Dubai- A Family Playground

We got in the tank with live sharks
I've been to Dubai several times, and each visit we focus on some new aspect of it.  There are so many choices that you could probably try a new place every day of the year. This time, we went because the Atlantis Hotel was running a special that made the rooms affordable for a long stay, and the cost included 2 meals a day (called half board). I learned once we got there, Virgin Atlantic Airlines has a special agreement with them for an even lower price with inclusive meals if you fly with them from London. If you have that option, check it out.

It was my son's spring break, which meant others were also enjoying their spring breaks, and it was operating at capacity. I normally don't like that kind of environment, but we managed to find ways around the crowds. We ate meals at the smaller restaurants instead of buffets, went to the waterpark near closing time, and got a rental car to do things outside the resort. There was a magazine type guidebook in the room that was a good read for finding the lesser known places in the hotel complex. You can also stumble into good deals, or just ask the concierge for advice.  Everyone was very helpful.

Most people we met were coming to the Atlantis just to enjoy the Atlantis.  It's kind of a long drive from the city center and the airport because you have to go to the far end of the palm island, so that makes sense.  The Aquaventure waterpark (ranked one of the best in the world), 2 swimming pools, and aquarium are included with your stay. We loved the aquarium, but went at the last hour before closing and laid on floor pillows in front of the huge tanks. What a wonderful end to the day. I took the once a week yoga session at the aquarium, which can be booked once you get there. Talk about a wonderful relaxing way to start the day. It was a favorite experience. We also tried the shark experience, ate afternoon tea in the restaurant with a fish tank, and played in the game room.

One evening we walked along the boardwalk that fronts the hotel and watched the sunset. That's a great people watching place.  You can rent a bike and hit up all the food trucks if you're hungry. They really have thought of everything.

Dubai has several new theme parks since we were there last time, so on a rainy day we tried IMG Worlds of Adventure, which is indoors. My son likes Lazytown, so he enjoyed the live show. He also enjoyed seeing his parents absolutely scared out of their minds riding the superfast roller coaster. There are plenty of food stops, live shows, and rides.  It was not busy at all on a weekday. We booked a night time show at Bollywood, and loved it.  They allow you to enter an hour before the show at no additional cost, so we managed a few rides too. With so many theme parks in the area, you could probably spend an entire week just visiting them.  Even in the summer, they are open late and have lots of indoor spaces, so don't let heat keep you away.

If you're a theater person and enjoy live shows, you can book tickets in the heart of the souk at Madinat Jumeirah. They had a kids' play so we spent a couple hours there for a matinee performance and enjoyed both the play and walking through the aisles of beautiful goods. Plenty of food options there too.

We still have quite a few things left to try- ice skating, skiing, more theme parks...looking forward to our next visit! If you want to read about previous visits, here are links to the desert safari and Dubai during Ramadan. 


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