Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

Aquarium in Downtown Dubai

Image by Bruno Morandi Getty Images

Dubai Mall’s most mesmerising sight is this gargantuan aquarium where thousands of beasties flit and dart amid artificial coral. Sharks and rays are top attractions, along with sumo-sized groupers and massive schools of pelagic fish. You can see quite a lot for free from outside or pay for access to the walk-through tunnel. The basic package also includes access to the Underwater Zoo upstairs, whose undisputed star is a 5.1m-long Australian saltwater crocodile named King Croc.

The giant reptile is 40 years old and weighs in at an impressive 750kg. He's joined by his female companion (Queen Croc) and a menagerie of rare and unusual critters, including air-breathing African lungfish, cheeky archerfish that catch insects by shooting water, spooky giant spider crabs and otherworldly sea dragons. A new exhibit introduces night-active desert denizens of the UAE such as the Arabian toad and veiled chameleons.

For an extra kick, time your visit with one of three animal feedings: rays at 10.30am, sharks at 2pm and King Croc at 4pm.

Add-on aquatic experiences include a shark dive and cage snorkelling, plus the latest experience, 'shark walker', where you wear an oxygenated helmet that allows you to breathe underwater and get up close and personal with marine life in a 10-million-litre water tank. You can even opt to rent a professional underwater camera.