In the city: When summer got cool

THE LOCAL SUMMER heat is, at times, unbearably tiresome and hindering.

By Mohamad Kadry

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Published: Sat 25 Jul 2009, 8:27 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:33 PM

The sun has a way of completely draining your energy here, to the point where many of us become reclusive night owls, shunning all sweltering rays during peak summer temperatures. And when the ocean begins to feel like a lukewarm pot of stagnant water, it’s time to look towards Atlantis at The Palm for a soaking solution. What does the most coveted and palatial water park in Dubai do when the summer heat threatens to scare off the hordes of guests all queuing for entry to Aquaventure? They open until midnight and dub the event a carnival-like party. Something told me I was in for something completely different when I stepped into the antique-like ruins of the world’s most famous lost civilisation.

I am, by most expert’s standards, an amusement park-oholic. So deep is my infatuation with theme parks that one of my earliest childhood memories consisted of a family outing to Boblo Island, a parcel of land dotting the Detroit River about 2-hours outside the Motor City. I remember riding the ferry to the Boblo harbour, and spending the entire day queuing for every water attraction the park had to offer. My parents thought I would tire of these adventures and the phase would pass; but I knew differently. Fast-forward 20 years to my life in Dubai, and I’m nothing more than a water-addict in need of a fix. Enter Aquaventure, and their Cool Summer Nights promotion. What could be better than slipping & sliding in cool waters underneath the moonlight?

Private escape

When I arrived at the entry gate, I began stumbling around with my wrist-pass trying to feverishly pin the buttons together securely. As I lifted my head up, a giant ornately decorated clown on stilts looks down on me waiting for my reaction. Admittedly, his surprised pose threw me off a bit, wristband still loosened, and I then realised that I had just entered the world of Aquaventure, and things tend to get a little more wild when the sun goes down. All around me were energetic dancers, entertainers on unicycles, and terrifying clowns. You should no that I hate clowns, downright terrified of them, but held no offence towards the wonderfully talented men and women behind the make-up and hair, as long as they kept their distance.

But entering the palm-tree lined walkways, a beautifully saturated landscape of bushes, trees, and lush tropical plants overwhelms you into believing that you’ve just landed on some sort of feverishly overpriced private island in the Caribbean.

The theme of Cool Summer Nights is just as it sounds, in the literal sense. Upon hopping into one of the pool areas half-expecting the waters to be warm and uninviting, the invigorating sense of chill came over me, something the summer heat tends to help us forget. All around were families, groups of youth, and tiny tots. One of the local radio stations even broadcasts from the poolside, turning this park outing into a proper evening show.

Leap of Faith

I’ve managed to venture into some of the worlds best water parks, but there is something excitingly invigorating about slipping down a 28-metre slide underneath the night sky. The hotels obstructed location gives way to the moon and stars, and in my research, winning ambience is half the battle. Test your nerves by diving down the parks crown jewel — the intimidating Ziggurat. If open-air speed isn’t your thing, take a dip on The Shark Attack, where you’ll whiz by acrylic tunnels housing stunningly beautiful sharks and other marine life. But in all its audacity, The Rapids are still the classic winner in my book. Grab a two-seater tube and experience speed and darkness with a friend as the 1-mile long current sends you to-and-fro.

Grub attack

During the Cool Summer Night sessions, you’ll be fascinated by the amount of adults in the park. Aquaventure in the evenings offers a break from the mundane nightclub or bar that we’ve all become accustomed to. Along the boardwalk facing the hotel’s private sand beach are a number of food stalls from Thai to Lebanese. Moderately priced and oh-so convenient, the food prepared on these makeshift grills in buffet style has got to be one of the culinary mysteries’s of the city. The food rivals whatever you might find inside the Atlantis hotel itself, and lounging on a beanbag chair sheltered by the cool ocean breeze simply tops this one out as one of the most enjoyable meals you’ll find this summer.

Let’s get this party on

Down on the beach you’ll find a quaint little bar serving shisha and beverages. Get some friends together and lounge on the sand underneath the night sky. With hot music blasting throughout the park, the beach area transforms into a de-facto club escape for young adults. Just before midnight, a fireworks display is put together to top off the night as an official extravaganza. Shooting off from the tip of The Palm, the sky is lit up with brilliant colours accented only by the stars in all their glory.

Overview

I always knew my fascination with watery excitement would never be doused out by adulthood, but Aquaventure seems to have taken it to another level. The brilliant thing about these parks is that they help take you back in time to a simpler place, one where fun and excitement was all that mattered in the world. While most of us brush around this city burdened by responsibilities and stress, it’s really refreshing — even if just for a night — to let go of everything and take a dip in the waters of our youth.

Cool Summer Nights: Every Thursday evening through the summer months from 8pm to midnight.

Special evening price: Dhs175 for adults and Dhs100 for children. Limited tickets available at Virgin Megastores and timeouttickets.com. You may also book at 04-4262200 or visit Aquaventure Ticketing Plaza.

kadry@khaleejtimes.com



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