Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Nassau Before Christmas: The Dig at Atlantis

I raved in my last post about how amazing the aquarium at Atlantis is, and now I'm going to back it up with photos. Lots and lots and lots of photos- you've been warned! :)

I had a major squee-fest upon encountering these turtles in the very first pool of the aquarium. Seriously, only the sight of baby dolphins could have rivaled that kind of joy. I love turtles.

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And the giddiness carried right on as I cried out "stingrays!!" with glee. But then I realized that these are cownose rays and I corrected myself (but I was still giddy as I did it).

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And those were just the little starter pools outside one of the main aquarium buildings. I hadn't even gotten to the cool stuff yet, like these lobsters.

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And the many, many big tanks (I was slightly jealous of the diver...okay, more than slightly jealous).

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I took a lot of photos of the large tanks, but with the glass being so thick and the water a bit deep, they all look pretty blue and washed out, so I won't be sharing a ton of them here.

After you walk past the first big series of tanks, you come out into this tunnel. The water is relatively shallow and allows a lot of sunlight in. That's Darren on the right with my little video camera (he really got into taking video more than photos on this trip).

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The water isn't too shallow, though, for things like stingrays (yes, they're actually stingrays this time) to swim right over your head.

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Along with sharks...queue the Jaws theme now.

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The Atlantis aquarium is actually called The Dig and has this whole ancient ruins/archaeological dig feel to it as you walk through the series of buildings it's housed in.

Is this ceiling not gorgeous?

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The architecture of the entire thing is amazing in its detail- I mean, look at the handrails and columns on this staircase!

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This was a two-story building with more large tanks on the bottom, and then you walked up the stairs and out of the top level...

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...to be greeted by this view. This is where we took a break to eat a snack and just take it all in.

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I really love the way The Dig is set up so that you are continually walking into dark buildings and then back out into sunlight.

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There were many more little observation pools scattered around...

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...including this one which held baby cownose rays.

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Did you hear me?!?!? BABY COWNOSE RAYS!! Seriously, baby marine anything is just adorable.

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Here's the outside view of that two-story structure with the cool ceiling that I described earlier.

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We walked by many more little pools and waterfalls looking for the main building of The Dig (I'd managed to lose my map at this point).

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But it was okay, because the wandering was fun all on its own.

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We eventually did find the entrance...

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...but it turned out to be the rear entrance, and we encountered a tour group that was just wrapping up, so we ducked out again.

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Nothing against the tour group, it's just that the sound system their guide was using was almost painfully loud.

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So we took a break and sat down for another snack and enjoyed yet another pool filled with rays and sharks for a bit.

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I loved the touches of archaeology scattered around the grounds.

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And the puffer fish. I love puffer fish, too.

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We eventually did find the main entrance to The Dig and made our way to another set of large aquariums.

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And all that searching was totally worth it when we spotted the giant manta rays. Yes, I said rays, as in plural, because they had two of these beautiful creatures in the tank.

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Along with other assorted rays. They seriously have to be some of the most graceful creatures in the ocean.

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Deeper inside The Dig it started to get much more strongly themed. Darren said it reminded him a lot of the game Bioshock.

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There were many times when I expected to look around the corner and see Daniel Jackson poking around in the ruins (sorry, random Stargate reference- couldn't be helped).

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I'm still trying to figure out what this sign means...no martinis in the basketball goal?

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One of my favorite shots. :)

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The jellyfish are so cool. It reminded me of all the times I've been to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga where I would just stand and gawk at the jellyfish exhibit. They're just so cool!

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Of course, you have to be cool if you're going to swim around all day with your brains trailing behind you.

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I love clownfish (I seem to love a lot of marine life, eh?).

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I loved clownfish long before the world had ever even heard of Finding Nemo. Though it was a cute movie (thanks, Dad, for the DVD!).

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Seahorses.

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And another couple of "ruins" shots.

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And with that, our amazing aquarium adventure was over and it was time to head back to the resort. I'm hoping that one of these days we can go back and play at the water park, too, but the aquarium was definitely worth the trip over.