Dubai day trip: Atlantis’ Aquaventure water park and Lost Chambers

When the Atlantis Hotel extended me an invitation to review their Aquaventure water park, I said yes without hesitation.  Then I remembered that I can’t swim. Oops.

You see, the story goes something like this: nearly 20 years ago, I almost drowned (coincidentally at a water park in Canada).  I detailed the story of how I nearly perished here.  And so it follows that for many years thereafter, I stayed away from any body of water wider and deep than my bathtub.

It wasn’t until I decided to accompany Liebling on a week-long sailing trip to Croatia that I realized that I needed to get over my fear of water.  With Liebling’s encouragement, I enrolled in swim lessons in Hong Kong, where I learned a passable breast stroke, and improved my ragged, uncoordinated breathing.

But here the thing: I  still can’t swim to save my life.

Which is why a visit to Atlantis’ Aquaventure water park in Dubai filled me with trepidation.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried.  The array of water slides are monitored by a gaggle of outgoing staff, the variety of pools are filled with water that only envelopped me up to the chest when standing.

The fact that I’m not a strong swimmer didn’t mean I couldn’t thoroughly enjoy myself.  In fact, quite the contrary. I had a fabulous time.

Liebling and I floated lazily on the tubes on the river that surrounded the complex, and threw ourselves down slides that at once exhilarated and terrified me.  I screamed as I hurtled down the tubes ( dubbed water coasters) with the reckless abandon of my 9-year old self, previous water park trauma completely forgotten and utterly vanquished.  Yes!

I even went down the mother of all water coasters, the appropriately named Leap of Faith. Nearly 30 meters tall and just over 60 meters long, this gargantuan slide deposits you into a tank filled with exotic and fear-inducing sharks (which you are of course protected from thanks to a very thick pane of glass). I took the leap of faith, but not before much nervous titter and hand-wringing beforehand. However, like a big girl, I rose to the challenge and took the plunge… and bellowed in sheer terror all the way down.

After we had sufficiently exerted ourselves on the slides, it was time to hit the gorgeous man-made beach.

Was this really the desert?  I felt like I was in the tropics. Love!

Then is was off to another Atlantis property, The Lost Chambers Aquarium.

We ooh-ed and aah-ed at the marine life for a good hour and a half…

… and we even found Nemo!

You could even get inside the tanks and swim with the marine life- providing you were a certified diver and willing to pony up some extra cash for the experience.  Très cool.

All in all, despite my initial reservations, this was a great way to spend an afternoon. My only complaint was the weather- don’t let the pictures fool you, it was unseasonably cold for Dubai! The water in the pools at Aquaventure was unheated, which made for a bit of a shock upon first dip. That being said, I imagine that 350 days of the year, this is not an issue- this is the desert after all!

Have you ever been to a water park?  Would you go?

Disclaimer: I visited Aquaventure and the Lost Chambers as a guest of Atlantis the Palm, but the opinions are my own!

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  • Reply
    Aisha G of HartlynKids
    March 29, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I love water parks!! It's my most favorite thing to do. Great post – it really makes me want to experience Atlantis in Dubai. I've been to the one in Bahamas many times but Dubai *gasp*

  • Reply
    March 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I, too, almost drowned as a child and thus stay away from water now as well! I keep saying that I will take lessons to get over the fear, especially after seeing the beauty and fun such parks like this offer! PS: Amazing pics as always! 🙂

  • Reply
    Britni of Trippin on the Weekend
    March 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Ok, you just made me want to go on a beach vacation!

    *I need to make some extra money so I can take the kid someplace like this.

  • Reply
    March 30, 2012 at 12:41 am

    This makes me want to go to Dubai ASAP!

  • Reply
    Emily in Chile
    March 30, 2012 at 1:37 am

    That water park looks SO fun! I've been to one in CA, but it's nowhere near as big. I need the Leap of Faith in my life!

  • Reply
    March 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I used to go to soo many waterparks when I was a kid! It's been ages since I last went; it would be nice to go and walk down memory lane!

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