he accredited state-of-the-art Dolphin Bay, introduces three new no-contact experiences: Dolphin Kayak, Dolphin Paddle and Dolphin Sunrise
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The accredited, state-of-the-art Dolphin Bay in Atlantis Aquaventure today introduces three new no-contact programmes to its offering. These experiences invite guests to participate up close in the daily enrichment and training sessions of the pod of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, as well as inspire and educate guests to do more to protect all marine life and our oceans.
Supporting the enrichment programming for the dolphins, the three new no-contact experiences include Dolphin Kayak, Dolphin Paddle and Dolphin Sunrise, as well as an update to the current programmes to include further engagement opportunities whilst maintaining the highest animal welfare standards. Atlantis Aquaventure, home to The Lost Chambers Aquarium, Dolphin Bay and Sea Lion Point, is the first destination in the Middle East to achieve accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the internationally recognised gold standard in animal care and welfare. This was followed by membership from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in 2021, which brings together world-class zoos and aquariums, associations, as well as leading wildlife experts, academies, and universities, to encourage the highest standards for global animal welfare.
The purpose of Dolphin Bay is to educate every single guest on how changing their day-to-day actions can help protect our oceans and the local environment. After actively participating in the enrichment programming for our pod, guests will leave with a better understanding of dolphins and feel inspired to do their part to protect all marine life, such as reducing plastic in their daily life or ensuring the fish they eat are sustainably sourced.
In addition, for every guest who experiences a programme at Dolphin Bay, Atlantis contributes 1 USD into partnerships that drive conservation and sustainability locally and internationally. In 2022, this resulted in a $120,000 (USD) investment fund, which continues to support nine UAE-based projects to help protect the ocean and the environment.
During the new no-contact experiences, guests can learn more about the dolphins’ natural behaviours while participating in the following enrichment programming:
- Dolphin Kayak – The only kayak with dolphins experience in the UAE, guests will enter the water in a double or single kayak and watch as the naturally curious dolphins swim by in the tranquil setting of the lagoon.
- Dolphin Paddle – Guests can relax the mind and body as they paddle around the lagoon alongside the playful resident dolphins. This is the only stand up paddleboard with dolphins activity available in the UAE.
- Dolphin Sunrise – Available to in-house guests only, early risers are invited to walk into the shallow part of the lagoon with a marine mammal specialist and join the dolphins in their daily morning routine.
The following programmes have also been improved, offering guests unforgettable, educational experiences to connect with these magnificent marine animals:
- Dolphin Encounter – In this shallow, waist-deep water experience, guests will join marine mammal specialists to get up close and meet the resident dolphins while learning more about their unique biology and natural behaviours.
- Dolphin Swim – A one-of-a-kind experience with an exciting element of snorkeling in the deeper part of the lagoon, guests can witness first-hand as the dolphins interact and communicate underwater.
- Dolphin Meet & Greet – Guests can meet a dolphin from the edge of the lagoon as they learn about their interesting behaviours and how they can help protect the oceans.
- Dolphin Specialist – A unique behind-the-scenes marine education programme, where children can join our team of specialists and learn how we take care of these animals.
“Dolphin Bay is on a journey to ensure everything we do enriches the lives of our marine animals, supports our ongoing conservation efforts and offers fun, but most importantly, educational experiences for guests. We are so excited to introduce the new experiences which further contribute to guests building a life-long appreciation for marine life and a desire to protect their natural habitats,” said Kelly Timmins, Director of Marine Animal Operations and Sustainability, Atlantis Dubai. “Guests can experience the dolphins’ high energy behaviors, hear their unique vocalizations, and enjoy up-close encounters to connect with these incredible animals in a meaningful and educational way.”
As part of its sustainability and conservation initiatives, Atlantis established a collaborative partnership called the Dubai Dolphin Survey in 2021, which brings together the expertise from Zayed University, the UAE Dolphin Project Initiative and F3 Marine, and has since been gathering scientific baseline information about the local dolphin population off the coast of Dubai. In the first year of the project, the team spent more than 270 hours implementing 60 boat surveys, spanning a distance of 5,444km along the UAE coastline. This resulted in 11,043 images taken – and dolphins spotted 18 times. The Dubai Dolphin Survey is currently underway for 2022-23.