By Grant Duvall
Dubai is an incredibly hot place year-round. With only a small handful of cold and rainy days per year, people are always looking for ways to keep cool. Fortunately, the Aquaventure Park at the Atlantis Resort has the solution.
The Atlantis resort is on the Palm Island in Dubai. This is a man-made island, shaped like a palm tree. This is also another set of attractions in the Go Dubai Card, so if you pay to see the other sights of Dubai, this is a great stop. Parking is unusual, though. Guests have to park in a lot away from the resort, to take a shuttle that takes about 7-10 minutes to get there. I believe that this is due to the sheer size of the resort, that parking had to move.
The resort itself is incredible, much like everything else in Dubai. It's a massive collection of structures that you can see from very far away. It includes the water park, an aquarium, spas, hotel rooms, shops, dolphin and sea lion swims. Even Gordon Ramsay has a restaurant there. It is truly a resort that makes you feel like a king - but for a reasonable price.
Aquaventure is massive. There is an Atlantis in the Bahamas with waterslides, but this one dwarfs that. If you are familiar with the Bahamian resort, there is a waterslide that goes through a shark tank (safely enclosed, of course). This one doubles down, by putting more slides through a shark tank, including one that has a slow-moving lazy river part, which gives you the chance to be fully surrounded by sharks and other fish. If you have a phobia of sharks, I would recommend avoiding this one. The whole park feels as though you are in a forgotten kingdom, complete with temples, which house the slides. The craftsmanship is truly breathtaking.
Thrill seekers will be at home here, thanks to a LOOPING waterslide, called Poseidon's Revenge. This one starts out with you standing on a platform and then the countdown begins. 3. 2. 1. The bottom falls out from under you, and you fly straight down, and complete an upside-down loop. The whole ride is over in a matter of seconds. I went on this not realizing what I was getting into (the slides are hidden in the temples, so it’s hard to see what each one does. It was terrifying, but a total rush.
There are also three aquacoasters, which are very fun. Aquacoasters are water slides that propel you upwards in an intertube, as well as downward, creating a rollercoaster-like experience. The biggest rush though is the Aquaconda, which is the world's largest tube water slide. You get in the tube with five other people, and raft down a very tall structure. This slide is so wide, that four other water slides go through the middle of it, showing off how massive it truly is.
The highlight, though, is the Rapid River. This is a twist on a lazy river that includes many sections that randomly turn into waterslides. Caverns appear that house the lift hills that allow for thrills on top of relaxing. The lazy river is so big that it takes 45 minutes to complete one circuit!
The other attraction I did, which was also included in the Go Dubai card, is the Lost Chambers aquarium. This is a very quick experience that I wouldn't recommend paying for, as we were in the aquarium a total of 20 minutes. However, when included with the card, it is well worth it. This is the most elaborate, themed aquarium I have ever been in.
The theme is that we are in the ruins of Atlantis (which has a steampunk edge), and the sea life has taken over. This is a very pretty, fully-immersive aquarium, and people who reside in the Creepy Kingdom will be at home here. The tanks are huge (I'm talking the Living Seas huge), and you can tell the animals are well taken care of.
Overall, I cannot wait to visit the Atlantis resort, and next time I go, I will stay there for a few nights, just to take in all that they have to offer. This is hands down the best water park I have ever been to. There is truly something for everyone, and every thrill level.
Creepy factor - 4 out of 10. The aquarium has some spooky elements, and some waterslides are freaky. Plus, sliding through a shark tank is definitely creepy, but overall, not a scary experience.