When it comes to traveling, whether we are half an hour from home or thousands of miles away, I can guarantee one thing.
If there is a zoo or an aquarium or pretty much any place we can visit that has animals, we will be there.
Because my kids? Are crazy for animals. Nick actually just started volunteering with a local animal rescue group and will be also shadowing a vet soon. Stoked for him, but I need to contend with a five-year-old who doesn’t understand why she can’t do the same. Yet.
So anyway. When one of our stops during Spring Break landed us in Nassau, Bahamas, I knew exactly what we would do with our afternoon there. Visit the aquarium at the Atlantis Resort. Because as much as I’ve heard stories of how beautiful the resort is, and how expensive that bridge suite is, I’ve also heard wonderful things about their aquarium.
And you know, my kids.
It was a given.
We bought our tickets as an excursion, which meant it included a one hour guided tour of the aquarium and then we were free to roam about on our own afterwards. If *you* happen to go, the one hour guided tour felt really rushed. Because the property is huge, the aquarium is all over and not just one contained area, and there was a LOT to cram into that one hour.
The property is gorgeous. And spotless. It reminds me a bit of Disneyworld in that there are thousands upon thousands of people there and yet you don’t see a speck of garbage anywhere. And you don’t see people cleaning really either. So I don’t know how they do it, but they do an awesome job of it.
Our tour guide was very well-versed in all the different species of fish she introduced us to, and there were quite a few that we haven’t see at other aquariums before (hello Caribbean!). A huge clownfish that changes sex from male to female (which is behind Nick in that picture above). A unusual but gorgeous jellyfish that I forgot the name of, but what I *do* remember is that it can squeeze you to death (pictured below). And the creepiest looking eel that I have ever seen. They didn’t move. Like ever (also pictured below). The biggest manta rays we’ve seen anywhere. And conch! We had the opportunity to touch one as it oozed out of its shell. I touched it (YOLO!), but the kids opted out. Little chickens.
Of course at the conclusion of our tour, we conveniently ended up in the gift shop. Surprisingly, it was quite reasonably priced. Nick ended up with a snow globe (he collects them), they both ended up with rubber bracelets to support some cause, and Madeline went with a t-shirt. After her Mom explained that she had already bought two stuffed animals on vacation, and maybe that was enough?
In a completely separate area of the resort, there is Dolphin Cay, which allows interaction with dolphins. If you know Madeline in real life (and even perhaps just from here), you know how obsessed she is with dolphins. Although the excursion to interact with them was sold out when I finally decided to go ahead with it, we managed to, um, find a way to sneak into that area. It’s the closest she has ever been to dolphins, and she was transfixed. I’m hoping, with fingers tightly crossed, that we have a dolphin interaction on tap for next month. But shhh…
If you happen to find yourself in Nassau, I think the aquarium is definitely worth seeing. It’s expansive, you’ll see fish you won’t see stateside, and it’s positively gorgeous. And if you’re not staying at the resort or there on an excursion, go after 6 pm, and it’s f-r-e-e.
Hungry for more aquariums?
You can check out our review on Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey right here, the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut right here, and Jenkinson’s Aquarium here (just an fyi, Jenkinson’s was closed for quite some time during Hurricane Sandy, along with that whole area, so visiting them this summer would be a great way to support them).