Volvo Ocean Race Destination Village (the Abu Dhabi stopover for the race), to ring in the New Year with Coldplay. It was a great concert... and the first time we've been out to celebrate New Year's in a few years. The concert started at 10pm, but the line to get into the venue was pretty long when we arrived at 8pm. Coldplay led the countdown to 2012 and then finished their concert with Every Teardrop is a Waterfall. Then we watched the fireworks and fought the traffic to get home. I was so glad Rob was driving on the way home because it was hard to recognize where the parking lot began and the exit lanes started... No one queues up well over here - even in cars.
Dubai Aquarium at the Dubai Mall. It was incredible. You can see the aquarium's big window long before you actually get there and in their huge tank, they have everything from eels to sharks. The main window holds the world record for the largest single sheet of acrylic in the world, but to us, the coolest part was the clear tunnel you walk through UNDER the aquarium, and the glass bottom boat ride you take OVER the aquarium. We spent a lot of time looking at all the fish and marveling at the experience of being under sharks and rays. We also were able to watch scuba divers cleaning the tank and feeding the fish. Afterwards, we climbed into the glass bottom boat, and could see the tunnel with people in it, below us. We also watched the rays come up to the surface and hang out on the coral. With our tickets, we were also able to tour the underwater zoo, and see king crabs, a Finding Nemo tank (holding all the fish from the films), water rats, and penguins. We timed our visit just right because we saw the water rats eating corn on the cob and carrots while being pet by a zoo worker, and then watched the penguins getting fed fish.
Afterwards, we went to see the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, the Dubai Fountain, which is choreographed to music, and the waterfall in the mall. We did do a little shopping (it is an enormous mall), and ate dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. The food wasn't spectacular, but the "animals" came to life periodically, and there were fun lighting effects. Plus, you could still see the aquarium from our table. We're going to have to go back before school starts back up because the Dubai Shopping Festival starts on January 5th.
We are all planning on enjoying our last week of vacation.