SALT RIVER PIMA-MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY, Ariz. (FOX 10) – Officials say dolphins will not be part of a new attraction planned for the former Dolphinaris space.
According to a press release from OdySea in the Desert, no live animals will be incorporated into the new concept.
“Ventura Entertainment has assembled a team of top creative minds to execute a completely novel, engaging attraction, but it will not involve animals of any kind,” said Ran Knishinsky, Partner and Chief Marketing Officer at OdySea in the Desert entertainment destination. “We are excited to hear more details in the coming months regarding this new project.”
"They have ensured us they have closed their doors, and they are now currently looking at some new concepts," said Ran Knishinsky with Odysea in the Desert. " they've promised us that what they come back to the table with will include no animals, and we support that."
Odysea officials say they have been a lot of public confusion about their facility and Dolphinaris. They say they have never been a part of Dolphinaris, and that the two are separate facilities with separate owners.
Dolphinaris Arizona officials decided to temporarily close the facility after the death of Kai, a 22-year-old dolphin that was euthanized following deteriorating health.
Kai is the fourth dolphin to die at the facility. In September 2017, seven-year-old Bodie died from a rare muscle disease. In May 2018, 10-year-old Alia died from a bacterial infection that spread quickly, and 11-year-old Khloe died months later, in December 2018, after a six-year struggle with a chronic illness.
Last month, the four remaining dolphins at Dolphinaris were shipped to a sanctuary in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Jeanette McCourt, who opposed Dolphinaris, said she is happy to hear of the news.
"Definitely happy to hear that," said McCourt. "They shouldn't have been here to begin with."