Sunday, April 28, 2013

Manta Ray at the Atlantis Resort

 
While on a recent cruise on the Disney Dream we had the opportunity to explore the incredible Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The Dig is a series of aquariums located beneath the main lobby and spread throughout the resort. Unlike other aquarium attractions, there is no central building with a roof. Most of the fish tanks are open air and sit directly under the brilliant Bahamian sun. The Dig is also highly themed to the ruins of the Lost City of Atlantis. Notable species found here include angel fish, eels, sea turtles, jellyfish, and hammerhead sharks.

 
 


One of the larger exhibits, dubbed “The Predator Lagoon,” features a 100 foot long clear acrylic underwater tunnel passing through a tank of sawfishes, sharks, stingrays, and barracudas. It’s very similar to the one found at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. The entrance is in the middle of this giant sea star themed building that also houses a restaurant.


Of course, the marquee animal currently on display is the magnificent Manta Ray. Atlantis is one of only four aquariums in the world to house manta rays. Our tour guide said this ray is just a baby which was quite surprising to hear because its wingspan was over ten feet across! The pictures do not do it justice - this guy was huge! Mantas use the fins on the side of their heads to help channel food into their mouths.
 
 


Unfortunately, we did not get to see the dolphin and sea lion area, which is on the opposite side of the resort. The dolphins are also kept in an open air exhibit and for an exuberant fee you can swim and interact with them. Our tour was only $30 a person and included transportation from the port to the resort and back. I was under the impression the resort is broken up into different areas requiring different tickets to get into but we were pretty much free to walk around wherever we liked, including the breathtaking beach with its amazing, crystal clear water.

 

Check out my video montage of the Atlantis resort and the manta ray below!