Dubai is all about unique experiences that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. Right from visiting the tallest building in the world (the Burj Khalifa) to having a fun time at the largest indoor theme park in the world (IMG Worlds of Adventure), you will find myriads of such attractions with a Dubai visa. One such attraction in Dubai is the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. The most unique thing about this attraction is that it is located inside a shopping mall. Yes, you heard it right! Located on the ground and second levels of the Dubai Mall, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city that is loved by people of all ages. It is also tagged as one of the best things to do in Dubai with family. Moreover, it is also the member of the World Association of Zoo and Aquariums owing to its participation and contribution towards environmental research, environmental education, and wildlife conservation. Here is everything you need to know about the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
Dubai Aquarium – An Introduction
The Dubai Aquarium tank, located on the ground level of the Dubai Mall, measures 11 meters in height, 51 meters in length, and 20 meters in width, making it the world’s largest suspended aquarium. This aquarium tank contains 10 million liters of water and more than 30,000 aquatic animals, which includes over 140 species of marine animals. The aquarium is populated with different types of fishes, including more than 300 sharks, manta rays, and sting rays. One of the highlights of the aquarium is that it is home to the world’s largest collection of sand tiger sharks. The aquarium is in the form of a tunnel, and you will get a 270o view of the marine animals swimming all around you.
Underwater Zoo – An Introduction
Just above the Dubai Aquarium is the Underwater Zoo, where you will get to meet some interesting underwater animals. The zoo is divided into 3 ecological zones, namely Rainforest, Rocky Shore, and Living Ocean, depending on the different species of animals living here. The underwater zoo follows a lunar-cyclic lighting system to imitate the natural environment of the animals. The different animals you will find at the Underwater Zoo include otters, giant spider crabs, Humboldt penguins, African Dwarf crocodiles, seahorses, water rats, garden eels, nautilus, archerfish, etc.
Dubai’s Wild Wadi Waterpark and other water parks offer plenty of room to swim, splash and dip, while Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo gives you the chance to swim underwater up-close with diverse marine life. Apart from strolling along the aquarium tunnel and watching the underwater animals, there are plenty of special experiences you can enjoy at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Some of these experiences give you the chance to see the inhabitants of the aquarium and zoo at close quarters.
Shark Feeding Encounter:
Experience ‘feeding frenzy” as you watch couple of sharks coming together to enjoy their meal. The shark feeding encounter is an underwater experience, where you get to watch shark feeding at close quarters, while waiting safely in the shark feeding arena (cage). After the 30 minutes’ experience, you get to go on a behind-the-scenes tour and also get to know about the shark breeding program of the aquarium.
If you want to explore the underwater world of the aquarium, cage snorkeling would help you to do this safely. Here, you will have to wear all the snorkeling gear and get into a cage, which would be then goes down into the aquarium tank. This will give you the chance to see all the different species of marine animals closely.
Sharks are the star attraction of Dubai Aquarium, and shark diving gives you the opportunity to see them up, close, and personal. You do not need to be certified diver to enjoy this experience. During the duration you are inside the water, you will get to see sand tiger sharks, leopard sharks, stingrays, giant groupers, reef sharks, and tawny nurse sharks.
If you want to learn scuba diving, the Dubai Aquarium is a great place not only to learn but also to get a PADI certification. During the 2-days PADI certification course offered by the Dubai Aquarium, you will learn to scuba dive under the guidance of professional divers. With this certification, you can go scuba diving in the ocean as well.
Although similar to shark diving, shark walker gives you the chance to have a close encounter with sharks but while keeping your hair dry. Before you get into the cage, you will get to wear a customized white helmet, which will prevent your hair from getting wet. This underwater experience lasts for 25 minutes and lets you see the different shark species of the aquarium.
Glass Bottom Boat Riding:
If you are not into extreme adventures and the above experiences are not your cup of tea, the glass bottom boat ride is perfect for you. Here you go on a boat tour on the surface of the aquarium. As the bottom of the boat is made of glass, you will get to see to fishes swimming right under you.
Meet the King Croc:
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/
One of the most popular experiences offered by the Underwater Zoo is ‘Meet the King Croc’. The King Croc here is more than 40 years old, originally belonging to Australia. Currently, he measures 5 meters in length and weighs 750 kg. He is believed to grow more in weight as he ages.
You get to learn about the habitat and life of Gentoo Penguins during the Penguin Encounter. As you step inside the Penguin facility, you will be transported to their natural habitat, i.e. in the Antarctic Peninsula and Sub Antarctic islands. This temperature-controlled facility mimics the annual light cycle of the Antarctic, ensuring that the penguins live in a place similar to their natural habitat.
Otters are one of the most playful underwater animals, and you get to meet and interact with them here. You will have a great time watching the otters play, run, and paint during this special and fun encounter.
Apart from the underwater world, the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater World offers an exclusive experience where you get to see wildlife from all around the world. The VRZoo experience gives you the opportunity to see a herd of elephants in the Savannah, gorillas in Uganda, whales and sharks in Maldives, etc. The VR experience makes you feel that you are having a real-life experience.
UAE’s Night Creatures:
The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater World is a great place to learn about the native creatures of the desert. Located in a 200 square meters’ space dedicated for the same, the UAE’s Night Creatures lets you see and know about desert beings like fruit bats, camel spiders, veiled chameleons, Arabian toads, etc.
Apart from sightseeing, the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is also a great place to host birthday parties and go for school excursions. It is open from 10 AM to 10 PM during weekdays and 10 AM to midnight during weekends. So if you have a Dubai tourist visa and are gearing up for a holiday in the golden city, do include Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo in your itinerary for an educational and enriching experience.