Story by Sharon Spence Lieb
Photography courtesy Kerzner International
Over the Top Adventures
Climb up a towering Mayan Temple and swoosh down a seven-story water slide. Snorkel with reef sharks and giant manta rays. Hug a friendly dolphin at Dolphin Cay, and become “Trainer for a Day.” Discover the legend of Atlantis through stunning murals and magnificent architecture. If your family is seeking an over the top adventure vacation, Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas, is It.
The Legend of Atlantis
Sitting next to a lagoon of reef sharks and stingrays, I breakfast on blueberry muffins and yogurt. Before attempting the daunting “Leap of Faith,” Mayan Temple waterslide, I read about the Lost World of Atlantis.
“When the gods walked among men, and fantastic creatures roamed the Earth, Atlantis reigned supreme,” wrote Greek philosopher Plato. “Poseidon, King of the Seas, built a palatial fortress for his wife Cleito, on a beautiful island in a vast ocean.
The happy couple raised five sets of twin boys. Poseidon named the island Atlantis, after his firstborn son Atlas, dividing the island into ten kingdoms, for each son… artists, scientists and scholars thrived in this great civilization, making great discoveries and building wondrous machines.”
One terrible day, a volcanic eruption destroys Atlantis with lava and fire. The people and her treasures disappear into the sea. Explorers have searched for the fabled land of Atlantis ever since.
A Water Wonderland
By 10am, teen daredevils slide down the Mayan Temple on water chutes aptly named Serpent, Jungle, Challenger and Leap of Faith. The kids bravely tumble into a clear tunnel piercing a shark lagoon. Looks exciting: maybe I’ll come back later.
Less heart throbbing, but still thrilling, is “The Rapids,” a mile long river journey. Perched on a clear blue inner tube, I surf waves, float through tunnels, and bounce off rocky cliffs. Exhilarating.
Now I’m ready to cool off in the waterfalls pool under cascades of sparkling spray. Then a peaceful float in the colorful Sun pool, decorated with a giant yellow orb.
Atlantis’ Aquaventure Water Park features 141 acres of nine challenging water slides and over 7 million gallons of water fun.
You’ll spend the entire day happily soaked.
So Much to Do
Lunchtime, so I feast poolside at Shark Bite Cafe on jumbo shrimp, chocolate cake, and a yummy strawberry shake. The Resort brochures list so many things to do, I’ll need an extra week.
Atlantis boasts the largest marine habitat in the world- 11 exhibit lagoons contain over 50,000 marine animals and 200 different species. I can snorkel “The Ruins,” photographing giant manta rays, ominous sharks, and colorful tropical fish or study with the Seakeepers staff, learning how they keep 50,000 sea animals alive and well. At the 14-acre Dolphin Cay, I can glide alongside a dolphin with a handheld water scooter, or learn dolphin care in the resort’s “Trainer for the Day” program.
Want more to do? There’s golf, tennis, basketball, climbing walls, ceramics classes, shopping for clothing, jewelry, gifts, an exciting casino, and dancing at Aura Nightclub.
Not to mention the enticing Mandara Spa.
Mandara is a Sanskrit word for “a quest to uncover secrets to eternal youth and beauty.” Waterfalls, bamboo trees, and Balinese inspired therapies invite relaxation on my quest.
Steam, sauna, and nap in a lavender infused quiet room. Then I’m ready for my “Exotic Frangipani Body Nourish Wrap”. Sunburned skin is exfoliated, and then rubbed with soothing Tahitian Monoi Oil, a mixture of coconut and Frangipani flowers. I relax happily inside a foil cocoon for who knows how long, and then snooze during a lovely massage. Ahhh, this is vacation+++++.
After my day of schussing waterslides, encountering sharks and giant manta rays, and navigating “The Rapids,” I discover the lost civilization of Atlantis. It’s wherever you rediscover the playful kid within you.
Maybe yours is waiting on Paradise Island.
IF YOU GO
Atlantis, the largest waterpark in the Caribbean, is on Nassau, Bahamas. For reservations, call 1-800-ATLANTIS. www.atlantis.com
© September 2011 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.