Children can get grumpy when you end up getting so engrossed in shopping that you almost end up being in-attendant towards them. The same happened with my seven-year-old son when my husband and I got busy shopping in the Downtown Mall, and my child got all cranky. To console and impart some knowledge to him, I decided to take him on a stroll in the famous Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
The Aquarium opens from 10 am – 10 pm seven days a week. We booked two tickets which were available at walk-ins, priced at 50 dirhams per head and took entry in the Dubai Aquarium at 12:30 pm. The Aquarium is on the ground floor of the Downtown Mall. It is one of the largest suspended Aquarium in the world, a forty-eight-meter long tunnel providing a 270° view of the acrylic panel. It holds up to ten million water liter in the tank with over fourteen hundred species of aquatic animals.
We walked through 11 meters below the surface of the tunnel to find over three hundred sharks of different varieties and rays with the sand tiger shark being the main highlight. The captivating attractions there was the varied class of sharks such as Black Tip Shark, Grey Reef Sharks, Coral Cat Shark, Leopard Sharks, Reef Sharks, Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, Silvertip Sharks, Spotted Bamboo Shark, White Tip Shark, Wobbegong Shark, and Zebra Horned Shark. There were several kinds of rays such as Stingrays, Shovel Nose Ray, Fantail Rays and Cownose Rays. Other aquatic animals we witnessed were Batfish, Clownfish, Giant catfish, Guitarfish and few other small fishes which the big fishes would often devour. We were lucky enough to get a chance to see the divers feed the shark and other fishes as feeding the animals take place around 1 pm. Our Aquarium educator guided us throughout the journey and revealed many interesting pieces of information about the fishes and their behavior. It was my second visit to the place, but I relived my first-time experience through my son’s glittering eyes who was enthralled by the entire experience.
We then accessed the underwater zoo on the second floor of the mall above the aquarium tank. There three ecological zones have been created which are rainforest, rocky shore and living ocean which gives us more information about the varied and amazing creatures that inhabit our oceans. The 40 different aquatic displays different animals from different ocean environments. These displays include animals such as Crocodiles, Dart Frogs, Giant Catfish, Giant Spider Crabs, Harbour Seals, Humboldt Penguins, Leaf Fish, Leafy Sea Dragons, Moray Eels, Nutria Water Rats, Otters, Piranha, Seals, Sea Jellies and Gentoo penguins and even more which we probably cannot see at the same place and time anywhere else . The aquarium educator was patient and helpful enough to take us from display to display and inform us about every creature there. Being a first time visitor to the underwater zoo, it was a startling experience for me among the sea creatures. One truly feels to be under the depths of the sea amidst such alluring and manifold creation of the Creator.
Visit this beautiful abode of marine creatures is a must for all tourists and visitors to the Downtown Mall. Drop in for about an hour or so while visiting the mall or otherwise and I can guarantee you that you shall lose track of time and space for the next few hours in the charm of the beautiful blue area. The Aquarium and the zoo are very well maintained, and the animals are very well taken care of. Not only is it great for children to learn and get enchanted but also for adventure seeking individuals as the place offers other programmes such as Shark diving, Speciality diving which includes identification of classes of sharks and underwater photography. Other adventures include cage snorkeling experience, glass bottom boat ride and also safari through the tunnel like through a rainforest with headlights and a safari guide. Who could expect to encounter such an exhilarating experience in a busy shopping mall? Whether one opts for the diving experience or not, every visitor, including me have felt like a diver diving through the depths of a mighty ocean. After the end of the cruise, we went for lunch at a rainforest themed café. Moreover, my son with all enthusiasm got into the role of the aquarium guide and started explaining to his father. The experience at the Aquarium is something I would keep forever with me.