Kids love Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas, the adventure and amenity packed, lost underwater city-themed all-inclusive resort. The luxurious, tropical spot offers tons of choices for fun, so families can create the vacation of their dreams. Spend the days relaxing on Paradise Island's warm, sandy beaches, at one of the resort's many pools and waterscape areas, pumping up adrenaline at Aquaventure the resort's thrilling water park, communing with resident sea lions and dolphins at Dolphin Cay or exploring the 50,000 fish and mammals in the aquariums and lagoons throughout the lush grounds.
At just an hour south of Miami, Atlantis Paradise Island is a quick, easy getaway, so the only barrier is the price. But, we have got an unbelievable insider secret on how to make this family friendly trip wallet friendly deal too.
Atlantis Paradise Island is almost too much of a good thing. You could spend several weeks here and not experience everything the resort offers. While you can choose from a slew of resort-style activities including swimming, golfing, rock climbing, visiting the spa and tons of entertainment, Atlantis Paradise Island offers some incredibly special once-in-a-lifetime memory makers that are true highlights and shouldn't be missed.
Marine Habitats and The Dig
My 8 year old son is obsessed with marine life, so we spent much of our time at Atlantis exploring the coves and displays looking for animals. The marine habitats and exhibits are pretty awesome, and my son was engrossed in the tanks of sea horses, jellyfish, tropical fish, eels, piranhas and lobsters. So it was no surprise to me that he loved The Dig, a giant walk in aquarium that is the preserved underwater relics from the mythical lost city of Atlantis. The sheer number of fish on display is overwhelming so be sure to grab a handy identification guide to help you figure out what you are looking at as you take in the exhibit. Before you leave stop at the touch tank where kids can pet some of the sturdy critters like starfish and lobsters. Throughout the grounds there are 14 open air marine mammal habitats where you can find larger animals in their natural environment. My son spotted a sea turtle paddling across Hibiscus Lagoon, and in other displays you can find a number of different rays and sharks, an alligator gar and even a nursery for infant sea animals. The Predator Lagoon was our favorite, especially walking through the Plexiglas tunnel that takes you safely through the shark infested waters.
A highlight of our trip to Atlantis Paradise Island (and maybe even our lives) was our time at Dolphin Cay, the largest marine animal habitat and rescue operation in the world. Our small group of ten got gussied up in wet suits and waded into the crystal clear water to feed, pet, play with and even kiss a bottlenose dolphin during a 30 minute Shallow Water Interaction. If you want to get some face time with the animals, the animal interactions at Dolphin Cay are the way to go. You can interact with sea lions, train or swim with dolphins or feed rays during one of these special naturalist led programs. While they aren't included in your in the price of your stay and are an extra fee they are totally worth the additional expense.
We did eventually pull ourselves away from the animals to visit Aquaventure, the massive 141 acre water park within the resort. My son and I have been to many water parks but none where you can enter a Mayan Temple to ride an inner tube through a tank of sharks, like you can on Atlantis' Serpent Slide. There are 17 more slides all equally as exciting, ranging in intensity from the seriously scary Leap of Faith to the toddler tame Jungle Slide. The Current was my son's absolute favorite, a lazy river-style ride that isn't lazy at all. A mile long, current filled river ride you navigate by inner tube, with rapids that rise, fall and increase in speed. I lost my son in the 15 minute journey, slammed into the wall, scraped up my leg and still went on the ride again--it's that fun.
Money Saving Insider Tip
While you can certainly book a suite in the famous Royal Towers, where a $25,000 a night room in the bridge is reportedly the world's most expensive, for a fraction of the cost of a normally priced room at Atlantis, we stayed at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island and were able to use all Atlantis' amenities for FREE. Thanks to an ancient legality, Comfort Suites is the only hotel on Paradise Island that is able to offer their guests the run of Atlantis without making them purchase a pricey day pass.
Comfort Suites Paradise Island is right outside the resort through the Marina Village, less than a 5 minute walk and close to all the resort's major attractions. In fact Comfort Suites is just as close to all the action as the on-property lodging options are, making it a great alternative for families traveling on a budget.
This was my first stay at a Comfort Suites and I was impressed. The hotel has lots of style and tons of amenities, including beautifully landscaped gardens (where my son spotted a cool native lizard), a patio and a lovely outdoor pool with a swim up bar. The hotel's rooms were recently renovated, nicely decorated and incredibly clean. Each of the junior suites has two double beds, a pull out couch, a flat screen television, free WiFi, and a sitting area.
Caruso's, the hotel restaurant, offers complimentary hot breakfast for all guests and lunch specials where children often eat free with paying adults. Both of these add up to major savings over eating at the resort. Since other meals aren't included, this technically isn't an all-inclusive vacation, but with all the amenities of Atlantis included for a fraction of the price, it's close enough and well worth it.
When I was returning to the States, I was begged by the US Customs Officer based in Nassau not to publish this, but I couldn't resist sharing this awesome Atlantis deal. Happy travels!
Rooms at the Comfort Suite are on average $199 a night and include breakfast and free WiFi.
Atlantis Paradise Island, One Casino Drive, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Comfort Suites Paradise Island, Paradise Island Drive, Bahamas
Lodging, air fare and other travel expenses were provided for the purpose of the research of this post. All opinions are those of the author exclusively.