Iceland Waterpark, Ras al Khaimah - A Review
Another Dubai Waterpark!
Iceland Waterpark in Ras al Khaimah opened in the second half of 2010. It is the fourth waterpark in the UAE with 2 others being in Dubai and the other one in Umm al Quwain. It is themed on the desert freezing over and has lots of ice, snow and other similar decorative effects together with a whole herd of model penguins! It may seem excessive to have 4 waterparks within a couple of hours of each other but they were likely planned before the downturn of the last couple of years and each also has it's own charm.
Check out another of my articles to read a review of all of the waterparks near Dubai - this article is purely going to be about Iceland waterpark itself.
Where is Iceland Waterpark?
Ras al Khaimah is another of the United Arab Emirates and is only around an hour to an hour and a half from Dubai (depending on where you are staying). You can get to the waterpark by driving from Emirates Road, through Sharjah and then turning left when you effectively get to the end of the road and you reach a roundabout. It is only a couple of miles down this road on your right hand side.
In order to get to Iceland waterpark you will need transport of your own as there is no public transport to take you that far out of Dubai. So if you have access to a car then it might well be worth a visit. Alternatively if you are staying in Ras al Khaimah then you can easily get a taxi to the waterpark which is in the al Hamra area.
Iceland Waterpark - The Rides
Iceland waterpark covers a massive area and hence has a huge number of rides to choose from. Whether you have small children or are with a bunch of adults, the waterpark should suit all tastes. There are plenty of adrenaline filled high rides and stomach churning tubes and half-pipe type rides. There is also a plunge pool where, if you dare, you can jump from a height into a deep pool of water!
Of course there is the obligatory lazy river which looks to be quite small but when you are actually on it the ride winds it's way around a large part of the park and you can be on it for a fair amount of time before you get back to where you started from. Included in the lazy river is a portion that goes into a cave with pseudo-stalactites which will be nice in the summer when the weather is heating up outside.
Iceland Water Park - Rides for All
For those who can't go on the fast rides (like me!) because they make you feel ill, there are some more gentler rides that you can do - from the long, multi-person slide which you will stop on if you don't get enough momentum (tip - just make sure the front of the sled thing is pulled up in front of you to go quicker and you don't stop!), to straight and gentle slides, the fun bucket and large shallow water area, to the wave pool and lazy river, there is plenty to keep you occupied.
The huge kids area is probably bigger than any of the ones at the other waterparks (Wild Wadi, Aquaventure at Atlantis and Dreamland Aquapark) so the kids will not feel left out.
Not to mention the full sized water football pitch in the middle of the park where you can play football whist being covered with sprays of water! Not great for making the ball move along the ground but fun and different all the same!
Unique Waterpark Features
One thing that Iceland Waterpark has that is different to the other waterparks in the Dubai area is a coral reef attraction. Most of the reef is manmade but there are real fish and the attraction is a seawater one and so gives a genuine feel to it. You get given flippers, snorkel and mask so that you can swim through the reef and see the fish and coral that are under the surface. This is a great and safe way for kids to do this but is also fun for adults.
Another unique feature of this waterpark is that it has an Olympic sized swimming pool complete with starting blocks! So if you want to get some laps in or practice your racing turns then you are at the right place!
With an attraction of this size, there are bound to be teething troubles for at least the first year or so while the waterpark gets up and running. Even now, after being open for around 6 months, there are not huge crowds coming so possibly not enough numbers to test out some of the facilities. One are that wasn't great was the Tundra Baths. This is basically an enclosed area of hot tubs. Only some of the tubs were hot and only one was hot enough on the day I visited.
Also, it looked apparent to me that the first version of the flooring was not working. From what you could see, it had initially all been painted white and was some kind of concrete floor but it looked like it was too slippery so they have put down a whole lot of blue matting throughout the park to stop people slipping over. However, the matting is a bit hard on your feet so I recommend that you take a pair of flip-flops or other shoes that you can wear between rides.
Iceland Waterpark - Food and Drink
There is the usual selection of food and drinks that you might get at a waterpark - fast food type options but with a bit of a local flavour too. I am pleased to report though that I thought that the food and drink prices were very reasonable - for example you can pick up a burger (chicken or mutton), fries and a drink for 25 dirhams.
Iceland Waterpark Entry Prices
Entry prices are reasonable at 150 dirhams for adults and 100 dirhams for children. When I visited they also had a great offer which I took advantage of. For 399 dirhams you could get access to the waterpark plus a night for 2 in a nearby hotel. The hotel was a good standard and had a pool, gym, restaurant and indeed a nightclub! It was not in a great area but had all you would need for a night's stay anyway and the rooms were clean and modern.
You can find more information on their own website at www.icelandwaterpark.com