| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Sports and Outdoor

Aquaventure for kids

Atlantis, The Palm team on the family-friendly aspects of their waterpark

2013_posidon
© ITP Images

It may be one of the coolest parks on earth but an interview with Vice President of Aquaventure, Scott Deisley, isn’t much fun for a six year old – sorry Scott. So in the interest of all the little nippers in Dubai, Kelly Crane took one for the team and got the latest dirt from giant water-play heaven.

“Feedback from our younger guests was unanimous,” says Deisley who admits he’s intimated by four year olds. “Kids wanted rides they could go on with their big brother, sister or parents. Family rides were requested and we responded.”

Celebrating five successful years Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis, The Palm, has been extended and has quite literally blown the competition out of the water.

The Ziggurat, Aquaventure’s impressive centrepiece, home of the famous Leap of Faith, Shark Attack, Stinger, The Falls, Shamal and the Surge, is now over-looked by a big brother. The Tower of Poseidon soars 40 metres above sea level and is jam packed with heart-pumping, revolutionary new rides which have slowly been emerging over the summer.

World firsts - the world’s largest diameter slide, the first vertical-banking family ride with a double hump at the end, and first double slide within a slide experience – as well as plenty more for those searching for shared family thrills have been born.

Aquaventure is also the only waterpark in the region where kids can enjoy animal encounters including Cownose Ray Feeding, Shark Scuba Diving or Shark Safari in a shark-infested lagoon, something Heidi Perez Cao, Vice President of Dolphin Bay says benefit children beyond words.

“Children are innately bonded with the animal kingdom,” says Perez. “Children care deeply for the welfare of the planet and all of its creatures.”

For those feeling brave why not try the longest zipline circuit in The Middle East - the world’s first-known to be integrated into a waterpark tower. Dare you.

The good bits Scott said…
Q. What is new at Aquaventure for younger guests?

We have just opened the new Tower of Poseidon, offering two new six-person rafting adventures, which are great for kids over the height of 1.2 metres to ride with their parents.

Q. How can the new rides help build confidence in the water?
A. The new rides allow children to ride something a little more daring, while still under the supervision of their parents. It allows them to get over fears and build confidence, with a little bit of encouragement especially when riding with older children who they look up to.

Q. What advice would you have for a younger guest who is a little afraid of the new rides?
A. All of the rides are very safe and are designed for FUN. Take the plunge and have a great time, I think most kids are braver than parents anyway.

Q. Have the new rides made Aquaventure more accommodating for the whole family?
A. That’s right. The group rides add a fun new element for families to experience some thrills in the water together.

The good bits Heidi said…
Q. Does the interaction between child and animal educate and build confidence?

A. When children are able to fully immerse themselves in the magnificent world of dolphins the intensity of the interactive experience inspires them to want to learn as much as they can. This connection between child and dolphin is empowering and results in the younger generation being imbued with the responsibility of looking after the earth and the marine ecosystem. The unconditional love and trust the trainers have with their dolphins translates directly over to the children in the interactive experience which naturally builds confidence.

Q. Can you tell us any stories of the child/animal interaction?
A.
Over the years we have hosted many children who have been terminally ill, living with autism or have severe brain damage. Each child has responded positively through a smile, giggle or even as subtle as a relaxed body position. We recently had a little girl who was left severely brain damaged after a difficult birth. She relaxed the moment she lay in the water next to Black the dolphin and as she touched him she erupted into giggles, something her mother and father say seldom happens. The dolphin experience gave their daughter laughter, which allowed them to experience her joy.

Q. How do children benefit?
A.
It is heartwarming as a trainer to see the child responding to their interaction and the joy of their parents and teachers.
Day passes for visitors are priced Dh225 for adults and Dh180 for guests under 1.2m. Resort guests have unlimited complimentary access to Aquaventure Waterpark and The Lost Chambers Aquarium.
www.atlantisthepalm.com.

Aquaventure in numbers
30:
height in metres of the Ziggararat

7: rides from the Ziggarat

27.5: height in metres of The Leap of Faith

13: height in metres Shark Attack begins

17: size of the park in hectares

1,200: litres of water released by a giant bucket at Splashers play area

700: length in metres of the Wave River

94,000: litres per minute used to generate The Torrent tidal wave

By Time Out Dubai Kids staff
Time Out Dubai,

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