New Year 2021 celebrations at the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi
File photo of Sheikh Zayed Festival. This year's season will start from November 17, 2023 and continue until March 9, 2024. Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: From learning about the UAE’s heritage to enjoying a fun-filled time with your family, there’s a new cultural experience available to UAE residents now – the Sheikh Zayed Festival’s new season has started from November 17.

The popular festival is held in the Al Wathba area in Abu Dhabi, with several cultural and entertainment activities organised, for people of all ages.

Here is all you need to know about what to expect and how to get there.

New Year celebrations at Sheikh Zayed Festival Abu Dhabi . Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

New attractions at Sheikh Zayed Festival

Here is a list of just a few of the events and activities on offer at the festival:

Flying Cup

Festival visitors will be able to have a unique culinary experience, while they will be able to get a bird’s eye view of the festival’s activities and attractions through the Flying Cup.

Arabian Horse Shows

There are also horse shows planned for the event, in collaboration with the Emirates Arabian Horse Association.

Camping Village

If you are camping enthusiast, you will also be able to have a fun outdoor experience at the camping village, which will have special lighting, as well as sports matches being relayed on screens that have been set up. The village will open from December 27, 2023.

Children's City

New Year 2021 celebrations at the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi
New Year 2021 celebrations at the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Clint Egbert

The Children's City will feature more than 30 different workshops for children up to the age of 14, as well as 12 different events including competitions, prizes, and live performances on stage. The City includes a special section for games, art, face painting as well as VR games, e-sports, theatre, and talent competitions.

China Town

The Chinese Market is a new feature at the Festival this year, offering an opportunity to explore diverse Chinese and Asian products as you stroll down a Chinese-style street that reflects the country’s culture.

Crazy Car

The Crazy Car arena features safe small cars suitable for children.

Fun Fair City

This is the festival’s amusement park, which will offer rides, games, and attractions, suitable for all age groups.

Go Karting Competitions

A children’s Go karting competition will also be held, where they can participate in a 5-minute competition, trying to complete the circuit without falling out.

Haunted Mansion

This is the biggest escape room in Abu Dhabi, more suitable for thrill seekers.

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Image Credit: File photo

International Shows, theatre performances and cultural pavilions

Visitors will also be able to explore the culture and products of different countries, that are participating in the event.

Military heritage music show

Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Festival will also give you the chance to learn more about the UAE's military history and accomplishments by following the special performances of the military band that will roam the Festival's pavilions daily, playing heritage music.

Wildlife Secrets Sanctuary

The festival also has a lot to offer for Nature lovers, with a dedicated sanctuary that allows them to learn about rare and endangered animals. You will be able to see and interact with rare species of animals and birds.

Multiple food options

There are also several food and beverage options for visitors – from traditional UAE food items to street food, and international cuisine.

Drone shows, weekly fireworks display

Sheikh Zayed Festival
Image Credit: WAM

There are also elaborate drone shows at the festival, as well as fireworks display every Saturday at 10pm.

How to get there

If you are driving to the festival, the easiest way to reach the festival is to take the Sheikh Zayed Road E11 and then take the exit for Al Ain Road/E22. Merge on to the Al Wathba Road and then on to Lane 2121. At the roundabout, take a left towards Lane 2124, which will lead you to the festival entrance.

How long is the festival going to be on for?

The festival starts now and will continue until March. These are the exact dates of the Sheikh Zayed Festival:

From November 17, 2023 to March 9, 2024.

Festival timings:

4pm to 12am on weekdays
4pm to 1am on weekends and public holidays

Entrance fees:

Dh10 per person

People of Determination, children under three years of age and seniors (60+ years old) are exempt from fees.