Are you ready for a day of good old-fashioned water slide fun? Cuz I totally am! There are several water parks in the city to choose from, and we have a buy one, get one free Entertainer coupon to Wild Wadi which would save us about $30 over going to the Aquaventure park. But I really want to go to Aquaventure to see scenes (and ride slides) from season 15 of the Amazing Race, and Maggie wants to relax on the beach, so despite the higher cost, we find ourselves on the tram that runs the length of the Palm Jumeirah, heading for the Atlantis.
The palm is a series of man made islands in the shape of a palm tree. This creates waterfront property for nearly every building and house. Not a bad deal, though there is some controversy around the fact that it appears the islands are sinking. Hopefully they’ll figure out how to stop that before it’s too late!
Donald Trump’s real estate company has developed part of the palm, and much is still under construction.
The ride lasts about 10 minutes and soon we’re approaching the Atlantis hotel and the water park!
Back when we were looking at hotels, I looked at staying at the Atlantis hotel for a night, just for the experience, but at nearly $500/night, I just couldn’t justify it. At least we get to spend the day here, playing in the water.
We end up paying 350 dirhams ($95) each for a combined ticket to the water park, the Lost Chambers Aquarium and a shared day use locker. There are a ton of other activities available as well: a dolphin encounter, snorkeling and diving in the fish tanks, and even a zip line over the entire park. I’m pretty sure you could stay here a week and never have to leave the island.
Before we hit the water, I drag Maggie around the park to get our bearings and snap a few photos before I stash my camera for the day. Of course our first stop is the beach!
This is the Leap of Faith, where Mika, a contestant on the Amazing Race, was too terrified to go down the 9 story, nearly 90 degree angled slide. Eventually another team showed up and passed them, and they ended up being eliminated on the beach in the pictures above. Of course, I will be trying it a little later.
Both the Leap of Faith and the Shark Attack go through a shark tank, where fish and sharks swim around you. Enter if you dare!
After a few more shots of the park, Maggie tells me “Enough!” and we head back to the locker to get ready for some thrill rides!
Pro tip – about half the slides require an inner-tube which you can find in the main pool. It took us forever to figure this out and I wish we would have grabbed one as soon as we arrived. There are tons of two-person tubes, but the single ones are much harder to come by. After splashing around the pool, we finally manage to grab a couple singles and head straight for the Shark Attack!
Maggie is not a waterslide kind of girl, so it takes some coaxing for me to get her down each slide. But she’s a trooper and let’s me push her down some crazy ones!
We spend several hours checking out the slides and floating around the river. It’s such a fun and relaxing way to cool off from the hot desert heat.
Lunch at the park is pretty expensive (116 dirhams/$31 for 2 burgers, fries and cokes) for how not good the food is, but at least it fills us up. Maggie decides she’s had enough of the slides and finds a spot on the beach to lie in the sun while I finish off the rest.
Up to this point I’ve been using my GoPro to take pictures of the day and manage to take it down a few slides, but eventually I’m told that the “selfie stick” (the floatation stick I use to hold it and keep from losing it in the water) is not allowed on the slides. I’m bummed, but at least I got some good shots!
The slide I find to be the scariest of all is called Poseidon’s Revenge. As I’m walking up several flights of stairs, a guy is coming down and tells me to think long and hard before going all the way up. Rather than deterring me, I’m now more intrigued. When I get to the top, I see two capsules with people standing in them. Then suddenly there’s a splash and they are no longer there. So this is the slide Nevine was telling us about. There isn’t any wait here so I get in one of the capsules next. The door closes around me and a countdown begins. When the voice gets to 1, the floor I’m standing on drops out and I’m falling straight down for what seems like ages. I don’t have video of it (see paragraph above), but this is one I found on YouTube of what it’s like.
Just watching that and my heart is back in my throat!
Finally, it’s time to take a Leap of Faith. I’ve saved this for the end of the day, partly for the lines to be shorter, partly because Maggie wouldn’t do it earlier, and partly to save the best for last. I took these photos earlier, when I still had my camera…you can see just how high it is!
Even though I’m a bit nervous, I go for it and scream the whole way down. It’s so much fun! I would definitely do it all again.
As the shadows start to get longer and the air cooler, I find Maggie on the beach and go for one last dip in the ocean.
And with that, an awesome day at Aquaventure has come to an end. We head to the lockers to change with everyone else before grabbing dinner at Ronda Locatelli. Then it’s time for the Lost Chambers Aquarium. More on that next!