Marine Habitats at Atlantis

Marine Habitats at AtlantisWhile we were in Nassau, Bahamas, we spent a lot of time at Atlantis. We didn’t stay at Atlantis, but at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island. We didn’t need to stay at the resort to get access, as that was included in our stay at Comfort Suites. Folks who do stay at Atlantis need to purchase a wristband every day for access to the pools, beaches, and water park. All we had to do was show our room key for access every day. The wristbands for those staying at the resort were $79 a day. (That’s actually the low season rate. The pass normally sells for $129.)

There is a lot more here than pools and the beach. There are tons of places to see fish. There are eight marine habitats here, each providing a unique experience.

Reef Lagoon
If you want to see some nurse sharks, head over to the Reef Lagoon. It’s not really near anything, actually close to the beach, but here you can see countless nurse sharks in their natural habitat.

Speaking of their natural habitat, in many of these marine habitats you will see a lot of algae. That’s on purpose. They control all of this to make the animal feel at home. From the rocks down below to the water temperature, all of this is controlled by the staff at Atlantis. When hanging out at the Reef Lagoon, take note of the sharks resting on the bottom. If you pay close attention, you can see them breathing. It’s pretty cool to see these massive sharks up close and personal.

Hibiscus Lagoon
Turtles! I love turtles, especially green sea turtles. These turtles are actually endangered, but a handful roam freely here at the Hibiscus Lagoon. You can get a good view of these turtles right outside the Beach Tower. If you go later in the day, you might see more of these green sea turtles. They just swim around and are fun to watch.

Recycling is a big thing on Paradise Island. Especially at Atlantis, you will see several places to recycle plastic cups and bags. Plastic bags are actually what is taking a toll on these green sea turtles. These turtles will see a plastic bag, mistake it for a jellyfish, and eat it. If there was ever a reason to recycle, let the turtles be it.

Seagrapes Lagoon
Being a diver means lots of coral reef. That’s what you’ll find here at Seagrapes Lagoon. This is natural Bahamian Corliss reef, where countless fish reside. Did you know that 25% of all marine life can be found in and around a coral reef? Reefs harbor some of the most endangered species on the planet.

Here at the Seagrapes Lagoon, you can see queen angelfish, rock beauty (the rock beauty is actually three colors; quite pretty) and several species of wrasse. While diving, Ryan and I had the chance to see several different coral reefs. We saw everything from angelfish to giant grouper. To see more fish in their natural habitat like this, and being able to focus on the reef was an experience.

Stingray Lagoon
There must be something with lagoons here on Paradise Island. All of these habitats are called that! Anyway, the stingray lagoon is awesome. Not only is it loaded with stingrays, they also feed them Tuesday through Sunday. (The feedings are at 2:00 PM.)

The stingrays in here are southern stingrays and a few cownose rays. Both of these can be fed by hand, and are relatively safe to be swimming around inches from you. All of the rays at Atlantis still have their barb (or stinger) but never really use them. These are used as a defense mechanism. Perhaps that’s why the aquatic team must be present for the feedings!

Predator Lagoon
This is one of my favorite lagoons at Atlantis. There are actually two places to view this lagoon. There is a suspension bridge over the lagoon, where you can get a great aerial shot of the fish. The fish… And the sharks! Man, I love sharks. In this lagoon you can see a hammerhead shark!

If you want a closer look at these fish, head below to the tunnel. Down here you can see Goliath grouper (these things are HUGE), smalltooth sawfish (they are massive too), blacknose sharks, and Caribbean reef sharks. We saw plenty of the reef sharks on our dives.

The coolest part of this lagoon is the sheer size of these fish. From the grouper to the sharks, they are huge and swim around with grace. It’s truly a magical thing to see such massive and equally impressive fish swimming past your face. The glass is thick though… You’re safe.

The Dig & Ruins Lagoon
This lagoon is sweet too. Every time we got a wristband we saw this lagoon. There is also a restaurant here where you can eat beside the fish. The restaurant was closed while we were there, though. This is also just inside the hotel, near the lobby and the casino.

There are plenty of fish to see in here. In this lagoon watch zebra sharks, bowmouth guitarfish (what a cool name), grunts, jacks and the infamous Manta ray. This ray is huge. When Sheryl first saw it, she thought it had two heads. She’s right though… Well, it looks like it has two heads. It’s just a huge ray, and is really cool to look at. The Dig is pretty sweet too. We actually found our way into there after hours. Not sure we were supposed to be in there, but the fish were impressive. We saw a seahorse, some lobster (in their natural habitat, not on our plates), some starfish, and lionfish. Those are extremely dangerous, but behind glass are so pretty. I actually dove with those in Aruba last December. The Dig offers tours where you can look a little deeper into the lost city of Atlantis.

Other fish featured in The Dig include:

  • Piranha
  • Jellyfish
  • Clownfish
  • Moray eel
  • Polyps
  • Bonefish
  • French angelfish

As you can see, The Dig is an impressive collection of fish. There are also several other areas focused on the lost city, but since we didn’t pay for the tour we didn’t see or learn much about them. Regardless, starrng a piranha in the face is pretty cool!

Royal Stingray Lagoon & Spotted Eagle Ray Lagoon
This is similar to the other ray lagoon, but here you have a couple of different types of ray. The spotted eagle ray is huge, and is fun to watch swim around. I like it when their fins come above the surface; it looks as if the are waving at you. There are also some blacktip reef sharks in here. But they don’t compare to the spotted ray.

Water’s Edge Lagoon
This lagoon is small, but impressive due to the schools of ray that swim around here. When we first saw this lagoon, we noticed a couple of rays swimming together. Before we knew it, there were dozens of them flapping around in the water below. There are a few sharks in here as well. Nothing too exciting, but there are a couple Blacknose sharks in there. You do end up seeing this lagoon several times, depending on how you walk back to your hotel. Our hotel was on the far side of the resort, so we saw this lagoon three or four times a day.

As you can see, there are tons of fish here at Atlantis. Each lagoon is unique, and features a collection of fish you might never see in the wild. It makes walking from the hotel to the beach and back an enjoyable experience. The sharks are still my favorites!