Emperor angelfish, Pomacanthus imperator, a species of marine angelfish
Atlantis, The Palm has delighted guests with unusual salt and fresh water attractions and an amazing aquatic eco-system never before seen in the Middle East. The open-air marine habitat is the focal point of Atlantis, Dubai’s first truly integrated entertainment destination resort. Resort guests, visitors to Dubai and residents of the Emirates can enjoy and explore an extensive collection of exhibits, pools, lagoons and underwater ruins showcasing an impressive variety of marine life including sharks, eels, rays, piranhas, hundreds of exotic and tropical fish.
At Atlantis, The Palm we’re proud to offer a truly extraordinary marine experience that has a unique appeal for guests of all ages. It’s wonderful to see the sparkle in kids’ eyes when they catch site of The Ambassador Lagoon for the first time, or have their first interaction with one of the exciting habitats in The Lost Chambers – I know from personal experience it’s a day they’ll never forget. A special favourite of all our guests is our Behind the Scenes Tour, because it allows them to get that bit closer to the beautiful animals they’ve seen, and we’re often able to show baby rays or sea horses that are the success of our breeding programme.
says Serge Zaalof, President and Managing Director, Altantis, The Palm.
Throughout the expansive 46 hectare resort, 42 million litres of salt water are home to more than 65,000 fish and sea creatures representing over 250 species. Second only to Mother Nature, this harmony of marine life is managed by a team of more than 165 full-time Marine Animal Specialists. The veterinarians, biologists, aquarists, divers, laboratory mangers, food technicians, mechanics and directors who tend to this delicate eco-system on a 24-hour basis, have over 200 years experience from world-renowned marine institutes and facilities in Europe, India, South Africa, Philippines, The Bahamas and the United States.
At The Ambassador Lagoon, guests look through a 10 square metre viewing panel directly into an 11 million litre marine habitat and underwater exhibit – home to the sunken streets and boulevards of the mythical lost world of Atlantis. Here, guests stand in awe as they watch the sea life live peacefully amidst lost relics. This habitat focuses on marine life found in the local waters of the Arabian Gulf, including Golden Trevallys, Cobias, Crescent Angelfish and a variety of sharks and rays.
The discovery continues as guests travel through the mazes of underground tunnels and passageways of The Lost Chambers Aquarium, bringing them into close contact with the myth and the advanced inventions of the ancient Atlanteans. Along the way, touch tanks filled with starfish and pencil urchins, both found in local Arabian waters, and horse shoe crabs, armoured living fossils, allow guests to touch, feel and interact with sea life.
Special exhibits are dedicated to different sea creatures, such as the delicate Moon Jellyfish, busy lobster, colourful coral reef eco-systems, flesh eating piranhas, and glittery anchovies – each fascinating to watch and with a story to tell. Guests at Atlantis, The Palm can explore The Lost Chambers Aquarium on their own or choose to interact with a ‘Navigator’, who shares educational facts and details on the mythical elements of Atlantis (how man and marine life first connected) and the Atlantis family of marine inhabitants.
The zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) is a species of carpet shark and the sole member of the family Stegostomatidae.
BEHIND THE SCENES TOURS
Daily feedings in the lagoons and exhibits are supervised by Atlantis ‘Seakeepers’ affording guests the opportunity to interact with the sea life. Atlantis has taken the experience one step further offering a range of Behind The Scenes Tours allowing guests the opportunity to enjoy its popular exhibits from a new perspective and raise awareness of the ocean’s eco-systems. Promoting ocean conservation is a key dimension to the overall guest experience at the resort.
Guests get to join in on any of the scheduled daily Behind The Scenes Tours and experience it through the eyes of an Aquarist. Led by a Navigator – a fully qualified guide, guests above the age of 6 experience first hand some of the elements involved in caring for the marine life nestled in the underground tunnels and passageways of The Lost Chambers Aquarium.
The 45 minute experience begins once the guests (up to 6 guests per session) are greeted by the Navigator who will escort them to their first stop on their discovery route; The Ambassador Lagoon Mechanical room. The Atlantis marine operation is an impressive technical feat with over 42 million litres of sea water circulated through the lagoons, exhibits and pools. Here, guests are given a better understanding of how the water is drawn from the Arabian Gulf into an open-flow system through an almost four million litre reservoir, sand filtered, and infused and cleaned with ozone before flowing into the marine habitats around the resort. Guests are then guided through the fish hospital with quarantine pools for newborns, marine life acclimatizing or requiring treatment, and a dedicated food preparation area which serves a daily menu of approximately 300 kilos of restaurant-quality ‘fish food’ including shrimp, squid, sardines and minnows. The group concludes its journey by participating in a feeding and explanation of life support systems. Guests can choose to partake in any of the five feedings which include the Anchovy/Coral habitat, the Giant Groupers, the Moray Eels, the Piranhas, and a feeding at The Ambassador Lagoon.
Resort guests and day visitors can participate in a Behind The Scenes Tour. Day visitors are required to purchase admission to The Lost Chambers Aquarium and for in-resort guests the entrance is free. The Lost Chambers brings explorers into close contact with the myth of the ancient Atlanteans and allowing them to discover the mazes and underground passageways of exhibits, pools, lagoons and underwater ruins with an impressive variety of marine life including sharks, eels, rays, piranhas, hundreds of exotic and tropical fish. For an enjoyable journey through the Back of House tour areas, comfortable shoes are required, and no high heels are allowed.
For those seeking the ultimate thrill, a Cownose Ray Feeding at The Tower Of Neptune in Aquaventure Waterpark, the resort’s iconic waterscape, is the definitive feeding experience. Guests (up to 6 guests per feeding) join an Aquarist in the shallow waters of the Shark Lagoon for a 35 minute hands-on experience. Guests learn about the anatomy and behaviour of these graceful species while the hungry rays emerge for their tasty treats. The minimum age for this experience is 6 years old and children under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Guests must be a minimum of 1.2 metres tall to participate. Guests should be prepared to get wet during this encounter. Swimming attire is required as wetsuits are not provided.
Shark Safari at Aquaventure is a real dare-devil activity. This exciting underwater adventure allows non-certified visitors to become marine explorers and walk underwater for a fish eye perspective on the world. During the 20 minute Shark Safari, participants will get up close and personal with the many Black Tip Reef Sharks, rare Marble Rays and exotic and colourful fish that call the Atlantis Shark Lagoon home, making this experience a memorable underwater tale with which to thrill their families. Anyone between the ages of 8 and 80 can participate in a Shark Safari journey, regardless of swimming skill or physical ability.
The cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus) is a species of eagle ray found throughout a large part of the western Atlantic and Caribbean
DIVING ACTIVITIES IN THE AMBASSADOR LAGOON
Guests can enjoy a number of different activities to experience the amazing 11 million litre Ambassador Lagoon. The Ultimate Snorkel is a great way people aged 6+ to enjoy getting up close with thousands of colourful reef fish, sharks and rays and discover interesting facts about the local species which inhibit the largest open air marine exhibit in the Middle East. A complimentary mask and snorkel is included. Atlantis Dive Discovery is an introductory diving experience which gives new divers a basic skill session before a 20 minute dive. It’s a great jumping off point to the full PADI diving certification. Atlantis Dive Explorer is a 30 minute dive session where divers will come face to face with sharks, fish and rays. The Ultimate Dive is a once-in-a-lifetime experience including two 30 minute dives in the depths of the lagoon, enjoying and exploring the ancient ruins and species of the Arabian Gulf. Guests can also experience the thrill of feeding the rays by hand. Refreshments and full Arabic Mezze are included in the dive package. The Royal Dive gives guests the entire majestic Ambassador Lagoon to themselves. They will also receive a take home mask, fish ID booklet, free video of their experience on a flash drive and enjoy complimentary dinner for up to 3 guests after the dive.
To avoid disappointment, guests are encouraged to book their Behind The Scenes Tour, Cownose Ray Feeding and diving in advance by visiting the Aquaventure or The Lost Chambers Ticketing areas, calling +971 4 426 1030 or book online at atlantisthepalm.com and go to ’’Book a Day Trip’’.
THE ATLANTIS MARINE HABITAT
The marine habitats at Atlantis, The Palm are forever changing and evolving much like Mother Nature herself and this makes each visit to the resort a new and inimitable experience for every guest, young or old. The sea water is drawn from the Arabian Gulf into an open-flow system through an almost four million litres reservoir, and then sand filtered and infused and cleaned with ozone before flowing into the marine habitats around the resort.
The newest addition to the marine habitat at Atlantis, The Palm, is a herd of over one hundred Hippocampus Hystrix Seahorses. These rare new borns, known as “Fry” will assist in the repopulation of this species when they are released into the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf, once mature enough to hunt Zooplankton.
Meanwhile, they will join a number of other recent new borns at The Lost Chambers including baby rays, jellyfish and Clown Fish, where UAE residents can enjoy observing them swimming in merry, seahorse fashion.
The birth of any species helps Atlantis, The Palm further to reach the goal of educating and enlightening people about marine life and ecosystems.
Yellow band angelfish, Pomacanthus maculosus, another species of marine angelfish
Atlantis’ Mission is to become the world’s leader in marine animal experiences there-by inspiring passionate participation in protecting our oceans and creating life-long memories through entertainment, education, conservation and research. Atlantis, The Palm is implementing targeted scientific studies with local fishery and educational partners to provide an enhanced marine knowledge of the waters surrounding the United Arab Emirates. From these studies, a breed and release programme is initiated for various species, similar to the successful programme at Atlantis, Paradise Island with sea life found in the waters of The Bahamas.
About Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai
Atlantis, The Palm is the first entertainment resort destination in the region and located at the centre of the crescent of The Palm in Dubai. Opened in September 2008, the unique ocean-themed resort features a variety of marine and entertainment attractions, as well as 17 hectares of waterscape amusement at Aquaventure Waterpark, all within a 46 hectare site. It is home to one of the largest open-air marine habitats in the world, with over 65,000 marine animals in lagoons and displays including The Lost Chambers Aquarium, a maze of underwater corridors and passageways providing a journey through ancient Atlantis. Aquaventure features 18 million litres of fresh water used to power thrilling waterslides, a 2.3 kilometre river ride with tidal waves and pools, water rapids and white water chargers. Dolphin Bay, the unparalleled dolphin conservation and education habitat, was created to provide guests a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn more about one of nature’s most graceful mammals. Atlantis, The Palm is also known as the culinary destination in the region with a collection of world-renowned restaurants including Nobu and Ronda Locatelli. The resort boasts an impressive collection of luxury boutiques and shops as well as extensive meeting and convention facilities.
Equipment: Nikon D3200 with lens 18-55 mm – Housing NiMAR