The marine habitats at Atlantis resort Paradise Island, Bahamas are the unique feature that sets this resort in a higher tier from your typical beach resort filled with water activities, sand and dining. Atlantis has the largest marine exhibits in the Caribbean with 14 lagoons and more than eight million gallons of saltwater. There are over 250 species of marine life and over 50,000 animals spread across the resort grounds.
The first experience I had with the aquatic life was entering the Royal Towers lobby. After passing underneath the rotunda at the hotel entrance, the lower floor is accessible by two staircases and the lower floor has a wall of glass revealing a massive aquarium.
The Ruins Lagoon appears as the ruins of Atlantis underwater with fish, large stingrays and sharks inhabiting the marine ruins.
From the lower floor of Royal Towers is the entrance to The Dig. This is one of the delights of Atlantis to see.
The entry room is dark and appears to be the office of an archaeologist. My camera flash photo makes the room much more visible than it actually is inside the dim light of The Dig.
There is a long tunnel shaft past the office.
Leading to smaller aquarium exhibits…
with large lobsters crawling around. I am used to Maine lobsters and these spiny lobsters do not have the large front claws of American lobsters.
A guided tour is definitely a good idea for the dig as there are few signs describing the exhibits.
I walked through the exhibit once during the day when it was crowded and there was a tour guide, but I didn’t stick with the group to hear the talk. These photos were taken before 9am when nobody else was visiting The Dig.
There are few signs to describe the exhibits. The “All Things Atlantis” pocket guide I received at check-in states guests can pick up a free self-guided tour map of The Dig/Ruins Lagoon at any Discover Atlantis counter. I missed that detail while at the resort.
I seem to recall the Atlantis tv commercial has a shot of Royal Towers looking up through the water. I tried to recreate the imagery without success.
You can pay to snorkel the ruins of Atlantis. Just another one of the possibilities of a resort vacation at Atlantis.
The Dig is located in the Royal Towers section of Atlantis.
The outside terrace is a place to see live feedings of the stingrays. A resort newsletter is available with a listing of daily activities and times where visitors can see or pay to participate in aquatic animal feedings.
Nurse sharks at Coral Towers
Near the Blu pool at Coral Towers and the Lagoon Bar & Grill is another series of aquariums.
This is a cool effect watching sharks and other fish swim directly over your head in the Predator Lagoon.
There is another large aquarium lagoon at the Mayan Temple with sharks and other fish. I was able to see the sharks swim at night from my 15th floor room balcony looking down on the lighted Mayan Temple shark lagoon. That is one of my special mental memories of Atlantis since my camera is not good enough for that kind of night photo with a clear view.
Dolphin Cay is a major attraction of Atlantis where you can spend the day enjoying a private beach beside a lagoon with dolphins. There are several fee activities associated with Dolphin Cay like snorkeling and swimming with dolphins. I never ventured over to Dolphin Cay during my four day stay.
A quick pronunciation note for readers who may not know: Cay is pronounced as “key”. In the Caribbean the spelling cay is used whereas Americans use Key like in Key West. In UK English the spelling is typically quay like in Torquay and still pronounced “key”.
A cay is a small sandy island formed on the surface of coral reefs.
Related posts about Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas:
Dispatch from Paradise Island, Bahamas (Feb 16, 2012)
Nassau, Bahamas Resort Traveler – 5 things to know (Feb 22, 2012)
Atlantis Resort Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas (Feb 25, 2012)
Aquaventure Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas (Feb 26, 2012)