This Indoor Marine Park Was Just Named the Largest in the World

SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi is the world's largest marine-life theme park, with ocean-themed rides and animal encounters.

<p>Courtesy of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi</p>

Courtesy of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi

Understanding the ocean and its 243,613 discovered species doesn’t require a scuba certification or access to a deep sea submarine. This is especially the case if you’re traveling through Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi opened its doors in 2023. The marine park, which spans five levels and over 1.9 million square feet, was just named the “Largest Indoor Marine-Life Theme Park” in the world by Guinness World Records and has everything an ocean-loving visitor could want — from animal encounters to theme park rides.

“We are very pleased to receive recognition from Guinness World Records as the world's largest marine-life theme park,” Thomas Kaferle, SeaWorld Yas Island's general manager, said in a press release obtained by Travel + Leisure. “This prestigious achievement is a testament to our commitment to providing the best possible entertainment experience, coupled with an interactive educational aspect enabling guests to learn more about marine life in a fun and entertaining setting that engages all ages.”

Beyond being large, the facility is dedicated to providing the highest standard of animal welfare and is certified by Global Humane, the world's largest certifier of animal welfare. To that end, there are no orcas at the facility — but there are over 100,000 other creatures, including dolphins, sea lions, walruses, sharks, rays, and puffins.

The park is broken up into eight realms, so visitors can travel to various oceans and see the creatures that live there. The realms include the Abu Dhabi Ocean, One Ocean, MicroOcean, Endless Ocean, Tropical Ocean, Rocky Point, and two Polar Ocean realms — the Arctic and Antarctica. In the Tropical Ocean realm, for example, you’ll see dolphins and a tropical rainforest, while in Antarctica’s Polar Ocean, you can watch six types of penguins play in their natural habitat.

The realms also include 15 interactive experiences and rides, like the Manta Coaster, which boasts a zero gravity flip and a bioluminescent tunnel that shows off the Tropical Ocean’s reef and marine life. Meanwhile, at the Explorers’ Sea Base in the MicroOcean realm, visitors can climb, crawl, and slide on a play structure that runs above, below, and between the MicroOcean.

To get up-close to the creatures of SeaWorld Yas Island, visitors need only head to one of the park’s 10 animal encounters. You can feed sea lions, watch a pod of dolphins put on a show, or touch the marine life of the Gulf — including sharks, rays, and invertebrates. In the Abu Dhabi Ocean realm, you can even get up close to a rescued dugong, a relative of the manatee.

SeaWorld Yas Island also has 13 retail outlets and 17 dining options, including many that are set waterside, offering views of the underwater world while you dine.

Entry to SeaWorld Yas Island is AED 375 (over $100) for adults, and AED 290 (under $80) for kids under the park’s 1.1 meter (3.6 feet) height restriction.

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