Saturday, December 26, 2009

Family Bahamas Trip - Part 3, The Atlantis

The Atlantis resort is one of the most amazing places I've ever been to.  Words really can't describe it, and even at 1,000 words per picture, I don't think that really does it justice.  This place continued to blow me away day after day.
To start with, it's on an island, Paradise Island.  I was able to verify the maps claims to it being an island by running pretty much end-to-end and side to side, even over both of the bridges to the island.  At the center of the island is the resort, a collection of a whole slew of hotels, with a giant hotel casino in the middle, a million pools, coves and beaches and aquariums and an amazing water park in the middle. 

I'll start with the Atlantis Waterpark, the place we hung out most of our time.  A typical day would involve us getting up, doing our mandatory jamba juice/starbucks run, and getting to the pool about 10.  The place was pretty empty so we had our pick of where we would hang out - normally equidistant from the salt-water pool, the ocean and the lazy river.
One of our favorite rides was the leap of faith.  It was your standard water-park, "Slide almost straight down while crossing your legs to prevent a giant wedgie" ride, with the exception that you went through a tube filled with sharks.  Well, the tube itself wasn't filled with sharks.  That'd be scary.  The tube went through a shark tank.  You were probably moving too fast to really see any sharks, but as you'd watch people go down the slide, it was great to check out, like  in the picture below.  That's Nate going down the slide.
Here's video of Nate and Maddie going down the slide:

There was another tube slide that ended with a slow float through the same aquarium, watching sharks inches away form you.  Great effect!
This picture is the post-jubilation of us going on the slide and not getting consumed by sharks in any way.
On the other side of the leap of faith you had these two racing slides.  There were no lines for anything, so the kids would go on these non-stop, checking their times and the winner on the clocks at the bottom.  From there, you could take a whole bunch of mini-slides, leading you into this salt-water pool with the waterfalls on the right.  This was one of Emily's favorites and she would drag us repeatedly in to just swim around like a fish and swim under the waterfalls.
The highlight for all of us was the lazy river.  When you think Lazy River, you normally think of a loop where you don't have to move yourself.  This lazy river was unbelievable.  It would take 20-30 minutes to do a loop, during which you'd traverse 15 different pools, rapids, wave canyons that would push you forward on 5 foot+ waves, rapids and at the end a ramp up that would take you to 3 other water rides - all without getting out of your tube once!
We even figured out a way to compete in this, by having a "lazy river race", where you couldn't paddle.  Nate and I won!  The only real downside is that I never figured out a way to take a nap on this ride.

These were only a few of the rides. Check out the video on this link for more. There were others that actually shot you up hill in your inner-tube, another that took you through a pitch black drop and into an underwater lagoon.

The other cool thing about the Atlantis was the fact that it was all decorated to look like a lost city that had been recovered, and everything, the art, the sculptures, the aquariums, all followed this theme.
The kids and I would go exploring and continually find new things that we had no idea about.  Maddie and I went exploring one day and kept finding new coves and ponds, not to mention the stuff we'd find inside the resort.
We walked by one pond across the robe bridge only to find this hammer-head shark swimming about 4 feet away from us.  With each of the kids, we'd go and discover stuff that we'd see for the first time together.  It was a fun part of the trip, rather than being at a place where we'd been before and just seeing it new through their eyes.
The resort was decorated up for Christmas, and it was hard to get used to hearing Caribbean Christmas songs with steel drums, all while having it be 85 degrees and sunny.  The decorations were beautiful, especially if you've never seen a dolphin covered in wreaths.
The pools and aquariums were just a small piece of what made the Atlantis amazing. Probably five times a day, we'd all look around and say something to the effect of, "Can you believe we're really here, in the middle of all of this??" The place was perfect for our family because the kids could run around and do stuff while the parents chilled out by the pool. On the other hand, everyone loved going down the slides and the lazy river too. It was a perfect place for people to relax by the pool, hit the slides, go to the ocean and battle the waves, walk around and check out the aquariums and then go snorkeling in the cove. All while drinking a $12 pina colada!

If you got to this post via facebook, click the link at the top to go to the actual post and see the videos.

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