SeaWorld cements Yas Island as GCC’s Adventure Capital

/ Abu Dhabi
SeaWorld cements Yas Island as GCC’s Adventure Capital

SeaWorld Yas Island is a marine life park that puts visitors close to a wide diversity of marine life

Recent opening of SeaWorld has strengthened Yas Island’s position as adventure capital of the GCC and an all-round family friendly entertainment destination.
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Goosebumps on skin, growing awareness of the impending and a thumping heart almost jumping out of the chest and before I knew it, my multiple fears and adrenaline rush were almost at par with each other. As it came to a halt, 4.9 seconds later to be precise, the blast of emotions took some time to kick in. Was the world’s fastest roller coaster Formula Rossa a few moments of insane adventure lived in a world of fantasy?

And the realisation that all that I had experienced was true, only intensified the emotions that lingered on for long after it was all over, much like my experience of Yas Island itself. Welcome to Yas Island, wherein a surge of adrenaline rush, heightened senses trying to soak in all the thrills around seemed to be the only way of life.

Sprawling across 25 sqkm, Yas Island is barely 15 minutes away from Abu Dhabi International Airport. India Outbound was invited on a media familiarisation trip to the island which has recently opened yet another attraction for visitors, SeaWorld Yas Island, which is a marine life park that puts visitors close to a wide diversity of marine life, while also imparting lessons on importance of conservation of the rapidly dwindling marine biodiversity.

SeaWorld comes on top of a wide variety of other adventure parks and entertainment sites that have already positioned Yas Island as a leading destination for families as well as for MICE tourism.

SeaWorld : Gateway to a world within a world

The latest attraction in Yas Island that opened recently, Sea World is the marine life theme park. SeaWorld is not just an artificial repository habitat, but also an exotic mix of natural aquatic life. From bright pink flamingos, leaping dolphins to glowing manta rays, sea turtles, from fishes in uncounted colours and sea lions resting on rocks to playful starfish, its more than 183,000 sqm, spread across five levels, exhibit more than 55 years of experience in marine research, conservation, and animal welfare.

SeaWorld has brought alive the ocean world for visitors with more than 35 interactive experiences. In the park all around its eight realms that represent the diversity of aquatic lives in the respective oceans, were more than 100,000 marine animals including 150 species of birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.

It is a unique proposition in the entire region and we can see that it is one of the best places for children and adults to not only learn about the immense diversity of marine life, that normally remains hidden from humans, but the visitors also learn about the crucial importance of conservation and how every one of us can and ought to contribute to it.

Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Centre is a powerhouse of marine life conservation and advanced sciences. I was no less transfixed than the child beside me by the magnitude of it all.

Unifying all realms at the centre was the ‘One Ocean’ that had a gigantic globe in the middle, while at the heart of ‘Abu Dhabi Ocean’ was a recreation of the Gulf waters. In the warmer, ‘Tropical Ocean’, rainforests exhibited crystal clear lagoons and flamingoes and dolphin shows to reflect the equatorial marine life. Though each with its distinct charm, I was instantly captivated by ‘MicroOcean’s’ kaleidoscope of colours draped in its larger than life coral reef, jellyfish displays and life-size plankton. In essence, ‘MicroOcean’ is an attempt to embody the earth’s unparalleled coral life and planktons through a magnified perspective.

Up close and personal with the animals, some kids rolled on the underwater playground in fun and frolic as adults alike gasped around in awe at its psychedelic show of colours and adventure rides. Parts of the Polar Ocean, the temperature controlled ‘Arctic & Antarctic Ocean’ revealed the sub-zero polar wildlife of walruses, puffins, and sea otters in the Juhani Village. In addition to the research vessel and hypersphere while in ‘Antarctica’, playful penguins stole the show.

Lazying sea lions, cormorants, pelicans were the highlights of the ‘Rocky Point’ set to recreate USA’s Pacific Northwest whereas the next spot we headed to – was ‘endless’. The ‘Endless Ocean’ realm housed the world’s largest multi-species marine life aquarium with over 68,000 animals, as I witnessed sharks, rays and schooling fish nonchalantly swim past me while I gaze in wonder.

The overall experience here is of course tranquil, as are the oceans and their depths. But the SeaWorld is not just about learning and watching. It also comes with its own set of adrenalin-pumping activities. Among its many amazements is an exhilarating coaster ride in the aquatic world, the Manta Coaster with a zero gravity flip and a bioluminescent tunnel showcasing Ray Reef ’s marine life.

Formula Rossa: How fast is too fast?

PC: Ferrari World Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World at Yas Island is the fast-track to any speed lover’s paradise (PC: Ferrari World Yas Island, Abu Dhabi)

For me it was was love at first sight, I must confess. Fast and furious, world’s first Ferrari-themed park Ferrari World, Yas Island, is the fast-track to any speed-lover’s paradise.

But first another ride that literally took me to Italy, the Viaggio in Italia, a flying theatre, which is one of the central attractions at Ferrari World and the illusion of flight is fashioned through motion synchronised with a film. The illusory ride erased all horizons as it flew us over the Italian valleys and under the pristine waters, raced by the Italian coasts to glide across the vineyards and ski beyond the mountains.

After a brief but lovely Italian sojourn, I took a leisurely stroll around the arena. It was teeming with people of all ages, not just youngsters as I had expected. One of the most unique opportunities at the Ferrari World is for those who want to get a feel of the real thing. There are actual Ferraris that one can drive to explore Yas Island. Not surprisingly, Ferrari World’s ‘Driving Experience’ had a fair share of fans of the wonder macchina waiting for their turn to get their hands on the magical set of wheels.

Among the several adventure rides that visitors can choose from is the world’s highest roller coaster loop ‘Flying Aces’ to scale 63 metres at a 51-degree incline and hit speeds of up to 120km per hour. In addition, for a Scuderia Ferrari racer experience, the park hosts a dedicated 290 metre long go- karting track that more than just compels visitors to get behind the wheel.

But first, back to my ride on Formula Rossa. Steadfastly secure, I clenched onto the railings as if my life depended on it while making sure not for one moment should I close my eyes. I wanted to absorb it all, the heights, the transcendental speed, a topsy turvy world and my proud little racing heart, throughout all its twists and turns.

In what felt like just an extended moment transcending into another realm, the ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, that accelerated from 0 to 240 km per hour in barely 4.9 seconds, was a bone-chilling experience unlike any other, through and through.

Wonders never cease at Warner Bros

New day, a new adventure beckoned and up next for us was the wonderland of the Warner Bros world Abu Dhabi, which is the world’s first ever Warner Bros-branded indoor theme park, featuring characters from the famous Hollywood studio’s notable franchises such as Looney Tunes, DC Comics, Hanna- Barbera and others.

Taking long strides with childhood favourites in the likes of Bugs Bunny and Harry Potter, I delved into a deep contemplation of whether to hang upside down in the ‘Scarecrow Scare Raid’ adventure ride or tease my intelligence quotient in a ‘Riddle Revolution’ thrill ride with Joker, that takes visitors on a stroll along Gotham city only to lure them into an abandoned warehouse!

Warner Bros world

Warner Bros world Abu Dhabi is the world’s first ever Warner Bros-branded indoor theme park (PC: Warner Bros.World Yas Island, Abu Dhabi)

Entirely unsettled with Joker tricking me into his labyrinth of mirrors, I responsibly wasted no time to throw myself in another wild adventure ride. But among the diversity of adventure rides here are ‘The Flintstones Bedrock River Adventure’ that offers a scenic boat tour of Bedrock with modern Stone Age family, along ‘Tom & Jerry Spin’ chase to ‘Museum of Scooby-Doo Mysteries’, perfect family ride along with the famous five.

The park also offers themed shopping centres & eateries in addition. Walking around the recreated Gotham city under a purple-pink twilight to reach ‘Platform number 9 3⁄4’, almost felt like revisiting childhood through the colourful WB prism. Unworried and unhurried.

Ending on a high note at Clymb

Although the trip was nearing an end, there was a last show stopper, in the world’s tallest indoor skydiving chamber of Clymb. At the Yas Mall, adjacent to the Ferrari World, Clymb,with an unmatched width of about 10 m and a record height of just under 32 m, hosts both indoor and outdoor skydiving flight chambers tailored for adventure junkies to beginners.

PC: Ferrari World Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Clymb is the world’s tallest indoor skydiving chamber, located at the Yas Mall (Photo: Triya Ghosh)

My beginners’ fright took a rather quick backseat after the detailed briefing by our instructor and also the bittersweet feeling of nearing the end of the enthralling trip. Soon enough, I was inside the cabin, weightless and flying high. Gliding with the wind and maybe even breaking into an awkward jig, but staying all the way up all the time.

The few moments here passed in a whirlwind, it was already time to bid adieu. Though it was my fourth day here, I felt that the visit had ended far too soon and there was still so much more for me to explore and enjoy. But all good things come to an end, so did this memorable trip.

For me, the visit to Yas Island had been like living in fantasy, with numerous adventures packed into each day, and as I sat in my airplane, above the turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea, I knew I was leaving with a box of memories that would keep beckoning me back to this amazing land again, and again.

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