Covering a total area of 119 hectares and built at a cost of Dh150 million, the Dubai Safari Park is located at Al Warqa, opposite Dragon Mart. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Authorities are working round the clock to open the Dubai Safari Park to the public by October and, with the Dubai Water Canal also expected to be inaugurated this year, the city is counting down to 16 project launches in 2016.

Ranging from the new fish market in Deira to the world’s largest ferris wheel at Bluewaters Island, residents will not be lost for choice when it comes to exploring Dubai’s newest attractions.

Dubai Municipality has released a 15-second video, giving residents a sneak peak into the development of the Dubai Safari Park project that will become home to over 1,000 animals from around the world, including more than 350 species of rare and endangered animals. The video only shows one section of the project, the African village, which is close to completion, leaving the waterfall and wadi as a surprise until its grand opening.

“The Safari Village is almost complete, which will house the animals. We are now finalising the last details of the main building’s façade, as well as the project’s landscape that will feature the elements of rock, water and earth,” said Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.

Diligent workers are currently focused on giving the final touches to the park’s facade and the main building. By the third quarter of 2016, the new zoo will also include an Arabian, Asian and African Village with architecture and landscaping to match, in addition to a butterfly park, a botanical garden, a resort and veterinary facilities.

“The new zoo will not be your average one and will be a completely different concept than the zoo we have now. The purpose will be to house the animals in safe conditions that meet high international standards, and at the same, give families and children to learn about the animals and their habitat in a fun yet educational way,” said Hanan Hassan Al Aradi, an official at Dubai Municipality working on the project.

Projects lined up for 2016 opening

1- Dubai Safari Park: Covering a total area of 119 hectares and built at a cost of Dh150 million, the safari park is located at Al Warqa, opposite Dragon Mart. When designing the green project, Dubai Municipality ensured that Dubai Safari Park will incorporate solar power, water recycling, waste disposal and other recycling facilities.

2- Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre: The Dh40-million observatory centre will be built by June at Mushrif Park in Mirdif, and will feature a space museum, gallery, a theatre and a one-metre telescope. The centre will also have a lecture theatre and scientific academy to hosts students from schools and universities.

3- Dubai Frame: Although the month for the Frame’s launch has not been revealed, Dubai Municipality has confirmed that the Dh160-million project will open in 2016. The project consists of two 150-metre high towers, connected by a 100 square metre bridge, where visitors can take in the panoramic views of Old and New Dubai. Located at Zabeel Park, the project will also feature a museum on the ground floor.

4- Dubai Ferris Wheel: The world’s largest ferris wheel, Dubai Eye, will be 210 metres high and is part of the Dh6-billion Bluewaters Island project near Jumeirah Beach Residence. Biult by Meraas Holding, the ferris wheel will have 48 capsules to hold 1,400 visitors, and offer breathtaking views of Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa.

5- IMG Worlds of Adventure: The 1.5 million square feet theme park is located in the heart of new Dubai and will open in early 2016. Tickets are priced at Dh300. The park will contain four zones: Marvel, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure, and IMG Boulevard, which will include 28 restaurants, 25 shops and 4,500 parking spaces.

6- Dubai Parks and Resorts: The theme park is expected to open in October 2016. Riverland Dubai will be both the main entrance to the resort and a connecting point between all three theme parks – Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, Legoland Dubai, Legoland Water Park and the Lapita Hotel, a Polynesian-themed hotel.

7- Deira Fish Market: The Dh250-million project is located opposite Dubai Hospital in Al Hamriya, and will meet the requirements of the community as a fish and vegetable market. The two-storey building will include 150 fruit and vegetable stands, 63 shops for spices, more than 70 meat outlets, and over 770 kiosks.

8- Dubai Opera House: The 2,000-seat, multi-format theatre is located at Downtown Dubai and is set to open in March. Once opened, the opera house will be the centrepiece of the Opera District, and will host opera, theatre, concerts, ballet, art exhibitions, orchestra, film, sports events and seasonal programmes.

9- Dubai Metro extension: The Roads and Transport Authority will start working on a 15-kilometre extension of the Dubai Metro, and will add seven stations connecting Dubai World Central Airport Al Maktoum International Airport and the Expo 2020 site with the rest of the city. The new stations will connect neighbourhoods at Discovery Gardens, Jumeirah Golf Estates, and Dubai Investments Park.

10- Dubai Water Canal: The three-kilometre canal originating in Business Bay will pass through Safa Park and Jumeirah, culminating in the Arabian Gulf. The project will create 80,000 square metres of new facilities with private marinas for boats, and will also host a shopping centre, four hotels, 450 restaurants, walkways and cycle paths.

11- City Walk Phase 2: While Phase 1 of the Meeras Holdings’ retail space is already up and running, the mixed use Phase 2 will add 10,000 square metres of retail area, in addition to residential units. Centrally located, the new complex will add to the bustling shopping and dine-out arcades on Al Wasl Road. The second phase is set to add an extra 10,000 square metres of retail space.

12- Used Furniture Market: Set to open in June, the second-hand market for furniture is located at Nad Al Sheba 3 at the end of Manama Street, and was built at a cost of Dh76.8 million. Covering 310,000 square metres, the market will feature 120 shops across six blocks, as well as administrative offices and a food court.

13- Palms Park: Located in Al Awir, the park covers 10.8 hectares and is designed in the shape of a palm tree, representing the UAE’s environment. The park will contain more than 1,400 palm trees and offer as many as 300 types of dates, which will be sold at the Date Souq within the park.

14- Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk: The Dh150-million waterfront attraction will run the full 11-kilometre length of Palm Jumeirah’s crescent. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2016 and will feature glass-encased cafes and restaurants with views of The Palm, Arabian Gulf and the Dubai skyline.

15- Marina 101 Tower: Dubai’s second tallest tower at 426 metres high will be located at Dubai Marina, and was originally scheduled for completion in 2012. Set for a 2016 opening, Marina 101 will be home to the Middle East’s first Hard Rock Hotel.

16- Nikki Beach: The international beach club is set to open on the manmade Pearl Jumeirah in February, and covers over 52,000 square metres. The Nikki Beach Restaurant and Beach Club will open next month, while the rest of the hotel and resort will open later, according to Meraas Holding.