Gone are the sculptures depicting mythological creatures and the UAE’s architectural marvels. In their place has risen a world inhabited by wild animals, big and small, herbivore and carnivore, carved in ice in intricate detail.
The inaugural Ice Park was a showcase of craftsmanship, with scaled-down versions of well-known landmarks and imaginary creatures - no mean feat chiselling out the world’s tallest building in ice, or for that matter, a fire-breathing dragon or a carriage pulled by a flawless Pegasus.
For the second season, the artistes faced a different challenge: to make the wildlife come alive through sculptures. Hundred-odd artistes from China and Russia have pulled that off, sculpturing more than 50 true-to-life animals within 60 days.
Taking pride of place in the second season is the UAE’s national bird and a symbol of its culture, the falcon. With outspread wings, the bird of prey perches in front of Shaikh Zayed Mosque, the only sculpture standing from the Ice Park’s first season.
Carved out of a single block of ice, a peacock with fanned out tail feathers keeps the falcon company. Finely sculptured eyespots in an elaborately designed plumage are a testament to the skill and mastery of the artistes.
Arabian horses with flowing manes and camels with well-defined humps add to the desert feel. But, it’s not just animals particular to the region that you can see at the Ice Park. As soon as you enter, you are treated to a family of pandas enjoying their snack. On the other side you can see deer locking horns with each other. Kangaroos, ostriches and chimpanzee adorn the place.
Make your way through a tunnel to the next section where huge giraffes offer the perfect backdrop for a fun family photo. This time around, it shouldn’t be hard to control your chattering teeth as you snap the selfie – instead of an icy seat, you get a colourful cushion to park yourself. Sit back and marvel at how the artistes converted 5,000 tonnes of ice into exemplary works of art. That is if you can take the temperature of -8 degrees Celsius in your stride.
Or you can venture into the area where the predators roam. From the king of the jungle to the fastest animal on land, majestic wild creatures built with great attention to detail will wow you.