After the anticipation behind this large scale project we were able to attend on the official public opening day to bring you this Seaworld Abu Dhabi review. But just how good is it? It’s…well….incredible!
Dubai: SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, the marine life theme park, opened to public on May 23rd, 2023 and is built on five indoor levels and is home to more than 150 species of marine animals including sharks, schools of fish, manta rays, sea turtles, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates in addition to hundreds of birds including puffins, murres, flamingos and more.
Seaworld Abu Dhabi is also home to the world’s largest multi-species marine life aquarium with more than 68,000 marine animals within it.
The park is divided into eight sections, known as realms that you enter via a central portal in the absolutely breathtaking central area known as One Ocean. Before you reach One Ocean though however you must enter the turnstiles into the attraction which places you in the heart and centre of the Abu Dhabi Ocean section.
Let’s dive into each magical realm in this Seaworld Abu Dhabi review.
Abu Dhabi Ocean
Up first in this Seaworld Abu Dhabi review is the Abu Dhabi Ocean realm featuring arabic theming and a wide range of dining experience. You are welcomed with a pool where you can handle certain creatives in addition to a stage for tank displays and retail outlets in a Souk paying homage to Abu Dhabi’s heritage and its profound connection with the Arabian Gulf.
You guest experience begins here and it is here where you will find the S.E.A Guardian game for the first time. This interactive game will see guests take part in various pieces of theming around the attraction that are activated only by a special S.E.A Guardian tool.
Unfortunately we didn’t take part in this game but throughout the attraction you can spot many interactive points to engage in this game which would be great for kids and families alike to get involved with.
The Abu Dhabi Ocean will feature dugongs, sea snakes, rays and sea turtles but during our opening day visit there were just a small selection of fish in the tank for the time being as other creatures will slowly be added over time.
Live characters and performances will feature in this area inspired by Abu Dhabi and its peal tradition. Stories will be told via characters and puppets. One particularly impressive puppet is of a camel that we passed made of wood. A very artistic and interactive walking display indeed.
One Ocean may just be one of the most physically beautiful indoor spaces I’ve ever laid eyes on and there’s a show that takes place in the area that is truly breathtaking. Never before have I seen something so overwhelmingly beautiful that tears filled my eyes.
This show combined the multi-media screen that surrounds the circumference of the area and there’s even a drone show. The whole space comes alive and transforms the world around you in this absolutely must not miss display.
One Ocean is your portal hub to venture into the various different realms and is single handedly one of the most beautiful indoor themed areas I’ve ever seen at any park in the world. Already this introduction space is head and shoulders above other Seaworld products over in America in terms of immersion and theming.
Also, part of this realm, guests can visit the beating heart of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi: the Animal Care Center. This state-of-the-art facility featuring cutting-edge veterinary equipment and technology provides the highest standard of animal welfare based on best practices and standards set by internationally recognized animal welfare organizations.
Combining the realms of Antartica and the Arctic this cool toned walkthrough experience is adorned in cooling colours and a cooling breeze to mimic the conditions.
From the Juhani village to seeing walruses play in huge tanks this very icy space will soon be home to penguins (yet to be added) and even more goodies including a 360 degree theatre ride.
Here you can climb onboard a vessel as you venture through the cool conditions with an interactive ship great fun for all the family and observe otters and more.
It’s all a bit surreal as you step into these portals as it’s complete immersion. The outside world does not exist anymore and you become lost not only in the grand scale of the theming and the building itself but lost in the world that Seaworld has created. It’s rather magical and puts many many parks around the world to shame. Seaworld Abu Dhabi is a world class attraction and I really don’t think it’ll be topped for a very long time.
Get shrunk down to the size of Plankton and explore a world where you will tread the ocean seabed and see big scaling set pieces above you.
MicroOcean doesn’t contain any animals of note but it’s certainly the fun theme park focal area of the attraction. Consisting of numerous flat rides and a surprisingly fast roller coaster called Eel Racer guests will take an adventure within a microscopic underwater world and love every second of it.
With giant characters (including a huge star fish) just wandering around the place you just never know who you’re going to meet!
This area is designed specifically for kids and includes play areas and more but as a big kid (like me) I genuinely loved it.
Guests should keep a lookout for friendly characters, whether it’s Krill Dude and his musical show with clams and barnacles or the quirky Sea Stars that pulse, expand, and shapeshift around the realm. Also, within MicroOcean is Bitsy Bites – a dining outlet perfect for guests to fuel up on their favorite foods between big (or small) adventures, including pizza, chicken fingers and slushies. Additionally, micro-shoppers can enjoy an array of plush animals, fun toy assortments and apparel available at MicroOcean’s retail outlet, Squirts.
In a nice warm Tropical Ocean realm you are greeted with a sea of flamingos and a rainforest area littered with toucans in a lush rainforest aviary.
Tropical Ocean explores the sandy shores complete with waterfalls, crystal clear waters and an absolutely huge dolphin tank and an amphitheatre that houses the Dolphin show.
Seaworld Abu Dhabi is the world’s first Seaworld that doesn’t contain orca’s but they still have dolphins and I was a little hesitant to go and watch but the second I saw the vast amount of space the dolphins had and knowing a little backstory on the dolphins themselves I felt a little more comfortable with watching them. Not 100% comfortable though.
The show they put on was spectacular as they were playing along and doing all sorts of wonderful things showing their intelligence and creativity in equal measure. The team put on one hell of a show talking about the bond between human and animals, there were some drummers and even a splash zone for those looking for a cool down in the insane Abu Dhabi heat.
I got myself some chilli con carne from one of the Tropical Ocean food areas and it was rather tasty! Surprisingly so for theme park food but certainly not even close to the chilli that I can get locally.
It’s crazy that out of every single place in the world I’ve had Chilli Con Carne (including at Mexican festivals etc) it’s The Rifleman pub in Stoke on Trent that still to this day serves up the best damn chilli I’ve ever had!
Tropical Ocean is also the home to the brand new Intamin launch coaster Manta. Manta is a sit down steel rollercoaster that is 1050 metres in length and is not for the faint of heart.
Manta sends guests on 3 launches, through inversions and through some theming pieces as you shoot from inside to outside in a fast paced airtime filled thrill ride that really surprised me. Apparently at this stage the full theming of the ride isn’t completed yet and it still looked rather impressive and rode like a dream, I can’t wait to see it all finished!
I’d certainly watch some videos of the ride online before letting your children board. You board the ride in a station that takes a subtle turn through a fish tank and it all starts very slow and child-friendly. The ride then launches out of the station and outside with some rather intense elements. If your child is easily scared or is a little hesitant about riding then please do your research on this ride beforehand, it’s rather intense!
For me Rocky Point was one of the smaller, less impressive areas in the grand scheme of this Seaworld Abu Dhabi review. The Rocky Point area focuses on showcasing the USA’s Pacific Northwest.
The area itself looked phenomenal but there was a lot of corridors and focus on just the lighthouse section of the Sealion display but what did stand out for me was the theatre where the Sea Lion shows would take place and a wonderful acrylic tunnel as Sea Lions swam around you.
That was such an immersive and wonderful space but it was very focused on one thing. Whilst that’s absolutely fine I’d have loved just a little more diversity in this space. More animals and two shows a day instead of the one we had on opening day. This may change but we were guided into the amphitheatre for us to be told the show was hours away and it was just a viewing area for the time being. Opening day teething problems though of course, easily problems they can iron out.
The realm features state-of-the-art technology such as an Advanced Animal Lighting System (AALS) that recreates night/day and seasonal light cycles like those found in USA’S Pacific Northwest. Intricately designed to provide an enriching experience for the sea lions and seals, the dynamic habitat features various species of fish and spaces where the animals can play, hide and rest providing them with the stimulation and comfort that they need to thrive.
Last but not least in this Seaworld Abu Dhabi review is hands down my favourite area of not only this attraction but any indoor themed space I’ve seen in the world!
Imagine stepping into a sci-fi movie with the highest level of theming humanly possible. Venturing through various futuristic tunnels and observation points Endless Ocean is hands down the best realm at the attraction and is jaw-dropping to say the least.
Home to the largest multi-species aquarium in the world, stunning observation decks and a beautiful glimpse from a 20m viewing window, aptly named the Endless Vista, in a sea cave, this realm’s possibilities are truly endless.
There’s an escalator that takes you under the water, there’s vantage points from various submarine themed ship decks and interactive games along the way. The giant circular portal is like something from a James Cameron movie and the 22m vertical viewing window is what dreams are made of.
I genuinely think that at some point this space will be hired out to shoot a movie, it’s a pre-built set of the highest quality and once again brought a tear to my eye.
Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one as a girl next to me was crying her eyes out at how amazing this space is and the tank is truly spectacular with so much space and vantage points to see these creatures from.
There’s even an acrylic see-through floor you walk across with the depths of the ocean below you (and it’s really deep) as creatures swim around you.
Easily the best escalator journey I’ve ever witnessed. Endless Ocean is truly remarkable and it has to be seen to be believed. Absolutely none of it looks real!
Click Here to book your tickets to Seaworld Abu Dhabi
Seaworld Abu Dhabi is the world’s best aquarium, there’s just nothing like it on the planet and its head and shoulders above its competition. To get the best value for money (it’s £82 for a standard admission ticket) simply book a Yas Island hotel and you’ll get one Yas Island attraction for free for every night you stay!
It truly is the best aquarium in the world. Don’t believe me? Watch our VLOG below from opening day.