Volunteering to join a school outing as a mama chaperone – it’s brave – you’ll either want to go back to school or run for the hills as a result, but one thing is certain- your kids LOVE these special little excursions. So when my son’s school recently arranged an outing to the Dubai Dolphinarium there was no way around it. Mama was going to spend an entire morning watching skilled trainers trying to make animals behave like incompetent human beings cheered on by a total of 30 four year olds… great. Well actually, it kind of was or at least my son definitely thought so…
Teachers, mamas and pupils all met up at the entrance to Creekside Park for the 11am dolphin show. The kids were running wild in the lobby already before the show, full of excitement, so there was no doubt this was going to be an adrenaline-packed experience! The show takes place in a cool (in the chilled sense) hall packed with seats which proved ok on the comfort front for the 45 minutes our group of bottoms sat on them. The only thing this mama found a little bit scary were the steep stairs leading to the seating, which the school children delighted in running up and down – but once we were seated and the stage lights came on, all eyes were fixated on the animals and my son was at the edge of his chair, mesmerized by what was going on.
The first part of the show, where they had a bunch of seals doing a few tricks, was a good opener but the kids were looking for more (sorry seals!). These animals are naturally kind of slow and fat, especially when compared with their slick dolphin cast members – however they are super cute and did their best to entertain the crowd – but the real treat was yet to come. As soon as the dolphins entered the hall, there was no doubt that the kids were totally overexcited as they watched them jumping through hoops, dancing on their fins and playing ball- constantly cheered on by the highly animated audience. When these amazing creatures started shooting balls out into the crowd for the kids to bounce back, the little ones went seriously nuts! Exciting times indeed!
When the last dolphin had splashed its fins for the final time and the enthusiastic screams had died out it was time to grab a bite to eat. We had originally planned to eat at the little café inside the Dolphinarium, called “Happy Valley”, but there really wasn’t that much to be happy about when browsing the menu. Mostly junk food, popcorn and ice cream, so I would suggest that mamas either give this one a miss or take a packed lunch and set up a little impromptu picnic outside in the park (or indoors when the temperatures soar). Happy Valley does however offer freshly squeezed juices that offered a refreshing little post-show treat. This mama can also happily report that the toilets were clean and well kept with a good-sized changing table for little people in nappies.
On our way home my son said he wanted to bring his younger brother back the following day, which I quickly talked him out of. But as for an overall hit- or- miss -grade on the show, I guess that speaks for itself. Kids just can’t get enough of dancing dolphins and skillful seals. And hey, the dolphinarium also offers ‘swimming with dolphins’ sessions for the over 5’s which could be a mega-hit with the slightly older and more adventurous kiddos who aren’t content just watching and want in on the action.
Sassy Mama Tip: Tickets can be purchased online at http://dubaidolphinarium.ae/ShowTimings.aspx
Creek Park Gate No.1, Riyadh Rd, Dubai
Tel: (+971) (0) 4336 9773
Top image sourced via: www.panoramio.com