SeaWorld Abu Dhabi opens: 10 mind-blowing things you need to know about UAE's new theme park

Khaleej Times gives you the details on key features, immersive experiences and tickets

by

Ashwani Kumar

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Photos: Ashwani Kumar
Photos: Ashwani Kumar

Published: Mon 22 May 2023, 8:25 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 May 2023, 10:37 AM

Finally, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi opens to the general public from Tuesday. The next generation marine life theme park, the region's largest, is the latest addition to the exquisite mega attractions on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island – a vibrant global tourist destination.

Thomas James Kaferle, general manager, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times about the key elements and immersive experiences for visitors to enjoy, and details about tickets.


Uniquely themed 8 realms

A visitor looks inside the worlds largest aquarium at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi
A visitor looks inside the worlds largest aquarium at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi

The park spread on 183,000sqm of area is split into eight zones featuring more than 100,000 marine animals. Starting with Abu Dhabi Ocean to Once Ocean – the hub and spoke model of the park that transports visitors to the other realms: MicroOcean, Endless Ocean, Tropical Ocean, Rocky Point, Polar Ocean with Arctic and Antarctica (the latter is yet to open).


Overall, there are more than 15 interactive experiences and rides, 100 animal experiences and presentations, including over 10 up-close animal encounters, 20 live characters and performances. Also, there are 18 dining experiences – both above and below the water, and 13 shopping experiences.

“We tried to be very true to the regions… the areas. Like in the Abu Dhabi realm area, we’ve got fish that are native to the Gulf. We’ve got sea turtles, dugong and sea snakes. So, everything is very themed. You get immersed into the lands and in the realms. We’re really excited for our guests to come in and see it,” Kaferle said.

World’s largest aquarium

Photos: Ashwani Kumar
Photos: Ashwani Kumar

Inside the Endless Ocean realm is the world’s largest and most expansive multi-species marine life aquarium with more than 68,000 animals in 25 million litres of water. It is home to a variety of marine animals, including sharks, rays, large and small schools of various fish, mantis shrimps, octopus, cuttlefish, reef squids, crabs, lobsters, eels, and many more. After spending time at the circular observation deck, don’t forget to check out the swirl, ocean walk through acrylic tunnel, endless vista with a tall vertical window offering a breathtaking view of 20m depth of the habitat.

“We’ve got the largest mixed species habitat of an aquarium in the world. It’s incredible,” Kaferle noted.

Dolphin, sea lions show

The Tropical Ocean will present the spectacular dolphin show in a 2,000 capacity Tropical Amphitheater. The realm also has ‘Flamingo Point’, tropical birds and some 24 dolphins in one of the only zones with natural light at the park.

“The front pool is for the dolphin presentation. It is 11 meters deep. It goes all the way down to the ground level. We are on the third level. So, it's pretty incredible. There is a bird aviary with 300 different types of birds,” Kaferle said.

Meanwhile, at Rocky Point, is a show with two California sea lions, which will see the playful and friendly animals put on an amazing performance that will engage people of all ages. These shows also have engaging interactive sessions where the staff create awareness with the guests on environmental conservation and sustainable practices.

Animal Care Centre

One Ocean is home to the Animal Care Center, which according to Kaferle is the “heartbeat” of the park. Guests can peek into the back-of-house areas and experience up-close encounters with animal ambassadors. They can watch animal care experts carry out routine health checks and provide medical treatments when necessary.

“Our guests can actually view everything that’s going on within our care centre. So, if we do treatment of animals, they can look through the glass and be able to see and interact with live educators. They can actually talk to our vet team, technicians etc,” Kaferle said.

Adrenaline rushing ride

Stationed in the Tropical Ocean, the Manta Coaster is one of the most thrilling experiences at the park. Guests will swoop and soar through the ocean and explore coral reefs and shipwrecks with a Manta Squadron.

The ride features the world’s first zero-gravity flip-out, the world’s first twisting double-down dive and features 17 airtime moments which is the most in the region.

One Epic Ocean story

A towering globe at One Ocean realm will catch your attention, but then don’t forget to catch the One Epic Ocean story that takes guests on a journey through the earth's most fascinating ocean environments, while celebrating the connection between life on earth and the ocean.

The story is shown on 360-degree format screens measuring 218m around and 15 meters in height, including spatial audio and a fleet of choreographed drones surrounding the realm with high-resolution footage.

Solar panels on rooftop

In line with Abu Dhabi’s sustainability strategy, the entire park’s rooftop will have solar photovoltaic systems, including the parking area. “We will have solar panels on the roof. We’ll have them in our carpark as well. So we’ll have solar kind of throughout… the entire roof area all the way across should have solar panels,” Kaferle underlined and noted that the park has adopted several eco-friendly and innovative solutions across the park.

Water conservation

The water used in the habitat is coming from Abu Dhabi waters. It gets treated prior to being used at the park. “We bring it into the building from the sea. And then it’s treated. And then it goes into our habitats for the animals. And when we’re replacing it, after going through our daily use, we replenish it and it goes out through the other side of the building, and then it goes back out to the sea. It’s all Abu Dhabi water coming from the sea and going back into it,” Kaferle noted.

1,000-strong family

The park’s functioning is realised to perfection through coordination and round-the-clock hard work of around 1,000 staff, including Emiratis, who all will be at assistance of guests all throughout the park.

“We have 1,000 direct staff that work with us, that helped us put this. We have about 350 animal care specialists, an education team, and a dive team. It takes a lot of people to put this together. We also have several Emiratis. Some are educators, operations staff, guest services team etc. They’re kind of spread throughout the park,” said Kaferle, who joined the park in 2017.

How do you get it?

Well, this is the most important aspect of this park: the tickets, which can be purchased online, are priced at Dh375 for adults and Dh290 for children, with those below the age of three entering free of charge. To experience more than one of Yas Island’s theme parks, guests can buy tickets for multiple park access both online and at the entrance, with a 2-park access priced at Dh475, 3-park access at Dh575 and 4-park access at Dh675 – all multi-park passes are valid for 14 days. And there are the Yas Annual Pass offerings. To purchase tickets, visit www.seaworldabudhabi.com. For Yas Annual Pass visit https://www.yasisland.com/en/yas-annual-pass. Park timings: 10am to 6pm daily, with extended hours on weekends and holidays.

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