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Bahamas' Atlantis Resort

There are other day trips to make. Want to kiss a dolphin at Blue Lagoon Island, a small cay off Paradise?Pound through the Gulf Stream on the Powerboat Adventure?Go parasailing, Jet Skiing, waterskiing, or . . . ?Nah, let's just get in some serious pool time today, maybe look at the fish.

You'll lose count of the fish. After a day or two among the aquariums and saltwater lagoons, you might even consider it a matter of course to see a Caribbean reef shark trolling for dinner. Your son sits inside the concave window of an aquarium and appears to be floating among the parrotfish, angelfish, and jacks. Walk through the 100-foot-long viewing tube beneath Predator Lagoon as a baby hammerhead glides within inches of your brow. Being in the clear Plexiglas tunnel is as close as you can come to scuba diving without getting wet. It's only 14 feet deep; call it the rapture of the shallows.

Another day is done, and you're done in. Buck up, splash some water on your face, and do not call room service again. There's always Julie's, the Italian place in the Radisson next door, where the Bahamian waiters insist on singing "O Sole Mio" in a tropical accent while they pour your wine. Or you might wander over to the Pirate's Cove Resort and try the Paradise Grill. You'll find a friendly atmosphere with pool views, banquettes shaded by market umbrellas, and a moderately priced menu to please kids and adults. If there are no high chairs available, it's because so many other families are already using them.

On at least one day at Atlantis, an hour before sunset, stroll a mile or two east along Hartford Beach. There you'll see a spit of land (actually jagged coral) that separates this stretch of sand from Cabbage Beach. Let it be your vantage point as lengthening shadows darken the shoreline. A parasailer dangling beneath a multicolored chute makes his last ride of the day. Bob Marley sings "We're jammin' ..."(where is that music coming from?), and you find yourself humming along because you never have figured out the words.

You wonder whether perhaps this vacation is too tame. Paradise Island isn't exactly the back streets of Bombay. But when you travel with small children, intrigue and adventure aren't high on the list. You want reliable hot water . . . certified lifeguards . . . speedy room service . . .infrastructure.

Fake Bahamas?Maybe, but it's not a question you care to consider just now. The sun is down, the wind is up, and at the far end of the beach, in the vicinity of the Lagoon Bar, a fruity rum drink beckons. Go wild. Make it a Goombay Smash. That way, even if the kids never fall asleep, you won't really care.


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