I used to love going to water parks when I was a kid. As you might expect, the 12-year-old version of me loved all the high-speed water slides. What I never told anybody else in my family, though, is that my favorite water park ride was the least popular one. In the park we frequented, it was called the Lazy Lagoon, and it was essentially a long, winding river that circled the water park. People could lounge in water tubes and just casually drift along the river.
Why did I like it so much? It’s hard to say. Maybe it was because it was the only ride that didn’t have a long wait, or maybe I liked it so much because it didn’t last a mere 15 seconds, like so many other rides. To be honest, though, I think a lot of the appeal was just that it was so relaxing.
So, as a lifelong fan of the Lazy Lagoon ride and all of its counterparts at other water parks, I would have to say that the Atlantis hotel at Dubai has taken the ride to a whole new level. The ride follows the same basic premise. You hop in a tube and float around the river while you chat with your buddies and kick water at each other. What the Atlantis water park added was a world-class aquarium that you get to ride through.
It’s an ingenious twist, really. There’s something inherently calming about watching fish swim around in an aquarium. Even when you’re watching dangerous fish like sharks or jellyfish, there’s just something peaceful about the whole scene. Add that feeling to tubing and you’ve got a ride built for success. As you’re chilling on your tube, you get to enjoy the sights of some of the world’s most beautiful tropical fish.
And the best part? The tube ride goes through the shark aquarium, lending to the illusion that you are swimming with these sharp-fanged carnivores. It creates a sort of odd tension. You’re relaxing on your comfy tube, enjoying the cool feel of the water on your feet; at the exact same time, the primordial parts of your brain are reminding you that these sharks are here to eat you. It’s equal parts fun, calming, and exhilirating.