Posted by: englishdubai | October 31, 2008

Flow Rider

After the long week at GITEX, I had a couple of my friends come over from the UK to spend a week with me in Dubai. We did the usual things – nice bars, restaurants, beach, pool even had some tailored shirts made. The highlight for me was our visit the new water park at the Atlantis hotel – Aquaventure.

Wild Wadi down near the Burj Al Arab is a favorite with locals and tourists alike so I was keen to see how Aquaventure would compare to it. We got down to the park at 11am but seems that was not early enough to bag some sun beds near to the lagoon pools. So we had to make do with a sun bed on the beach. The first thing you realise is that Aquaventure is set on a large plot and there is quite amount of walking to be done during the day. Whereas Wild Wadi now seems bijou in comparison.

The Ziggarut in the middle of the park is a natural draw an acts as the hub of for the water slides the park has to offer. My friends and I breathlessly powered up to the top of the Ziggarut to ride the “Leap of Faith” (I made sure they went first – just to ensure it was working)

Now I rode Jumeriah Sceirah at Wild Wadi and this is pretty similar. The difference being the Jumeriah Sceriah gives you the impression that at one point you will fly off into a wall – the Leap of Faith just powers you down at warp speed into a pool of sharks. However it is just too fast to see anything exciting. Here is the Ziggarut with another fearless rider:

Below is the tube you are in when you shoot down the leap of faith into the shark tank. There is another ride called shark attack which gives you ample time to gawp at the sharks.

There are six other rides that start from the Ziggarut these require the use an inflatable ring and most of them finish with you on the 2.4km lazy river. This was really great, it seemed almost organic. You can choose (with judicious paddling) to go down the bumpy rapids or the really fun torrents. While riding the torrents a tidal wave of about one meter comes along at regular intervals to give an enjoyable ride.

On a ride for ride comparison between Wild Wadi and Aquaventure there is little to chose between them, they are both equally good. Wild Wadi has a more high octane feel about it with the flowrider surf simulators whereas the long lazy river at Aquaventure is a perfect way to enjoy the warm weather. So I will rate both parks in terms of rides 8/10.

Where aquaventure does provide some extra value add it is the use of the beach:

I went down to investigate and had a dip in the Arabian Gulf. It was weird, that as the beach is located on the “inner” side of the water break of the Palm there is no current or waves. This made it feel like I was standing in a very warm, very salty bath. It was not my cup of tea so we headed over the other attraction – The Lost Chambers.

The Lost Chambers is a colossal aquarium and currently the subject of some public outcry right now. The issue is there is a very beautiful Whale Shark in the aquarium which was rescued off the coast. It has been affectionately called Sammy the Shark and people are calling for his release back to the wild. You can see Sammy below – the large spotted fish in the background of the picture. My stance on this, while it is amazing to see he should be let out to get on with whatever whale sharks do:

I really enjoy visits to aquariums and Lost Chambers has some very imaginative exhibitions here are a few of my favourites. Below is the monster grouper – apparently a small one at only 100kg, they can get as large as 400kg:

The lobster exhibit was really cool, having almost HR Giger feel to it. The lobsters would somehow clamber up the structures only to fall down again often knocking off other lobsters. It was great to watch.

The jellyfish is always a pleasure to see as they propel themselves though the darkness with effortless ease:

The whole day was excellent. For the same entrace price as wild wadi you get the beach (not that I liked it much) and entrace to the aquarium. It represents great value. I will still go to wild wadi but Aquaventure provides a welcome alternative.


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