Family Travel to Atlantis
I’d be surprised if you haven’t seen ads for Paradise Island’s Atlantis, situated in the Bahamas. At my house, the ads have my kids begging for a family trip to get wet and go wild.
Is a visit to Atlantis worth the time and expense? Frankly, yes—-at least once! In Atlantis giant waterslides, river rides, lagoons and pools interconnect, creating an aqua adventure second to none. And, when not immersed in water-laced activities, you are free to explore aquarium and marine life exhibits like no others. If that’s not enough, dolphins and sea lions hug the water waiting to be cuddled, and shark and barracuda tanks filled with ferocious water beasts are waiting to meet up with your gaping eyes.
Aside from these water activities, there’s the beauty of the Caribbean Sea, first-rate golf, tennis, casinos and dining and shopping choices that match those found in major urban cities worldwide.
The premiere attractions at Atlantis are water-based and include Aquaventure and marine exhibits.
Aquaventure is an over-the-top 141-acre water park on the lushly landscaped property. It provides all day, exhilarating entertainment.
Adjacent to the shores of the aqua blue Caribbean Sea, Aquaventure tends to overrule the desire for beach time activities. After all, it is a veritable Disney-esque water world. There are four gigantic waterslides stemming from the iconic Mayan Temple-style Power Tower, including The Abyss, The Drop, The Falls and The Surge. If that’s not enough, there’s The Current, a mile-long river ride where inner tubes are the vehicles that take you over waves, rapids and through twisting tunnels.
Accentuating all of these aquatic attractions are the 11 pools throughout the property, offering the opportunity for more traditional swimming. Younger kids who don’t meet the 48” height requirement for the mega-slides have access to Splashers, with smaller slides, fountains and water cannons to keep them happy.
Marine exhibits are vast and impressive, containing over 2,000 sea species living harmoniously within over a dozen lagoons and aquariums. Like an impressionistic painting, the extraordinary palette of colors emanates from the larger-than-life tanks, providing an eye-catching journey into the underworld, designed to replicate the legendary mythical lost city of Atlantis.
The Dig, an underground network of tunnels and passageways with spectacular views of exotic oceanic life, including piranhas and manta rays, can be toured alone or with a guide. And, there’s Dolphin Cay, a 14-acre pool where Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphins frolic with human friends (for an additional fee).
Atlantis lodging is plentiful, with over 2,000 rooms, suites, condominiums and villas to choose from. Your budget may dictate which of the separate buildings you select for your family. The most budget-friendly options are the Beach Tower and Coral Towers. The Royal Towers rooms are more expensive and are situated in the heart of the property, offering easiest access to all the amenities. Condominiums are found at The Reef, and the more affordable Harborside Resort near the marina affords the opportunity to cook “at home.”
Families on a tighter budget might stay off-property at the Comfort Suites at nearby Marina Village, which offers complete (and complimentary) access to all Atlantis attractions offered to on-property guests. Located minutes away, the hotel provides its own set of advantages, including more peaceful surroundings and a complimentary continental breakfast each morning.
Many families exclaim that this is one of their best family vacations ever. Jane Armstrong of New Canaan, CT, an avid traveler who has taken her kids to the Bahamas and Caribbean multiple times said, “Atlantis was a perfect family destination —- just so easy. We traveled with several families, and the kids had a blast. The property is well staffed, so it felt safe to let the teenagers explore the grounds on their own while the parents enjoyed adult time. The restaurant choices were plentiful and the rooms at The Beach Tower were comfortable and well-appointed.”
Travel experts endorse the resort, too. The Family Travel Network called Atlantis “one of the top family resorts in the world by Parents, Conde Nast Traveler and Travel+Leisure Family magazines.” And, online Family Vacation Critics indicates that 86 percent of families surveyed highly recommend the resort, giving it a 4-out-of-5 star overall rating.
Don’t Fear the Fare!
Save your pennies and take the plunge because despite the at-first-glance steep rates, Atlantis brings joy and excitement like no other place on earth. And, if you factor in that almost all water-themed activities and attractions are built in to the price, the cost becomes less daunting, especially for large families.
For more information about Atlantis, check out www.atlantis.com. This site often offers specials, the most common of these being the 4th night free with a paid 3-night stay. Sometimes, buy-one-get-one-free airfare is available. Check with your travel agent for additional deals, too. Visit comfortsuites.com, fodors.com and frommers.com as well.