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When kids and animals get together, it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn, to play - and to photograph. In the UAE, there are a number of creature meet-and-greets on offer, from eating with a leopard in the room to seeing penguins waddle about. Here’s a look at your beast-friendly options.
Image Credit: Supplied
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Meet the ponies: At the recently opened Dubai Safari Park, kids and meet some similar animals - cows, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, donkeys and ponies – at the kids’ farm. They can then head out to explore some of the 119-hectare area rich in wildlife. DETAILS: Dh50 for adults; Dh20 for children (above the age of three). Timings: 9am to 5pm.
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Eat next to a wild cat: At Emirates Park Zoo and Resort, you can not only see leopards but also you can eat with them at your table. The hour-and-a-half experience comes with a tour of the wildlife area; kids can ask all their burning questions about the resident animals. Then, you are taken to the Leopard Mouth Cave where you eat off a set menu, which is served by The Hide fine dining restaurant. You will be joined by an Amur leopard with whom you can take as many pictures as you’d like. DETAILS: The experience is priced at Dh170 for children between four and 12 years and Dh260 for adults.
Image Credit: Supplied
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Walk next to a peacock: JA Hatta Fort Hotel is a fun getaway for the whole family because there’s something for everyone. Whether you want to pet a deer or ride on a horse, the resort has you covered. Our best experience though? The peacocks – walk on the grounds and you might find yourself foot to claw with the resplendent bird.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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Pet a cat: New furry pals await your pets at the Cat Cafe Vibrissae. Whether it’s a question of wanting a pet but not being able to commit or just wanting to introduce your child to the benefits of animals, this café – where you can drink your coffee as you engage with a four-legged friends - is perfect. DETAILS: Open from 12pm-10pm. Al Safa Park Complex. Tickets: Dh49 (adults) and Dh39 (kids). Kids must be accompanied by at least one adult.
Image Credit: Instagram/@catcafevibrissae
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Meet a Sea Lion: At Atlantis Dubai, you can not only learn about sea lions you can also play with the cute creatures. Interactive experiences have been planned so your family can get to know these lovely creatures. DETAILS: The 10-15 minute Sea Lion Meet and Greet is suitable for all ages. All children under 12 years old must be accompanied by a participating and paying adult. Children 2 years old and below have complimentary access. Tickets come with access to Aquaventure Waterpark and discounted rates to the Aquarium for the day. Tickets for in-house guests: Dh425 (adult); Dh349 (child). For those not staying at Atlantis, tickets cost Dh575 (adult); Dh499 (child).Timings: 10am-4.30pm.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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Meet two penguins: At Ski Dubai, you can have a friendly and educational 40-minute Peng-Friend Encounter with two birds, King and Gentoo. DETAILS: Dh230 for the encounter, which includes a standard locker for your belongings, Ski Dubai trousers and jackets in multiple sizes. Helmets and socks also come with the package. Children under two years of age are not permitted inside Ski Dubai. Peng-Friend Encounters take place from midday onwards and run every half hour until 9pm.
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Feed a giraffe: At the Al Ain Zoo, you can feed these long limbed friends carrots and lettuce. DETAILS: Dh31.50 for four people; timings: 2pm-7pm. Call 800966 to check availability.
Image Credit: Instagram/@alainzoouae
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Swim with sharks: At the world’s biggest aquarium at The Dubai Mall, you can go diving with sand tiger sharks, reef sharks, leopard sharks, tawny nurse sharks, giant groupers and stingrays, and a whole host of other marine animals. DETAILS: Dh790. Advance bookings are required; call 04 3422 993, WhatsApp 056 829 6923 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Non-certified divers can also enjoy this experience – but they’ll need to undergo additional training with Al Boom Diving.
Image Credit: Instagram/@dubaiaquarium
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Check out the snakes: At Dubai’s indoor forest, The Green Planet, you can meet a number of animals including reptiles such as lizards, geckos and snakes. DETAILS: Twenty-minute encounters happen twice a day, at 12.30pm and 4.30pm. Cost: Dh254 per person.
Image Credit: Sandra Albanesi/Gulf News reader
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Hug a camel: At the Camel Farm, you can undertake a number of fun activities including feeding camels and other small farm animals, taking rides and camel hugging therapy. DETAILS: A guided visit of the farm including feeding of camels and small farm animals is Dh50 per person. Entry is free for kids under three. Camel Hugging Therapy is Dh30.
Image Credit: Shutterstock