While I am not cooking I thought it would be fun to share some details from our Atlantis Family Vacation. We decided on the Atlantis in The Bahamas for a few reasons. The flight is a little shorter and Peter is still in the not so great flying stage, John LOVES water slides and the water park there is HUGE, the numerous aquariums and sea life adventures and we knew we could get an easy 2 bedroom suite.
Lodging: We stayed in the Haborside which is a short shuttle ride or walk away (the property is so big there is a shuttle to every building). Peter thought taking the bus was really cool! The Harborside has units that are timeshares. We rented ours through Redweek from someone who was not using their timeshare this year. We have found this a really efficient way to find a 2 bedroom unit with plenty of space. We have used Redweek in the Marriott in Aruba, St. Thomas and also used Redwood when we stayed in Disney. You can also rent the Harborside rooms through VRBO. With 3 little kids we have found having extra space, laundry and a small kitchen on a long vacation makes it more manageable and more relaxing. We have a spot to catch up after they go to bed and there is space to hang out and play games while the a baby naps. And then something personal, I don’t love eating every meal out so I like to be able to eat breakfast and some lunches in. There is a grocery store 1 mile away and Chris was champ and ran there and took a taxi back. As our children get a little older we may not feel we need the extra space etc as much. If we did not stay in the Harborside I would look into the Reef (they have a nice private beach and pool so it stays quieter) or they recently renovated the Coral and we really enjoyed the pool and beach near there. (On a side note if you stay in the Harborside bring extra laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent and coffee because even though they give you some it is not a lot and they made a fuss about giving you more).
Food: We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches in the room, but there are a decent amount of options. We enjoyed some yummy muffins from the cafe in the Coral one morning and they have free refill’s on coffee! There is a Dunkin Donuts in the shopping center across from the Marina and a Starbuckjs in the Marina and the Reef (can you tell I love coffee?). We enjoyed a decent lunch at Shark-bites one day. For dinners we did a mix of nice and casual. We actually ate at Nobu and they were great with the kids. We got them rice, teriyaki chicken skewers and a “fish and chips”. They loved it all but especially the chicken skewers. Our favorite restaurant is at Dune at the Ocean Club which is a short ride off property, but you can get a shuttle there. The food, views and atmosphere are amazing!
For less fancy but not super casual we ate at Carmine’s and the food was delicious and perfect for the kids. The service was super fast. It is family style and the portions are huge all you need is 2 dishes if you have a similar family size. Frankie Gone Bananas in the marina had friendly and quick service and was good for burgers. Virgil’s and The Point were just ok.
Activities: There is so much for all ages at the Atlantis! The waterpark playground is great for younger kids. Peter was actually scared of it, but there were children his age enjoying it. Savanna and John also still really enjoyed the area. There were 3 slides on the playground and a few other small slides in the area that they could enjoy as well.
The larger slides were all 48inches or larger which was a bummer for John because he really wanted to try some of them (some of them seemed to steep and dark even if he was 48 inches). Savanna was too scared for the larger slides so we just kept to the smaller areas. John loved the rapids and I thought they were pretty fun too. The rapids are actually a long ride (you can get on and off at different locations if you don’t want to be on that long. We love that most of the pools are zero incline (gradually get deeper) so you do not have to worry about stairs. Peter’s favorite pool was the enclosed kid’s pool that was all 1 ft that was next to the Coral Pool.
As I mentioned previously the Reef pool is only for Reef guests which is nice because it is not as crowded if you are there at a busy time. It never seemed excessively crowded at any of the pools while we were there. Th Harborside also had its own pool area which was great for Savanna and John while Peter was napping or late in the afternoon if we didn’t want to go far. It had a small enclosed kids pool as well, shuffle board and a fun outdoor connect 4 game.
We enjoyed the Coral Beach and Savanna and John got into snorkeling within the swim area and were able to see some little fish.
We found a cute little playground behind the reef pool if you are there when it is not as hot. But speaking of if its not hot or raining there is still a ton to do! There are numerous aquariums to walk through and view exotic fish, there is a kids club with tons of activities (cooking, painting etc we did not do any but the list of activities was very extensive), an arcade room and daily special activities.
Dolphin and Sea Lion experiences: Last but not least the Dolphin and Sea Lion experiences are really cool. They are pricey but worth it! Children under 3 are free with a paid adult for some of the activities. Savanna did the Swim in Wonder where you are in the water and snorkel around the Dolphins and they also push you on a boogie board (You have to be 6). The boys did the Rise and Shine experience where they got to pet a dolphin and watch it do tricks. We did both Dolphin and Sea Lion experiences this time and enjoyed both, but the Sea Lion seemed extra special and unique. We swam, pet, trained and fed the sea lions while they swam around us in an enclosed pool. We also toured the back of the facility and learned all about how it worked and how they take care of the animals.
With Atlantis being so large it has it plusses and minuses – it can be a lot of walking and back and forth but on the flip side there is a ton to do so no one could think about being bored! Our Atlantis Family Vacation was definitely tiring but also super fun!