Mama & The Kids Check Out Orbi & Get To The Heart Of Nature
Anything that gets the kids close to nature and gives them an understanding of the world beyond our desert landscape gets a massive thumbs up from me, so when Orbi opened its doors a couple of months ago, I couldn’t wait to check it out. Unlike any other attraction in Dubai, Orbi is an interactive space in Mirdif City Centre which fuses content by BBC Earth with state of the art multi-sensory technology by SEGA. The result? A really fun space where you and the kids can learn a little about some of the wonderful creatures and environments on our planet (and all in the comfort of the a/c – bliss!).
Divided into 12 different nature zones, Orbi is a little bit like a virtual wildlife park where the kids can get up close to creatures big and small. First up? the chance to learn all about sharks with a Tom Cruise/Minority Report style screen (minus Tom, sadly) which my eldest (at the grand old age of 7) could master but the younger 2 didn’t get but loved nonetheless! Also in this central area are the most amazing structures of caterpillars and other bugs, covered in digital imagery and responsive to touch (cue much stroking from the kids who loved watching them shudder and shake!) and a giant screen showing gorgeous clips of everything from rainforests to deserts, so large and mesmerising that they make you feel like you’ve traveled a million miles.
Orbi isn’t a large space but there’s plenty for the kids to explore and learn about. Our faves? The Earth Theatre, a 35-metre-wide screen (btw that’s massive in screen-talk) with an incredible 3D sound system where the natural world comes to life through all your senses – I’m talking smell (fragrances are pumped into the space), vibration (the room shook – I promise) and weather (we had a cool breeze blowing!). Our film saw us ‘traveling’ to the Kalahari Desert to meet a family of Meerkats, a mix of funny and informative with the stunning camera work for which the BBC has become known.
The other zones included Africa, where we experienced the ground shake while in the centre of an elephant migration, a 4D view of mountain gorillas and the chance to see what the sub zero temperatures of Mount Kenya feel like in a simulator which pumps out freeeezing air (don’t worry, thermal jackets are available for the kids and anyone who can’t handle the chill – we live in a desert after all).
My kids are aged 7, 5 and 4 – and while Orbi kept them all entertained, it was really my eldest who got the most out of it and who I’d love to return with for the chance to check it out properly without chasing 2 little monkeys around. That said, those monkeys have surprised me by quoting random facts about animals and the earth at me when I least expect it, so they clearly took more from the visit than the stuffed toy I was forced (by tantrum) to purchase in the gift store on the way out. A must for any nature loving kiddos and a great way to spend a hot summers morning before lunch and a mooch around the shops (gotta love Mirdif City Centre), and a great way to see some of the world without ever leaving Dubai.
Open Weekdays (Sun-Wed) 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m and Weekends (Thu-Sat) 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight