SeaWorld Abu Dhabi has opened its doors.
The attraction on Yas Island features eight marine environments or realms, each with themed offerings, across a five-storey indoor venue that covers 183,000 square metres.
Here's everything you need to know about the marine life park, from the attractions to what to expect, ticket costs and how to get there.
What is SeaWorld Abu Dhabi?
The Abu Dhabi site is the first outpost outside North America. Similar to its parks in the US, there are rides, interactive exhibits and an aquarium that houses 150 species of marine life, such as sharks, manta rays and sea turtles, plus reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. There are retail outlets where visitors can buy themed souvenirs, as well as several dining options.
The attraction also has Yas Seaworld Research & Rescue, a 8,602-square-metre research complex created with a focus on marine conservation and education. It opened in February.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi was developed by Miral, which is also behind other theme parks on Yas Island, such as Ferrari World, Warner Bros World and Yas Waterworld.
How much are the tickets?
There are several packages for entry, from single-day tickets to annual passes.
A day ticket costs Dh375 for adults and Dh290 for children. This includes all-day access to the park and its various experiences and rides.
Another option is the four-park ticket, which costs Dh675. This allows visitors entry to any of the four theme parks, including SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, within the island. It must be used within 14 days.
Annual passes are also on offer, from silver to diamond. These can be used in other Yas Island theme parks as well. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi has preopening discounts for these passes available until May 22.
How to get there and where to park
The attraction on Yas Island is near Yas Mall and Yas Park 1 and 2.
There is also a Google Map location for the parking area that can be found by typing in: “Seaworld Yas Island Abu Dhabi Parking”.
What is inside SeaWorld Abu Dhabi?
There are eight thematic sections: One Ocean, Abu Dhabi Ocean, Rocky Point, MicroOcean, Tropical Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica and Endless Ocean.
There are several animal displays and presentations, more than 35 interactive experiences and rides, plus 17 dining options and 13 retail outlets. There is also roaming entertainment across the realms.
One Ocean serves as the park's hub that connects to all the other realms. It embodies the educational aspect of the destination, with a 360-degree media experience as its centrepiece.
It also houses the Animal Care Centre, where visitors can watch vets and animal care experts at work.
One Abu Dhabi
This realm spotlights the marine ecosystem of Abu Dhabi and the Arabian Gulf. It offers a glimpse into the history of Bedouin families who took part in pearl trading.
It features Arabesque architecture with fort-like buildings and a replica of Abu Dhabi's Mina Port. It is also home to Naham theatre, which will host two live shows: one about the history of pearl diving and another featuring mermaids and dugongs.
This space replicates sunrise and sunset through lighting on the walls. For example, if the Sun is beginning to rise by the entrance, by the end of the day the other side of the realm will have the Sun setting.
Designed like a hidden cove, this realm is home to the park's sea lions and other marine mammals. There are animal presentations of the sea lions, seals and otters, as well as birds such as pelicans and cormorants.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi says it's used advanced technology to mimic the animals' natural habitat by controlling water currents, wave movements and lighting conditions. The realm also simulates natural sunlight and recreates seasonal light cycles through an advanced lighting system.
This realm is described by the park as its “underworld playground” that features four child-friendly rides, as well as play areas. The idea behind the zone is that visitors are the size of plankton in the ocean.
The rides are Turtle Twist, Octozoom!, Jelly Plunge and Eel Racer. The two play areas are called the Kelp Climb and the Explorer's Sea Base. There is also roaming entertainment in this realm.
This is the biggest realm of the eight. The space was created as a nod to the tropics, with Amazon rainforest-inspired decor, giant banyans, palm trees and plenty of natural lighting thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows on one side.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi's dolphins are in this area, as well as rays and colourful fish swimming through a crystal lagoon. There are also flamingos, macaws and other tropical birds to see.
The Tropical Ocean realm is also home to Manta Coaster, one of two rollercoasters at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi. The indoor-to-outdoor ride includes a trip under an aquarium.
This realm is dedicated to the Arctic region, which is home to a diversity of animals from walruses to sea otters. Visitors can also experience the region's seasonal temperatures and light cycles in this zone.
Highlights include a walrus habitat, the Ahmed Ibn Majid Research Vessel and the Hypersphere 360-degree ride, an immersive multimedia sphere that takes visitors on a marine journey.
There is also a retail outlet selling Arctic-inspired souvenirs.
This is the second Polar Ocean-inspired realm, the Arctic's opposite pole where penguins can be found.
A zoological lighting system replicates the seasonal changes of the region, and allows the penguins to go through their natural seasons, from moulting to nesting.
Various kinds of penguins can be seen, including the distinctive macaronis, tiny rockhoppers and king penguins, the second-largest of all penguin species.
There is also the Penguin Play, an elevated structure with climbing nets and slides.
This realm has a large aquarium home to an array of marine life, with more than 68,0000 animals such as sharks, rays, octopus and schools of fish.
Seven other animal habitats are also in this space aimed at creating educational awareness of sea creatures and the vast ocean, one of which is The Swirl, where tens of thousands of sardines swim.
The realm will also be home to two soon-to-open experiences, diving with schools of fish and an underwater walking tour inside the giant aquarium.
Will there be orcas at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi?
The park will not have killer whales or orcas.
On its website it says: “Although orcas/killer whales are not part of the marine life theme park, we will offer opportunities to educate the community and raise awareness about this inspiring creature alongside other marine life species.”
More information is available on www.seaworldabudhabi.com.