seaworld abu dhabi tour on may 22
The facility is home to 100,000 animals from 150 species Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: The capital’s latest attraction, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, is all geared up to welcome visitors from Tuesday, and is holding a series of opening galas and shows ahead of its public opening.

Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, officially inaugurated the marine life theme park on Saturday, May 20. Today, over 3,500 guests attended a lively opening ceremony, followed by wildlife presentations at the facility.

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Opening gala

The 183,000 square metre park on Yas Island is spread over five floors, spread off of a central hub named the One Ocean. It was here that an immersive opening ceremony captivated thousands of visitors. The show, which included a performance by Emirati artist Hussain Al Jassmi, was attended by Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi’s culture sector regulator, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, and chairman of destination developer Miral, along with numerous envoys and Abu Dhabi government officials.

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Guests at One Ocean Image Credit: Samihah Zaman/Gulf News

Guests were also greeted by traditional Emirati ayyala dancers, and a maritime troupe of performers. The opening extravaganza was then followed by sealion and dolphin presentations at the park.

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Traditional Emirati coastal life was the theme of this show Image Credit: Samihah Zaman/Gulf News

Special features

The facility is home to 100,000 individual animals from 150 species. It also features theme park rides, including a roller coaster, and houses a variety interactive exhibits.

This is the first SeaWorld opening outside the United States. Developed as a collaboration between Miral and the US-based SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, it is the first not to feature captive killer whales. Instead, there are dolphins, rays, sea stars, flamingoes, penguins, and an array of fish.

“SeaWorld Abu Dhabi represents the next generation of theme parks, joining the world-class experiences on Yas Island, further positioning it as a top global destination, contributing to the growth of Abu Dhabi’s tourism vision. The park will also play a key role in promoting environmental awareness and protecting marine life in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the wider region, undoubtedly inspiring guests to care for and protect our precious marine life for years to come,” Al Mubarak has said.

“Together, with our partner, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, we are proud to be pushing the limits of science and conservation to create a truly unparalleled knowledge hub, demonstrating our joint commitment to upholding the highest standards of animal care and welfare. We look forward to welcoming guests from around the world to showcase the beauty and wonder of the ocean at this one-of-a-kind park,” he added.

Thematic zones

The park is divided into thematic zones.

Abu Dhabi Ocean: The park’s first zone is aptly themed after the Arabian ocean, with its displays of traditional Emirati vessels, and decorative elements modelled after the mangrove forests that dot the UAE coast. Visitors can get up close and personal with seastars and rays at the touch pools in this area.

One Ocean: This main park hub has been built to stage immersive shows using screens and drones. Visitors can also head in to the park’s Animal Care Centre, or access other realms from this zone.

Tropical Ocean: Flamingoes, dolphins and a variety of tropical birds are housed in this expansive zone. Visitors also go through here to access the park’s roller coaster. Location: Yas Island

What to know

Location: Yas Island

Opening: May 23

Tickets: Dh375 for every adult, Dh290 for children below the age of 11 years

Eight zones with 150 species of animals