share 10 fun facts about a Diamondback rattlesnake but ask them to tell you about a skate and they'll likely think you're talking about the kind you put on your feet. Quiz them on echinoderms and they'll look at you like your brain must be filled with mesquite beans.
Land-Locked Sea Urchin
I'm not even sure how my child who grew up in land-locked Arizona to develop a passion for the sea, but somehow it happened.
She's studying Ecology with a specialty in Marine Biology at the University of Arizona, and one weekend she came home chattering away about the OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale.
Ask her about sharks or octopuses (octopodes, she likes to correct me, using what some consider to be the more accurate Greek pluralization) and her eyes light up while 10 or so "fun cephalopod facts" come spilling out in rapid succession.
She's and her campus marine science club, MACS or Marine Awareness & Conservation Society members volunteer at the OdySea Aquarium often. They students gather to help with outreach and education. The group set up educational stations around various exhibits, sharing their knowledge and encouraging interaction and questions.
The aquarium has an octopus exhibit, as well as sharks, rays, skates, and also several touch tanks, where you can feed some of the creatures, and boast several behind the scenes, or rather, "behind the seas" tours.
The Only Place You'll See This in America
But there's one experience at the OdySea that's covered in the price of admission, but you may never see it again.
The OdySea Aquarium was voted the the 2017 Best Bathroom in America. One trip to the sinks, and you'll quickly see why.
If you've gotta check your lipstick, this is not the place to do it. Instead of a mirror over the sink, you might lock eyes with a 9-foot shark as you wash your hands.
The OdySea has a giant window that gazes right into the OdySea's largest exhibit, Shark Waters, making this the only bathroom in the United States where you can wash your flippers while watching a shark watch you.