Even When It’s Hot, There Are Plenty Of Ways To Get Your Dose Of Nature & Green In Dubai. We’ve Found A Few Of Them!
The hot weather doesn’t mean you have to forgo spending time with Mother Nature – honestly! Yes it might be sticky and sweaty but there are some gorgeous places to get your dose of green without melting and while having lots of fun, plus studies show that children who connect with nature are much more healthy and productive – physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. Sold? We are! Let’s go outside and make some memories.
A whimsical, magical outdoor space that provides the perfect place to make the most of the cooler mornings and balmy evenings, Al Barari Nature Escapes have been created to allow families and friends to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature and soak up plenty of green! We love the beautifully themed picnic areas complete with fairy lights, gorgeous décor and a touch of Bohemia – all shaded by beautiful mature trees. Buy a picnic basket full of treats (there are breakfast, lunch and dinner options) then recline, relax and enjoy the sounds of birds singing and your kids playing blissfully among the greenery – there’s a playground too and weekend activities from yoga to arts & crafts. And if you feel it’s too hot during the day then head over for supper as the escapes are open in the evening too – yay!
Is there a cooler place to be than with Mother Nature, under the sea?! The Dubai Underwater Zoo and Aquarium at The Dubai Mall is home to hundreds of fish, amphibians and mammals that call the massive tank their home. If you’re not feeling up to paying the entrance fee for the whole family, their world record breaking viewing panel (it’s the largest in the world!) allows you to see into one of their largest exhibits from the mall itself for free. Mind the sharks!
You won’t get loads of green space but you will get a big bench and plenty of boardwalk space for your kids to scoot or bike along – and Safa Park is right next door if you are after a bit of green too. Head to Dubai Canal and enjoy an early evening picnic supper while watching the boats go by.
Sassy Mama Tip: If you want a real adventure then take a metro to the canal – simply get off at Business Bay Metro station and then walk on the footpath on Sheikh Zayed Road towards Habtoor City. OR, take a water taxi from Dubai Marina – fun!!
We love Dubai Garden Centre and all the simple pleasures it brings. Whether you’re after a seriously good cup of coffee while the little ones sip on a babyccino (the Roseleaf Café is one of our absolute favourite spots in Dubai – the homemade cakes are to-die-for), you’re going to feed the fish or wander through all the greenery, this little haven is just so good for the soul. Wander around the vast outdoor space, jam-packed with trees and plants of every kind amongst which there are hidden a variety of animal statues and very realistic looking creatures! Cross a bridge over a crocodile pond, spot monkeys swinging in trees and watch out for a dinosaur (who roars quite loudly and can frighten teenies). Okay, so you’re still outdoors but it’s mostly under shade and can feel like quite an adventure. When you’re feeling a little too warm, head indoors to watch pretty tropical fish and sea creatures in the little aquarium and enjoy a drink surrounded by all of the indoor plants and flowers.
If you love hanging about at hotel pools (who doesn’t, right?!) now’s the perfect time to invest in a Privilee membership, mamas! Soak up some of Dubai’s most beautiful green gardens while lounging by (in) perfectly chilled swimming pools – heaven! Privilee also gives you discounts on f&b (including brunches) AND lots of the hotels offer use of their kids clubs too for when your little darlings need a break from the sun (and you need a break from them!). A 5 Star life-style without the 5 Star price tag. Hooray!
Read More: Our Top 5 Family Friendly Privilee Pools
Anything that brings us closer to nature gets a huge Sassy Mama seal of approval and this wildlife attraction at Mirdif City Centre is the bees knees (literally!). There’s no real greenery here but there are plenty of ways to feel like you’re actually out in the wild as this indoor nature experience fuses BBC Earth’s world-leading nature content with SEGA’s cutting edge technology to create the most awe-inspiring experience for the whole fam. Featuring a custom-built theatre which tackles all the senses (pumping in smells of the Kalahari desert and wind effects too), Orbi transforms you to places around the world that you may never otherwise get the chance to see. From gorillas in Uganda to elephants in South Africa plus rainforests, deserts, mountains and oceans – Orbi is all about uncovering some of the mysteries of nature by seeing the planet in a whole new way. We love.
Not only is this the only ‘zoo’ in Arabia to exhibit all of the animals naturally occurring in the Arabian Peninsula but it is also the only zoological park in the Middle East to be completely indoors, making it perfect for a day out when temperatures outside reach their peak. A walk-through aviary allows visitors to get close to birds and smaller animals while ‘the cage’ area offers a view of larger mamals roaming freely in an open environment. Your mini nature lovers will love viewing the venomous vipers, spotting the endangered Arabian leopards and discovering life after dark in the nocturnal house.
Sunday – Thursday 9am – 5.30pm (closed on Tuesdays)
Friday 2pm – 5.30pm
Saturday: 11am – 5.30pm
Adults: AED 15, Children under 12 go free
Sharjah Desert Park, (+971) (0)6 5311999, www.sharjahmydestination.ae/en-us/Explore-Sharjah/Nature-Reserves
Get up close and personal with lots of beautiful butterflies in their specially built home just next to Dubai Miracle Garden. This mini garden-of-paradise is spread over several connected ‘domes’ complete with plants, colourful flowers, bird-song and lots and lots of butterflies! There are paths to meander, fruit feeding stations where you get to watch the insects feeding and special netted areas that allow the kids (and you!) to hold the butterflies. The domes are big enough to feel as though you’re having an adventure (and a bit of a walk!) but not so big to worry if the kids run off (which ours did – in search of butterflies amongst the blooms). Whatever’s going on with the humidity outside, the domes are maintained at a constant very pleasant temperature, making this attraction the perfect escape from the summer heat and a great place to fulfil your nature cravings! www.dubaibutterflygarden.com
Sometimes you find a little gem that just makes your heart sing and Al Noor Island is definitely one of them! Sharjah often gets forgotten about when we’re thinking of fun things to do as a fam but there are SO many reasons to visit – particularly now that we’ve discovered Al Noor Island, the newest family destination in Sharjah that’s all about sensory journeys in a Utopian landscape. From a beautiful butterfly house to artistic sculptures, maze gardens, magical illuminations and literary treasures plus so much more, the island is all about fun and learning as a family. There’s also an outdoor playground with plenty of open space, trees to hide behind and a natural landscape that mirrors that childhood idyll of roaming free – heavenly! Oh and the Al Noor Café, inside the Butterfly House, is the perfect place to sip on a latte in a lush green space that’s home to 500 exotic butterflies.
Lakes in the desert? No it’s not a mirage mamas – out beyond Arabian Ranches are a series of beautiful man-made lakes that a huge gaggle of geese, ducks, swans and over 130 species of other birds call home. Located in the middle of the Seih Al Salam desert and Bab Al Shams, the lakes were created by the civic body as part of an eco project and, in the summer, are the perfect place for an early morning or sunset picnic while the kids die their toes in the water. Head out on Umm Suqeim, parallel to the Al Qudra bike track until you get to the bike shop and roundabout – then prepare for a small amount of gentle off-roading.
While you can’t spend the day on the beach – you can head to the sea early morning or before sunset for a little dip! Yes the water is warm but it’s still good for the soul. Remember, Kite Beach will close on May 1st for the season and for some refurbishment so check out our roundup below of other beaches to try.
Read More: The Best Beaches In Dubai
The drive out to The Farm might be hot and dusty but once you turn off the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, it’ll all be worth it. An oasis in the desert, Al Barari is the most beautiful residential development (warning – you’ll have dreams of relocating there once you see it) that’s made up of over 80% green space, beautiful themed gardens, lakes and freshwater streams. And the best bit about this botanical haven (other than aforementioned villas to envy)? The Farm, a fabulous dining venue that serves everything from breakfast to dinner in a gorgeous setting surrounded by nature. The outside eating area is transformed with glass sides and aircon to keep you cool without taking away from the views. Head over for freshly baked bagels in the morning and soak up all that green over a latte or fresh juice (just make sure you book first – even brekkie is busy). And apparently all that vegetation makes Al Barari a whole 6 degrees cooler than the city – hooray!
Whenever we need a quick escape from home, Hatta calls – especially when temperatures in Dubai are high as they definitely feel cooler in the mountains. Take a Trip to Hatta where you can now kayak on the dam, explore the mountains and stay at the newly renovated Hatta Fort Hotel which is the closest thing we’ve found to that cosy ‘chalet’ feel complete with white washed wood and fluffy duvets – and those amazing mountain views plus lots of beautiful surrounding green garden space Read our review here.
For bookings and information visit www.jaresortshotels.com or call +971 4 809 9333
What? A real rainforest? In the desert? Ok so it may be smaller than the real thing but the flora and fauna that covers this relatively new indoor bio-dome plus the amazing creatures it houses are 100% genuine. An incredible eco project that aims to educate kids (and big people!) about the delicate balance of nature and ecosystems within an enchanting environment, this is one of the best places to connect with nature and let your kids explore the ‘wild’. The tropical forest simulates an expedition to the tropics, complete with over 3,000 plants and animals including insects, birds and sloths (yes, SLOTHS!). With majestic green trees, lush vegetation, a waterfall and more – set over a few levels – there are stations at which to stop and marvel and learn plus loads of green to soak up. The perfect summer activity for the whole fam.
Located just off Kite Beach (directly behind the skate park), this beautiful outdoor playscape has been lovingly created for kids aged between 1 and 12 years with everything from a vegetable patch and mini orchard to little ‘wadis’ to splash in, streams to navigate, beautifully crafted wooden play structures to climb, bunny rabbits to cuddle (plus a pony, chickens, tortoises and other gorgeous creatures, many of them rescues…) and barn-style indoor areas that offer arts and crafts plus special events and more. Set within the most beautiful natural environment complete with mature trees to climb, the lushest grass to roll around on and beautiful flowers among which to explore. And the best bit? Over the hotter months, this gorgeous space will be kept cool with mist machines – plus the kids can splash about in the water features and the Park House cafe will provide a lovely cool indoor space for ice-creams and snacks (it’ll be open during Ramadan too!)