Eid after Eid and year after year, we anticipate for weeks with bated breath for holidays and long weekends. Since we fall in the category of private sector, most of the times we are left disappointed and grunting under our nose. This year Eid ul Adha holidays for companies other than public were declared from Friday to Sunday, from which Friday and Saturday were usual weekend days for most. Never mind all the blabber about the festival day-offs scene in UAE and let me tell you how fruitful even one day of our official break had been.
A few abrupt calls from friends later, we planned for a half-day trip to Emirates Park Zoo for children to have a gala time. Or may be, us too in the midst of running around after kids! A group of three families and 4 children plonked in one car and headed straight to the capital singing along, making merry or just cackling with loud laughters. Road to Abu Dhabi is pretty straight
and quite boring unlike the scenic view we encountered en route to Fujairah on our last road trip this year. On a note to throw some light on Little A’s background – he loves animals. While his mom would be petrified of carrying a cat or stroking a street dog or simply feeding few animals that we met at PoshPaws, Little A will do all of this and more without any reservations. We always wanted to visit Emirates Park Zoo but just held back for Little A to grow a little older. Now that he has an understanding of most of the animals and birds from the books that he has lovingly stocked, we felt we can now tick this off our list.
With admission fees of 30 Aed for adults and 20 AED per child, entry to the zoo was quite cheap. Before you enter the zoo, you may want to freshen up after a long drive of between 1 and 2 hours, so there’s a Subway and a cafetaria alongwith the restrooms just next door for this purpose. Though there are restrooms available inside the zoo every few steps away, the one outside is fairly neat and clean. Moment you walk out of the entrance to the zoo park, there are men selling bunches of leaves that you can buy to feed Giraffes and Zebras which are the first attractions to be noticed. It was a great experience feeding them off our hands and watching children sparkle and exclaim with excitement with every bunch that was chewed off their little hand. Don’t be surprised if they ask for a few extra chances more! This is just the start.
I loved how the area of the zoo is divided into different sections for birds, air conditioned room for reptiles and fishes (both separate and sealed), wild animals etc. It made it easy for us as a group to move around and tick off each segment in an organized way. As you walk around, there are number of cafeterias or small stalls selling something to eat or drink. So you can take small intervals and re-hydrate yourself for the next walking march. There is a bird aviary with different birds from all over, a few singing and a couple of ducks roaming around in the open. You can just go in any directions you want but as we came out from the division that housed birds, we met friendly camels, ostriches, goats on our way.
As we climbed some steps and descended others on the opposite side, we noticed signs for where we’d get to look closely at wild animals. There is a wall all around with big glass windows from where we could spot lions, cheetah and a white tiger. Unfortunately, they were asleep and quite far away which really didn’t do any magic on children. I was dumbfounded when I saw a large white tiger breathing heavily in his sound sleep just under the window from where we could see him.
Best part of this zoo is that it is mostly covered, so this was perfect considering it was still not very comfortable to be out in the heat even though it is October. There are shalets available inside the zoo if you are willing to spend a night in the resort to get up, close and personal with the animals. There are numerous deals coming every month which are easy to grab from sites like Cobone, Triperna, Yalla Banana, Groupon etc.; but I wonder how they’d smell from the inside considering the enclosures for animals are just literally outside the hotel room doors.
Keeping that argument aside, Emirates Park Zoo is a great must visit if you are living in UAE – both for children and adults to spend some quality time with the creatures of nature. I’d love to know how you spend your long holidays/breaks in UAE or in any country that you live.