A look at Atlantis Marine Park
...19 years after it closed
Atlantis Marine Park was constructed in 1981 in Two Rocks, a small fishing community 60 km north of Perth. The owners had hoped Perth's rapid expansion would be accompanied by an equal growth in tourism. During the six months prior to the Park's opening, 7 bottlenose dolphins were captured from the local coastal population. They were trained and maintained as performance animals for the next 10 years. Unfortunately, the hopes for Atlantis proved ahead of their time, and the park was gradually losing money.
The birth of 3 female calves in 1988, coupled with changes in regulations for holding marine mammals, meant that Atlantis would have to construct a larger dolphin enclosure. The owners decided to cut their losses, and Atlantis closed down in August 1990. At that time it was home to 9 dolphins: 6 wild born adults (3 males and 3 females) and 3 captive born juvenile females. (For those interested, sources and links are on the last page).
I can't say for sure, but I'm pretty sure that I went to Atlantis Marine Park as a kid - as did many people who grew up in Perth in the 80's. There are a few photos still floating around of what the park looked like when it was still in its prime. But its prime was almost two decades ago.
Now, at the end of 2009, the park is an almost empty block of land (here is an aerial overview of the area). There are few remains of the original park. The biggest and most iconic remanent is the statue of King Neptune (though in some places it is incorrectly referred to as a statue of Poseidon).
How the statue used to look in its heyday - photo supplied by Sue Manuel
I went for a wander through the land there the other day. The place is technically private land (it is still owned by Tokyu Corporation of Japan) though it is unlikely that anyone from the company has set foot in the park in the last fifteen years.
Update: Actually, the Tokyu Corporation still maintains an interest in the area. As recently as 1998, they paid for the construction of Breakwater Drive, which connects Two Rocks to Wanneroo Road.
Most of the gates are wide open and the fences have many holes in them.
It is quite interesting to walk around the place. There is almost nothing there now to show what it once was. There was a large theme park, lots of areas for the animals (of which there were many including penguins and swans) and tourist activities such as water slides and boat rides.
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