Dolphinaris Arizona to be replaced by attraction without animals
PHOENIX — A Phoenix-area aquatic facility that made headlines after four dolphins it housed died in less than two years will be replaced with a new concept, but without animals.
Dolphinaris Arizona near Scottsdale has been closed for over a month after the death of 22-year-old Kai, but its parent company said dolphins would no longer be part of the attraction.
The Mexico-based Ventura Entertainment has assembled a team to create a “completely novel, engaging attraction” that will not “involve animals of any kind,” Ran Knishinsky with the OdySea in the Desert, said.
Dolphinaris Arizona was among the attractions within the Odysea in the Desert entertainment destination, but Ventura Entertainment owns the dolphin-themed concept.
Knishinsky told KTAR News 92.3 FM that a team of about 20 people are gathered in Mexico City to come up with a concept for the new attraction, but no other information has been released.
“Odysea will have input on the future plans but the decision will be Ventura’s,” he said.
“We are anxious to see what Ventura’s options are for the new venture.”
Jen Smith, a spokesperson for Dolphinaris Arizona, did not provide any additional information in an email to ABC15.
There is no estimated reopening for the facility.
Dolphinaris initially closed its doors in February to allow a panel of experts to evaluate the facility on Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community tribal land near the Loop 101 and Via de Ventura.
Signage was later taken down to avoid confusion, Smith told The Associated Press.
Kai was the fourth dolphin to die at the facility since it opened to protests in 2016.
The four dolphins that were still housed at Dolphinaris Arizona at the time of its closure have been transferred to Coral World Ocean Park in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore and The Associated Press contributed to this report.