Press Release: 09.02.2016

McCarthy Completes Construction of OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale

Aerial Image of Newly Constructed OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale

Largest aquarium in the Southwest, featuring more than 50 exhibits, opens to the public Labor Day weekend after only 18 months of construction.

McCarthy Building Companies completed construction of the highly-anticipated 200,000 square-foot OdySea Aquarium, located at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale, Arizona. Construction of the aquarium, the largest in the Southwest, began in March 2015 and was completed in only 18-months.

Poised to be one of Arizona’s premiere attractions, the OdySea Aquarium offers unrivaled marine adventures with a high-tech, high-entertainment, oceanic educational journey like no other in the industry. The 14-acre attraction, which spans 200,000 square-feet with two public exhibit levels and a third level for aquarium operations, was designed to accommodate over 10,000 visitors daily

OdySea Aquarium’s structure involved McCarthy pouring more than 12,000 cubic yards of concrete for its structural footings; 16 cast-in-place concrete aquatic tanks; 121 individual concrete structural columns; and 72 concrete tilt wall panels, which were assembled over eight days on-site and placed using a 300-ton tilt plane crawler crane. The largest panel placed weighs 220,000 pounds and is 60 feet high. 

Construction of the expansive structure also included the installation of 2 million pounds of steel and 1,198 beams; 5,455 linear feet of massive acrylic observation windows; and exhibits that hold more than 2 million gallons of water. The gigantic acrylic windows create unique observation tunnels within the aquarium, which visitors walk through and ride through on an escalator. Over 50 exhibits are maintained by 300 pumps and more than 42,000 linear feet of piping, including 11,000 linear feet of piping installed below grade.

“OdySea Aquarium was a highly-technical construction project that required us to combine our industrial expertise with virtual design technology and applications to achieve the owner’s vision of large-scale aquatic displays and a structure with virtually no straight lines,” said Michael Gonzalez, Director, for McCarthy. “And, thanks to our self-perform concrete and mechanical construction teams, McCarthy was able to adhere to the aggressive schedule, and today we are delivering the community a premier attraction they will enjoy for years to come.”

OdySea Aquarium was developed by founders Amram Knishinsky, Ph.D. and Martin Pollack.

Built on the Salt River-Pima Maricopa Indian Community, the project design also incorporates native culture into the facility, including a courtyard, handrails inspired by ancient basket-weaving techniques, and tilt panels depicting rain, oceans and earth.

OdySea also boasts the SeaTREK® experience that allows guests to descend deep into the “ocean” where they are surrounded by sea life on all sides. There is also a state-of-the-art 3D movie featuring Underwater Giants, and exhibits including Rivers of the World, Otter Banks, Touch Pools, Penguin Point, Sharks of the Deep, the Great Barrier Reef, and “the Bizarre & Beautiful” featuring jellyfish, octopus, large king crabs and seahorses. The facility also includes the Lighthouse Cafe serving a full menu and light snacks, and the OdySea Treasures Gift Shop. 

About McCarthy Building Companies
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. With an unrelenting focus on safety and a comprehensive quality program that span all phases of every project, McCarthy utilizes industry-leading design phase and construction techniques combined with value-add technology to maximize outcomes. Repeatedly honored as a Best Place to Work and Healthiest Employer, McCarthy is ranked the 16th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2016). With approximately 1,700 salaried employees and offices in St. Louis, Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill.; Portage, Ind.; Kansas City, Kan.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver; Dallas, Houston; Albuquerque; and San Diego, Newport Beach, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. More information about the company is available online at or by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+.

About OdySea Aquarium
OdySea Aquarium is located at 9500 E. Via de Ventura in Scottsdale, AZ 85256, at the OdySea in the Desert entertainment destination. OdySea Aquarium is open daily from 9am to 6pm. Admission tickets are sold with a scheduled entry time and the cost is $34.95/adult and $24.95/child. For more information about the OdySea Aquarium call 480-291-8000 or visit

About OdySea in the Desert
A 35-acre entertainment destination, OdySea in the Desert features five major attractions: OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, OdySea Mirror Maze, Dolphinaris and Polar Play. Opening in the next few months, there will also be approximately 30 restaurants and retail establishments surrounding a one-acre courtyard with multiple water features and a lively center stage. 

Media Contacts
Patty Johnson, Connections Marketing and Communications (McCarthy)
602-402-2965 /
Debora Bridges, Bridges Media Group (OdySea Aquarium)
480-306-4242 /

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