Want to do something different and exciting this weekend? Head for a walking safari at Dubai Garden Glow’s Ice Park, where art and nature converge to showcase wildlife.
Unlike other safaris, you are never in any danger of being eaten up alive on this one. Instead you get to soak up the beauty and glory of wild animals sculpted in ice.
“We came from Abu Dhabi to see the Ice Park because it's a rare place in the UAE,” says Ahmad Al Awadhi. The UAE national is at the park with his wife, Dina, and two-year-old daughter, Maha. “Tourists are coming from all over the world to visit this place, so we thought, why don't we try it?”
With more than 50 sculptures - made from 5,000 tonnes of ice - arranged beautifully at the venue, the Ice Park is a wonder to behold. In its second season, the park has swapped man-made wonders for the wonders of the wild. So instead of architectural delights such as Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, you get to see Arabian horses, mountain gazelles, camels and falcons sharing space with Shaikh Zayed Mosque, the only sculpture remaining from the first season.
Do not be under the impression that you can only sight indigenous wildlife at the park. From kangaroos, ostriches and pandas to giraffes, gorillas, leopards, tigers and lions the selection is truly global, so be sure to spot your favourite creature.
“I liked all the sculptures, especially the mosque, and all the animals,” say Al Awadhi. “We enjoyed it.
“But it’s very cold.”
That’s a refrain you hear a lot. You would be forgiven for thinking that you are in an art gallery in a cold country where freezing temperatures are the norm, for the temperature inside the park is indeed a minus 8-degree Celsius.
For Vladimir and Anastasija Poborcevs, who are visiting the UAE from Lithuania, the Ice Park feels like home.
“It's a little bit warmer than Lithuania,” says Anastasija.
Vladimir is impressed by the works of art surrounding him. “It’s beautiful,” he says. “It looks like nature.”
Equally blown away by the craftsmanship is Iranian visitor, Hassan Hussaini, on his first trip to the UAE with his wife, Mariam.
“This place is amazing and all the sculptures are so true to life,” he says. “They show the creativity of the artistes.”
More than 100 artistes from China and Russia collaborated across two months to build this wonder world in ice, creating a venue for families to enjoy and share a lasting and memorable experience, or just have some fun.
“It’s a good place for children to enjoy their weekend,” says Bangladeshi expat Atiquzzaman, visiting the park with his wife, Sharmin Afroz, and their children, eight-year-old Safwan and six-year-old Sabeen.
“For our children, it’s an adventure,” says Sharmin. “And it’s great to experience the icy-cold right here in Dubai.”
While Sharmin is awestruck by the sculpture of the leopard all ready to pounce, it’s the igloo and kangaroos that wow the kids.
With breathtaking sculptures forming beautiful backdrops for gorgeous frames and memorable selfies, the park is a treasure trove of options for that perfect photograph. So be it by the Shaikh Zayed Mosque, the igloo, or the intricately designed falcon, giraffes or leopard, these beautifully carved sculptures will ensure you look back to your visit to the Ice Park with great fondness.