Alkaline-earth atoms such as strontium and atoms with similar valence electronic structure differ significantly from alkali-metal atoms that are typically used in ultracold experiments. They have a closed-shell ground state structure, numerous isotopes including spinless bosons, and metastable triplet levels that lead to novel laser-cooling techniques and interactions. They present many new opportunities for the study and application of ultracold atoms, such as optical frequency standards, long-coherence-time interferometers, and Bose and Fermi quantum degenerate gases and mixtures. I will describe recent experiments with two-photon spectroscopy of ground molecular levels that have accurately determined the s-wave scattering lengths for all strontium isotopes, demonstration of an optical Feshbach resonance with relatively low levels of induced atom loss, and prospects to use an optical Feshbach resonance to achieve quantum degenerate strontium. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation, Welch Foundation, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.