Take a walk on the wet, wild and totally wonderful side…

So the weekend was finally here and it was time for our regular monthly family outing. Laila and Gemma had been talking about nothing else all week and they needed no coaxing out of their beds on Friday morning as they couldn’t wait for what we had planned… a day at Dubai Dolphinarium.

Walking through the cast iron gates just after midday, the first thing that struck us was the sheer beauty of the location. Creek Park is quite simply stunning: the lush green open spaces, multitude of trees and meandering paths immediately transport you to a different place and the promenade walk along the side of the creek itself basks in the reflected glory of a stunning Dubai cityscape skyline.

The girls could barely contain themselves as they ran giggling, barefoot over the grass. Making our way to the single-story complex that houses the Dolphinarium, we passed ponies and camels enjoying a quiet drink in the dappled shade of the trees.

Entering the cool, refreshing interior of the Dolphinarium, the smiling, friendly staff inform us that the main dolphin show – the “Legend of the Mermaid” – starts at 3pm. Dragging Gemma away from underneath one of the impressive hand-painted murals on the walls, we decided to check out the Dolphinarium’s newest attraction – an exotic bird show.

A custom-built grandstand has been erected just outside the main building for the first show of its kind in the UAE. Surrounded by other families, we arrive just in time to see the presenters take centre stage. One-by-one they knowledgably introduce us to Dubai’s fascinating new feathered friends – Macaws, Cockatoos and Parrots of all colours, shapes and sizes enthral us with their antics as they fly and flap around, talking to the audience and even solving mathematical problems. A very impressive start to the day!

Back inside the Dolphinarium, my wife is intrigued by the Mirror Maze – another first in the UAE. However, as the main event was about to start, we decided to leave this for another day.

Taking our seats in the packed stadium around the dolphin pool, excited children’s faces are everywhere. The giggles and chatter soon become silent though as darkness fills the room – the show is about to start.

The story itself is classic fairytale stuff – with a twist of course. A boy dreams of a mermaid, the mermaid falls in love with the boy, she sacrifices her fishy tail for legs so she can be with the boy, they face a series of fantastical tests but eventually live happily ever after.

Obviously the story is really for the kids but it is well done. The mermaid is amazingly lithe as she performs her acrobatic routine – gliding, twisting and spinning in the air – and some of the illusionist’s tricks are quite spectacular, especially the swords in the box routine.

But the real stars of the show of course are the dolphins. These amazing animals are just awe-inspiring. We watched open-mouthed as they performed dynamic somersaults, synchronized high jumps and other spectacular tricks. Balancing balls on their noses, spinning hoops, interacting with the crowd, singing, dancing and even painting, these empathetic animals are incredibly intelligent.

Before we knew it the show was coming to end. As the crowds slowly filed out, we took our place in the line to meet the dolphins one-on-one. When it was the girls’ turn, they were carefully led by one of the trainers to the edge of the pool where one of the beautiful dolphins gently slid out of the water to come to rest inches from Laila’s hand. The expression of joy on the girl’s faces as they stroked the animal’s head was priceless and unforgettable – and just to make sure, the moment was caught by the Dolphinarium’s still photographer!

On the way out, we collected the photograph of the girls with the dolphins from the gift shop. They really have thought of everything here. It makes the perfect memento for the perfect end to a perfect day – we’ll definitely be back!

For more details, visit Dubai Dolphinarium website.


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