Closed entrance of Dubai Zoo in Jumeirah. Image Credit: Sajila Saseendran/Gulf News


Wildlife lovers among residents and tourists in Dubai missed the chance to visit the zoo during the Eid holidays for the first time in five decades.

Dubai Safari Park, which opened its doors to the public in December last year, is the only place where visitors are allowed to be close to the animal world after the 50-year-old Dubai Zoo, one of the oldest in the Arabian peninsula, closed down in November.

Eid holidays had always been among the busiest days of the year at the old zoo in Jumeirah with Dubai Municipality recording the footfall of thousands of visitors at this once-popular destination of residents and tourists during both Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha.

With the Safari Park also temporarily closing from May 15 to October 1 for further upgrade, Eid revellers had no public wildlife park in Dubai to see animals this time.

Dubai Safari Park’s website clearly says “We are closed during the summer period. See you again in October.”

Yet, many families went to the new wildlife attraction in the emirate during Eid holidays, only to be turned away from the main entrance itself.

Rubeena Maharoof, a Dubai resident said her family planned to visit Dubai Safari on Sunday. “We were about to book the tickets online as we wanted to take our kids and my husband’s nephew’s kids there during the Eid holidays. But when I mentioned about our plan to one of friends, she told me it is closed. So, we had to drop the plan.”

Similarly, many families turned out at Dubai Zoo too not knowing that the facility had already been closed forever.

Amar Magar, a Nepalese man working in a restaurant in Mercato Mall near Dubai Zoo, said that he had seen many families parking their cars near the zoo and walking towards it. However, the security guard at the entrance had to turn them away and tell them to visit Dubai Safari in October.

Though some old and sick animals have yet to be shifted to Dubai Safari, the authorities have decided not to display them, sources told Gulf News.