Atlantis
One of our favorite places to play in Dubai is the Aquaventure Waterpark that is part of Atlantis the Palm.  It’s touted to be the #1 Waterpark in the Middle East and Europe, and I can believe it!  The park has something for everyone.

For thrill seekers there’s the Tower of Neptune which offers a variety of tall slides including the Leap of Faith, the 9 story near vertical slide down the side of the pyramid and into the shark tank (you’re sliding thru a clear acrylic tube of course!).  If you’re a speed demon there’s Poseidon’s Revenge in the heart of the pyramid; you step into a capsule and the floor drops from under you sending you plummeting down at speeds of 60 kilometers per hour, inertia propels you upside down!  My 13 year old grandson loves these slides!

Atlantis

Those slides are too extreme for me, I prefer the “milder” Shark Attack where you hop into a single or double inner tube and wind your way down the dark indoor slide and end up floating thru the shark tank, which by the way is a very busy place.  Aside from having tubes that lead out from the slides it’s also the place where you can don a special helmet and go on a”Shark Safari

 

AtlantisIf you’re looking for something more laid back then the Lazy River is where you should hang out.

Grab a tube, they have singles, doubles, and a double with a child seat (one side has a bottom for small children to sit on), and drift on the river.  The river winds around the park’s property and offers several pools and waterfalls through out, you can stop at any spot for a quick dip or a walk behind the falls.

AtlantisYou can detour thru the Torrents, a wave generator that creates swells over a meter high that pushes your tube down the river; or you can head to the Rapids.  The Rapids are over 1.5 kilometers long and is lots of fun.  Entrance to the Torrents and Rapids are clearly marked, you can enter or continue down the river if you prefer.  I have to say this Lazy River is the best I’ve ever been on.  The kids and I have spent hours on it.  I believe a full circuit takes about 30 minutes including all the detours.
Atlantis For sun worshipers there are plenty of loungers around the Lazy River you can stretch out on to work on your tan.  Or you can head to Aquaventure Beach and lay out in the sand.    If you want some quiet relaxation you can rent a couple of sunbeds at Neptune’s Retreat for 300 AED.  Price includes fruit, water, and valet service.

If you really want to splurge you can rent a private cabana for your group prices start at 800 AED for a small cabana that can accommodate up to 6 people.  Cabana rentals include fruit, water, and locker rental.

Needless to say we did not avail ourselves of the retreat or cabana.  The kids were much more interested in playing than relaxing.

AtlantisWhen we’re not floating along the Lazy River we hang out Splasher’s Kids’ Play Area.  It’s really the busiest section of the park.  It’s always filled with families with young kids.  The play area has several slides, huge buckets of water that dump water, bridges to climb and walk on, and lots of dripping or splashing water to play in.  It’s also very well monitored.  Along with lifeguards who help the kids on the taller slides there are several lifeguards and first aid nurses watching the perimeter.  The lifeguards are very friendly and play with the kids, but they are also very vigilant.  This last trip we saw a child slip and bump her head on one of the slides, the first aid nurse was at the family’s side almost instantly.  She assessed the situation, thankfully in this case it was minor, nothing that an ice pack couldn’t fix.

When it came to guest safety I was very impressed, they take it very seriously.  Young children are required to wear life vests which are provided free at the towel cabanas located through out the park. All the slides had multiple lifeguards, the Lazy River had lifeguards in and around it, and the Torrents and Rapids had multiple lifeguards at the entrances and along the route.  The lifeguards were all very friendly and very helpful, my grandson Dion quickly was on first name basis with many of them.

A day at this waterpark will leave you hungry and thirsty.  At this park you won’t go hungry, you may go broke, but you’ll be full.  There are 16 restaurants and kiosks within the park.  They serve everything from coffee and juices, to burgers and pizzas, to Chinese noodles and Korean barbecue.
They have indoor and outdoor restaurants.  The main ones are Barracudas and Shark Bites, both have indoor and outdoor seating.  Barracudas is basically a food court where you can grab a quick burger or have some Arabic, Indian, or Asian cuisine.  Shark Bites is for quick bites like burgers, hot dogs, and pizza.  Splashers and Waves are outdoor venues for burgers and sandwiches.  You can snack on pretzels, churros, and ice cream from kiosks around the park.

The food at the park’s restaurants are typical park fare, not gourmet but filling, they have good size portions.  Prices are typical park prices, a large soda costs 8 AED; lunch of a burger, fries, and drink will run you close to $20.  The best deal are the meal vouchers they sell at the ticket office.  They sell for 45 AED each ($12.25) and includes your choice of meal and a drink at either Barracudas or Shark Bites.  Each restaurant a different list of items you can choose from, the lists are pretty big  and include pizza, burgers, hot dogs, noodles, fried chicken, and shawarmas.  The restaurants have different lists as some items are not available at both places, so if you don’t find what you want at one place ask if it’s on the other place’s list.  We always buy vouchers when we visit the park.  If you have small kids they can share a meal.

A day at Aquaventure is lots of fun, but it’s not cheap, specially if there are many of you.  To get the best deal buy tickets online or at your hotel’s tour desk.  Tour desk prices are usually the same as online prices.  If you buy tickets at the park expect to pay 50+AED ($13.50)  more than online prices. You should also know that prices are subject to change without notice and it seems to me are seasonal.

When we went last August we paid 250 AED ($68) for everyone over 1.2 meters tall (this included my 13 year old grandson), and 205 AED  ($56) for the kids below 1.2 meters (that’s because kids below the height minimum can not go on any of the big slides, they are limited to the Kids’ Play area and Lazy River). Children 0-2 years old are free.

Park admission includes all water slides, Lazy River, Kids’ Play area, and loungers and umbrellas around the park.  Adventure rides like the Shark Safari, Zip Line, and Ray Feeding have extra fees, hotel guests pay a discounted fee.

Locker rentals start at 40 AED for a small, towel rentals are 30 AED each, or you can rent small locker and towel for 50 AED.

Of course you can get free admission if you are a guest at the Atlantis hotel.  Room rates start at about $400+ per night.  They do have cool suites that have underwater views, those cost a pretty penny.

The Marine Park and Lost Chambers Aquarium are also located on the property.  At the Marine Park you can swim with the dolphins or meet a sea lion.  Each activity has it’s own fee which includes a day pass to the waterpark.  Hotel guests get a discount for most of these activities.

The Lost Chambers is inside the hotel, tickets can be purchased separately, 100 AED ($27) or in combination with a day pass to the waterpark for 300 AED ($82).  They also have activities including a behind the scene tours, ray feeding, and scuba dives in the aquarium.  Each activity is prices separately.  Hotel guests pay a discounted fee.

Here are some tips for your visit to the park.  I hope they will save you time and money, and help you have a fantastic time!

1.  Buy tickets online or at your hotel tour desk.  If possible compare prices before you buy.  Pre-purchasing tickets also saves time, you won’t have to wait in line at the ticket plaza.  But you can’t rent lockers and towels online, nor can you buy meal vouchers.  You must get those from the ticket office.

2.  Bring your own towels.  I borrowed some from the hotel pool and returned it to housekeeping the next day.

3.  Plan your visit on a week day to avoid huge crowds.  Remember the weekend in Dubai is Friday and Saturday.  The park is packed on weekends and holidays.

4.  Arrive early, before the park opens at 10:00 am.  You can buy tickets and meal vouchers, and rent towels and lockers as soon as the ticket windows open.  If you purchased tickets online you can pick-up wristbands at the “Pre-Purchased Ticket” counter, if you want to rent a cabana or sunbeds you can go to the VIP Premier Experiences counter and get your tickets there too.

5.  Don’t bring valuables.  If you do rent a locker! Dubai is a very safe place, however there are petty thieves who will jump at the chance to grab valuables left unattended on lounge chairs.  We didn’t bring valuables but my daughter’s flip-flops were stolen, they were Ugg brand flip-flops and were not cheap, my daughter was very annoyed.  When we went to buy her rubber flip-flops (she needed them the ground was scorching) we paid 100 AED ($27) for the cheapest pair, the sales associate informed us that stolen footwear was very common.

6.  Invest in a waterproof phone pouch.  You can pick one up at the gift shop before you enter the ticket plaza.  They cost 120 AED ($33) and will fit your cell phone, credit card, and money.  You can wear it around your neck in the park, but you must remove it when going on the big slides.  I bought one and it came in very handy.  It kept my phone nice and dry while I used it to take lots of pictures in the splash area and on the Lazy River.  It doubles as a souvenir of your day too!

7.  Buy meal vouchers it will save you money when lunch time rolls around.  Outside food is not allowed in the park, unless it’s baby formula or baby food.

8.  If the park is busy find a tube or tubes and keep it with you!  Tube napping is very common as you will need a tube for some of the slides as well as for the Lazy River.

9.  If you have toddlers and small children get them a life jacket from one of the towel counters.  It’s free and required if you are taking them on the Lazy River.

10.  If you have toddlers and small children grab a double tube with a child seat and keep it with you.  They can be difficult to come by.  Toddlers can’t hang on to a tube with their legs dangling in the water, the seat makes it much more comfortable and safer.

11.  Bring plenty of sunblock, it cost a fortune at the park.

12.  Let the park’s photographer take your photos.  They wander around the park taking photos and give you a wrist band each time.  They also take photos at the big slides and along the Lazy River. You can take as many photos as you want, you don’t have to buy any.  You can view your photos in the hotel by the Lost Chamber entrance.  If you like a lot of your pictures consider buying the disc or thumb drive instead of prints; it’s a better deal and you can print them out yourself.  Individual photos cost about $20, the disc or drive about $100.

13.  Dress appropriately.  Swimwear is mandatory if you are going on the slides or in the pools. Having said this, you should also respect the local culture.  You’re not required nor even expected to be covered from head to toe but you are required to be “decent”.  This means bathing suits, even bikinis are acceptable, but thongs are not.

14.  Don’t gawk, stare, or point.  That’s just rude!  You will see people from all over the world there. Many of them will be dressed according to their cultural and religious beliefs.  Yes, there will be women in abayas and covered from head to toe, they will not be swimming.  But those that do wear swimwear which looks like a scuba suit including a hood to cover their hair.  Just remember though they may dress differently they are there to enjoy the day with their families just like you are.

15.  Have a great time!

Dolphin Discovery