So you’ve booked your holiday to Dubai and now you’re in the rather enviable position of deciding on which waterpark to visit whilst there. The usual main contenders are Aquaventure – an award winning and record breaking waterpark located within the 5-Star Atlantis the Palm resort or Wild Wadi – an Arabian themed waterpark which boosts over 30 rides and attractions and offers views of the iconic Burj Al Arab.
To avoid waterpark FOMO let’s start by taking a look at what they both have in common:
They both cover all the basic waterpark requirements: water – tick, rides – tick, towel & locker rental – tick, sun loungers – tick, food & beverage stalls – tick. Additionally (and for anyone new to a waterpark) they both offer cashless payment wristbands, allowing you to go wallet free by pre-loading money onto your band for use at the various retail outlets throughout the parks.
Health and Safety wise, they are both clean, well kept venues with plenty of fully qualified lifeguards on duty.
Both have a lazy river and free use of the tubes (what I would more likely refer to as rubber rings – please don’t judge me).
For tiny ones, both waterparks feature a pretty great water playground full of little slides, climbing frames, tunnels and water cannons – these really are the ultimate in splash parks.
If guaranteeing a sun lounger for the day is a priority for you, both have private cabanas for hire.
So where do they differ?
Why should you choose Aquaventure over Wild Wadi?
Aquaventure is the thrill seekers water paradise – head straight to the Tower of Poseidon is you want to find out why I’m suggesting this. Their lazy river stretches for more than a mile and propels you through rapids, plus they have slides that send you soaring through shark tanks (I feel the need to state you’re in a tube that goes through a shark tank – you don’t actually end up in a shark tank – that would be insanity). For people looking for a bit more ‘wow’ and adrenaline inducement – I personally feel Atlantis takes the crown.
Watch videos of the Aquaventure waterpark rides here
If you want to take a break from the water rides, Aquaventure has a beach, whilst at Wild Wadi you have access to a beach, but it’s not on site.
There are more additional experience opportunities to take advantage of at Aquaventure, such as dolphin encounters at Dolphin Bay, taking part in a shark safari, having a go on the Middle East’s longest zip-line circuit or exploring the Lost Chambers Aquarium.
Looking for some great places to visit with the little ones whilst in Dubai? Read: 10 fun things to do with kids in Dubai.
However, for me, a huge reason to choose Aquaventure over Wild Wadi would be if you’re staying at Atlantis the Palm as residents have free unlimited entry.
Top Tip: Aquaventure is massive – take advantage of the free golf buggy taxi service on offer to take you around the resort and to save tired legs at the end of the day.
Just before you head off to purchase your Aquaventure tickets, allow me to explain the benefits of Wild Wadi…
Why should you choose Wild Wadi over Aquaventure?
Whilst it doesn’t have the record-breaking slides, it still offers you some opportunity to ‘lose your lunch’ on rides such as the Jumeirah Sceirah, where the floor literally falls away from you and sends you hurtling down a 120 metre slide at speeds of 80km/h. It also has a pretty impressive wave pool at Breakers Bay – something that Aquaventure doesn’t.
Watch videos of the Wild Wadi Rides here
The beauty of Wild Wadi is it’s more accessible for younger children who are in the height bracket between 1.1 and 1.2 metres. Most of the rides at Wild Wadi have a minimum requirement of 1.1 whereas Aquaventure is 1.2. It means little thrill seekers get their fare share of fun too. They are pretty strict on measuring the height at the waterparks, so if your little one falls between this bracket, and is eager to experience as many rides as possible, then Wild Wadi is the better choice.
Plus overall Wild Wadi is smaller, meaning less walking around in the blistering heat and maximised play time! This is another plus point for the younger visitor (and the parent who ends up carrying them!)
Again, as with Aquaventure, a big reason to choose Wild Wadi is if you’re staying at Jumeirah hotels. Jumeirah guests enjoy free entry to this Waterpark.
Heading over to Abu Dhabi whilst in the UAE? Looking for some great things to do whilst there? Read: 48 hours in Abu Dhabi
Hopefully this has helped you work out which waterpark is best advised for you. Just be confident in the knowledge that whichever park you choose, you’re in for a good day out!
Top tips for both parks:
- Take your own towels. Rental is available but pretty expensive, so if you can, take your own.
- You’re not allowed to take food or drink into the waterparks, but you could chance hiding some bottles of water in your towels – cheeky I know, but worth a try.
- Buy a waterproof phone pouch* They come with handy lanyards for hanging around your neck whilst on the rides. Not only great for some ‘in the moment’ photo opportunities, they’re a good security measure too.
- Buy water socks* for the kids – the floors in the waterparks get exceptionally hot, these will protect their feet whilst walking between rides.
- Arrive early and try to avoid weekends (Weekends in Dubai are on a Friday & Saturday) The queues for rides in both parks can get very long. Plan to be there early and cover the rides first.
Good to know:
Open daily from 10am. Closing changes dependent on date but usually around 6-7pm
Address: Jumeirah Street, Opposite Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah 2, Dubai
Ticket cost: Check park website for ticket prices. Note tickets are based on height, anyone 1.1 metres and over is charged at full rate. Search online for discount codes as these are often available.
Visit the Wild Wadi website for further details
Open Daily from 10am until sunset
Address: Atlantis The Palm, Crescent Road, Dubai
Ticket cost: Check park website for ticket prices. Note that any child over 1.2 metres will be charged as an adult. Book online in advance for discounts
Visit the Aquaventure website for further details
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Want to make travelling long haul with young children in tow much easier? Read: Tips for travelling long haul with children
Anyone else love a waterpark as much as I do? Any top tips to add? Got any questions? Get in touch via the comments box below – I’m happy to help and I always love to hear from you