Walking underwater with fish — some of them absolutely huge — swimming all around you is an awesome experience and, furthermore, if you happen to visit Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, you can enjoy this profound experience without actually getting wet!
Deep in the heart of ‘Dubai Mall’ — this is claimed to be the world’s largest shopping mall and really is of a monstrous size — is an astonishing aquarium that towers over fascinated spectators as they watch fish glide by.
The Dubai Aquarium is housed inside one of the largest tanks in existence: this tank measures an incredible 51m x 20m x 11m and has the largest ever viewing panel which is 32.8m wide and 8.3m tall and standing next to it, watching the over 33,000 inhabitants go about their daily underwater life is a never to be forgotten experience.
The inhabitants of this underwater world represent 85 different aquatic species, including sharks and rays of many kinds and, for the very brave, it is possible to don diving gear and swim with the fish, including the sharks, yourself!
Standing totally paralysed by wonder as a myriad fish, in all the colours of the rainbow, swim across your vision is sheer magic as you are drawn into the watery world of their private existence and get to see, in minute detail, how they breathe, how they move and, this is really ‘spacey’, some of them even seem to stare you straight in the eye as if they find you equally as fascinating as you find them.
As if the huge viewing panel wasn’t enough of a wonder, the designers of this marvellous aquarium have taken the experience even further by including a 270 degree walk-through tunnel, complete with special lightening effects to emulate the time of day, through which you can slowly amble as if you are walking on the bottom of the ocean, illuminating the hypnotic fish as they swim all around you although, be warned, your slow walk may turn to a run when a grinning shark swims in your direction and may, at its closest point, be only a matter of inches away from your face!
The aquarium experience is augmented by an underwater zoo in which you come face to face, literally, with interesting creatures such as piranha fish, otters, chameleons, turtles, spiders and — of all things — Humboldt penguins that have a great time interacting with humans through the glass wall that separates one species from the other.