The ticket I bought to go up the Burj Khalifa also gave me entry into the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Located in Dubai Mall, it was a great addition to my day whilst I waited for the evening Fountain show. Having never visited an aquarium before I had no idea what to expect. Seeing the aquarium from the shopping mall side was something I have never experienced. This made going to the mall a fun experience, as personally I’m not one for shopping and end up bored.
I began by walking along the outside of the giant tank, which I found very impressive and interesting. It was feeding time for the vast array of aquatic life in the tanks so they had all came to life. But, the best was yet to come … I was able to go through a 48 metre long aquarium tunnel! It was scary at first with the aquarium enveloping me from above, but it was the best way to see the 33,000 aquatic animals in the 10 million litre tank. There is no better first meeting with a shark, than it swimming right over your head. I like how all of the animals in the tank get along and have lots of space for swimming, everyone from the sand tiger sharks, rays down to the small colourful reef fish have their very own spacious eco-system.
It took quite a while to walk through the tunnel, mainly because I kept stopping to watch the fishies. When I made it out the other end, it was time to go to Level 2, to visit the underwater zoo. There are many tickets each with different exciting activities, such as meeting otters and getting up close with sharks, but due to time restrictions I had opted just to visit the aquarium and zoo.
The underwater zoo comprises of three different ecosystems; rain forest, rocky shore and living ocean, which is filled with 40 different display tanks. I had seen some animals before, like penguins and otters but most of them were animals I hadn’t heard of. Most of all I was excited about visiting the crocodiles since they’re often relatives of mine!
The tanks were filled with a vast array of brightly coloured fishies, otters and turtles, but by far my favourite animal was the spotty sting ray. He was beautiful to look at and even smiled for the camera!
I was able to walk over the top of the aquarium tunnel to see the sharks from a different angle, it was very scary. I thought I might end up in the water … or even a sharks lunch. But, turns out there was glass between me and the sharks (panic over, phew).
I loved the living ocean area, as it allowed me to get up close and personal with star fish, an octopus, sea dragons and jelly fish. I say up close, I kept far enough away so the animals wouldn’t get frightened. I could have watched the jellyfish for hours, they’re just so graceful and calming. The calm feeling didn’t last for long because a giant crab chased me along the side of his enclosure!
Finally it was onto the enclosure where King Croc and his wife live. He is a majestic 40 year old, 5 metre long crocodile, who isn’t actually fully grown yet. He will continue to grow over the next 50 years. He was originally a naughty teenager in Australia but now happily lives in a huge enclosure with his 80 year old wife. He was resting peacefully when I saw him, I think he had just eaten. Nothing prepares you for the sheer size and power of King Croc. This is best observed where you (brave humans and dinosaurs) can stand on a glass floor and look down at him.
The Underwater Zoo is over two floors, the top floor is a dark enclosure for the UAE’s nocturnal creatures and a really scary rickety bridge. It was really interesting to see animals found in the Arabian desert including Giant Camel Spiders, Arabian Toads, Fruit Bats, Veiled chameleons and owls.
I had a very strange experience with an owl, who apparently thought I was to be lunch! He kept lifting his wings to make himself scary and shrieking at me whilst his owl friends watched. Maybe I looked like a predator, or just really tasty, I will never know. Luckily, no dinosaurs nor owls were hurt during this experience, there was a nice glass panel and safety nets in between us (and plenty of laughing humans).
Here at Team Veganosaurus, we would like to commend the staff at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo for the fabulous work they do to keep the animals safe, healthy and happy. We loved our time visiting and found it lovely to see all of these animals have lots of space and great enclosures to move around in. It’s definitely something fun and educational to do whilst in Dubai.
As you will already know, the Dubai Mall is the largest in the world. But, it is nothing to fear, well laid out and really accessible you can get around all of the main sights in a day. Post Aquarium I needed a coffee to calm my nerves, so I headed over to Le Pain Quotidien a favourite of my photographers. It’s situated in a great place for a moment of calm away from the crowds.
One thing I didn’t want to miss whilst in the Dubai Mall was the Waterfall, which is a lot bigger than I imagined and surprisingly not at all crowded.
I got lost (several times) and ended up in the Souk area. It’s filled with gold, oud and many other shops. Best of all … it has a DINOSAUR IN THE MIDDLE! Strangely none of the humans walking by were taking much notice, but for me it was so exciting. It’s a great place to visit if you are wanting to see a souk but are scared about the crowds (like I was).
I had great fun in Dubai Mall, it was a busy day but I was able to see so much. It’s a place where you can go and find something new each visit. I also visited the Burj Khalifa on the same day, which in hindsight should have been spread out, though I was only in Dubai for a 5 day layover. It was a long day but leaving the Mall so late allowed me to watch the glittering city lights on the drive back to my hotel.
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