A green summer in Dubai!
Right about this time of year we begin to crave a little green in our lives, mamas. The outside looks fresh and inviting but open that door and it’s another story. While the parks might be out of action for a couple of months, we’ve rounded up some places to get your green fix in Dubai over the summer – from play areas to cafés, spas to garden centres and much more. Because a little green goes a long way in keeping us all happy and sane! Enjoy!
Here’s to a great, green Dubai summer mamas!
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.
City Walk (behind phase 2)
Open Sat – Weds 10am – 10pm, Thurs & Fri 10am – Midnight
Anything that brings us closer to nature gets a huge Sassy Mama seal of approval and Dubai’s latest 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.
Magic Planet, South Level 1, Mirdif City Centre
Open Sun – Weds 10am – 10pm, Thurs – Sat 10am – Midnight
telephone: +9714 231 625
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!
The Farm at Al Barari – Opposite Falcon City
Open 7 days a week from 7.30am – 10.30pm
Tel: +971 (0) 4 392 5660
How does an indoor air-conditioned secret garden sound? Pretty tempting yes? This bohemian paradise is the perfect place to relax and recharge and – while they’re not open during Ramadan- they’ll be back up and running in July and offering a much-needed respite from the heat. Fancy having breakfast and coffee (or lunch) at rustic wooden tables in a chilled tent, surrounded by greenery and plenty of positive energy to help get you through the hottest and most humid of days? Yes, of course you do, mamas, especially when we tell you that the menu here is super healthy. Everything is gluten, dairy and sugar-free so you can tuck in without any guilt (their juices and smoothies are incredible). A trip to Life’n One feels like you’ve had a mini taste of Asia, complete with lush surroundings and a mega-relaxed vibe. Perfect.
Life’n One, Jumeirah Beach Road, 27b Street community 332, Villa 5/1b Jumeirah 1 (behind Magrudy’s)
Tel: +971 (0) 4 343 6676
An absolute favourite with our kids, head to the Dubai Garden Centre and 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 and slice of homebaked cake at the Rose Leaf Café (not open during Ramadan but will be for July and August) – surrounded by all of the indoor plants and flowers.
Dubai Garden Centre, off SZR between Umm Suqeim Street and Al Manara
Open 7 days a week from 8am – 10pm
Tel: +971 (0) 4 340 0006
Finally it’s possible to play outdoors in the summer (well, kind of). Kids Connection is a kiddie play area designed to look like a park, complete with painted trees and blue skies plus little benches dotted around for mama to watch the littles frolic from. There are swings, slides, see-saws, trampolines and more – essentially your gang can get busy doing whatever they would in a park – all the fun without the sweltering temperatures: perfect! Kids Connection is rarely jam-packed, making it all the more appealing; the feeling of space is ideal and the kiddos love it.
Kids Connection, Wafi Mall, Oud Metha Road
Open daily from 10am – 10pm
Tel: +971(0) 4 327 9011
City Walk’s brand new play space is divided into different zones – all of which are amazing (full review coming soon) but it’s the Barney area on the top floor that our contributor Louise enjoyed the most. Peaceful and decorated to look like an outdoor park, there were slides to whizz down and rope ladder bridges to scramble across plus mini climbing walls and wooden benches to chillax on. The walls are painted with trees and birdsong is piped into the space to complete the vibe. It’s pricey but a fabulous summer treat.
Mattel Play! Town, City Walk Dubai (‘J’ Parking Section)
Open daily from 10am -10pm
Tel: +971 (0) 4317 3999
Roll your buggy in for a freshly squeezed juice or homemade cake (plus plenty of healthy homemade options for breakfast, lunch or dinner) at this friendly little Palm Jumeirah local. The staff are super relaxed about kids romping about and the fresh interiors – complete with ‘waterfall and forest walls’ – basically dramatic digitally printed images of lush green trees and cascading waterfalls that look good enough to jump into – offer a welcome respite from the heat. The café is dotted with huge potted plants for an extra green touch. And they’re open during Ramadan mamas!
Sophie’s, Lower Ground Floor, RIVA Beach Club, Building 8, Shoreline Apartments, Palm Jumeirah
Open daily from 7am – 9pm (and during Ramadan too!)
Tel: +971 (0) 4451 5982
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!
Dubai Butterfly Garden, Dubailand (near Arabian Ranches)
Open daily from 9am – 9pm (best to call to check timings on the day you want to visit as they can change)
Tel: +971 (0) 4 422 8902
Aveda’s flagship lifestyle salon and spa is now open and ready to pamper you with all-natural plant and flower-based treatments – hooray! A Chakra station allows you to have your chakra (energy) read – plus there’s everything from haircare to beauty treatments over two floors with beautiful views of the city and a focus on environmental awareness. And the reason we love it (other than all of that stuff and more) is the feeling of calm and the gorgeous green elements – particularly the living wall – the perfect place to zen out while your nails dry.
AVEDA, Galleria Mall, Jumeirah
Open 10am – 10pm daily
Tel: +971 (0) 800 AVEDA
The Ranches are a green haven as it is – especially the perfectly maintained golf course (oh, how we’d love to run around on the grass!). Maison Mathis is just on the edge of the golf course and if you’re looking for that outdoor feeling without sweating it outside then their conservatory is the place to be. With golf-course views (you can’t get much greener than that), the ceiling is also woven with green leaves that allow dappled light to get through. Whether you’re looking for a full English breakfast, lunch with the girls or a family dinner somewhere that feels alfresco, this is your place. Open during Ramadan too!
Maison Mathis, Arabian Ranches
Open daily from 7am – 2am (and open during Ramadan)
Tel: +971 (0)4 450 1313
Featured image via Pinterest
This post was first published in May 2016 and has been updated