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Up close with the dolphins

Aftab H. Kola, eTN  Jul 13, 2010

(eTN) You may have watched dolphin shows, but this is different as you hug, kiss, dance, and play with the dolphins. Since the opening of Dolphin Bay at Atlantis, The Palm in 2008, Dubai residents, resort guests, and day visitors alike have been delighted to interact in intimate and personal interactions with the Atlantis Dolphin Encounter (shallow water interaction) and Atlantis Dolphin Adventure (deep water interaction) with the family of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose dolphins that call Atlantis home. As the largest coastal dolphin habitat in the world, Dolphin Bay is a 4.5-hectare environment with seven interconnected resident pools and three interaction lagoons complete with sandy beaches and a tropical setting, offering the perfect location for this once-in–a-lifetime experience.

“Dolphin Bay provides a unique opportunity for guests of all ages to learn more about dolphins and interact with one of the world’s most charismatic animals. The Marine Mammal Specialists at Dolphin Bay are highly experienced, ensuring a memorable experience for all guests, as well as the health and well-being of these extraordinary animals,” said Heidi PerezCao, vice president, Dolphin Bay.

The poignant experience begins with an informative introduction to dolphin behavior, physiology, wellness, and the importance of marine life conservation. Once guests have changed into wet suits, they are guided down to the sandy shores where they are introduced to the marine mammal specialists and to their dolphin and set-off to enjoy the memorable experience. Under the supervision of Marine Mammal Specialists, guests are invited into the lagoon with the dolphin to begin their water journey, sharing in a number of behaviors, which creates a deeper connection between the guest and the animal. The complete experience lasts up to ninety minutes and approximately thirty minutes is committed to being in the water with the dolphins, designed to help people foster a closer affinity for these intriguing animals, providing an experience which is intimate, exciting, and fun.

Atlantis offers two dolphin interaction programs. The Atlantis Dolphin Encounter (shallow water interaction) takes place in waist-deep water and ensures that guests of all ages can relish in this once-in–a-lifetime opportunity. Guests can enjoy a variety of unforgettable experiences from a kiss and a hug, to educational and playful behaviors with a family of dolphins. Each shallow water interaction has a maximum of 10 guests per pod including two marine mammal specialists and one dolphin. There is no minimum age for the shallow water interaction; however, guests younger than 3 years old will need to be accompanied by an adult.

For those who are feeling a little more adventurous, guests can choose to journey into the deep waters of the interaction lagoons with the Dolphin Bay dolphins, the Atlantis Dolphin Adventure (deep water interaction), a new and inimitable experience with these incredible animals. From an intimate kiss and hug to the unforgettable thrill of the signature belly ride – where guests hold onto the pectoral fin of the dolphin and are propelled forward through the water for the ultimate joy ride.

Once the interaction is complete, guests are encouraged to visit The Dolphin Bay Education Centre, which features a video presentation wall, interactive kiosks, games, and an audio corner to hear real dolphin and whale sounds, as well as a Marine Mammal Education Specialist on hand to answer questions about these fascinating animals. The Dolphin Bay Education Centre is complimentary to all guests and visitors to Atlantis. A percentage of the proceeds from dolphin interactions and gift shop purchases benefit the Kerzner Marine Foundation - a private, non-profit foundation that fosters the preservation and enhancement of global marine ecosystems.

For reservations or additional information, please contact the Dolphin Bay reservations team on +971 4 426 1030 or by emailing: .

Up close with the dolphins
Photo from Aftab H. Kola

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