Parks in Dubai have sometimes been neglected as people were more inclined to visit swankier malls. No longer. Today, the emirate’s parks are engaging spaces that attract growing numbers. Thanks to Dubai Municipality’s recent focus on getting residents outdoors, parks in this city are the places to be. Gulf News goes exploring.
Thanks to the ever-cosmopolitan nature of the emirate, Dubai Municipality has offered a multitude of parks for residents and visitors alike.
“Dubai Garden Glow is an initiative with a private sector partnership along with the government of Dubai,” says Juma Khalifa Al Fuqaei, Director of Assets Management Department at Dubai Municipality. “It consists of two parts: the LED light parks and dinosaur parks.”
“The Dubai Garden Glow park is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Dubai,” says Al Fuqaei. “So far we have had around half a million visitors to the park and we expect 200,000 more. This particular initiative started in November 2016 and will go on for six months until May.”
Discussing Dubai Garden Glow, he says, “One of the strategic goals of Dubai Municipality is to attract investors in Dubai itself. Another strategy is to bring tourists here. As everyone is aware, having won the international bid to host the World Expo 2020, we are expecting 25 million tourists from around the world. We look at this park to attract both residents and tourists. It is built for every member of the family. We are focused on these two aspects.”
Speaking about Dinosaur Park, the largest of its kind in the region, Al Fuqaei says, “Children like to know more about the era of dinosaurs, which have vanished from the planet. For us, the Dinosaur Park at Dubai Garden Glow is more educational. Children can see when the dinosaur is born, the various stages of the egg and the life cycle of the dinosaur. We also have a dinosaur lab that is educational and informative for the children of the family.”
The park is filled with fascinating light displays that are unique to Zabeel Park alone. “When it comes to the Dubai Garden Glow lights, these are more like models that offer various attractions for visitors. This was a great initiative by the private sector and we have encouraged it and we have given all the required support to make it a successful project.
“The Dubai Garden Glow park is a five-year project. But what is unique about it is that each year has a different concept and theme. Next year we hope it will be even more interactive for visitors. The investor is constantly coming up with new initiatives and ideas.”
“In Dubai Municipality, we have different projects in different parks,” explains Al Fuqaei. “In Dubai Creek Park we have a theme park that has just opened. In other parks, such as in Nad Al Sheba, we have the private sector working in partnership with Dubai Municipality. A Climbing in the Trees project has just been initiated. We also have bicycle parks and a cinema motor theatre in the desert.”
Looking ahead, Dubai Municipality has partnered with Dubai Holding to build the biggest park in the emirate, which is underway and will soon be announced to the public.
Visitors to the city can also visit other parks managed by Dubai Municipality. These include Al Mamzar Park, Safa Park, Zabeel Park, Mushrif Park and Creek Park.
“Having lived in Dubai for so many years, Dubai Garden Glow is the best place to bring my nieces,” says Kristina Shotton, a Swedish UAE resident. “It is also the perfect venue to step out and get some fresh air.”
As Shotton walks past a colourful display of a multitude of lanterns, it’s almost hard to keep up with her. “I enjoy coming here for some good exercise.”
Dubai Garden Glow also has a large stage area where jugglers and acrobats perform for visitors. There is a large restaurant area within the park where families can sit down for a cup of coffee. The park has ten themed landmarks, including a Burj Khalifa replica made entirely of medicine bottles.
We meet Irfan, who resides in the UK and is visiting Dubai Garden Glow for the first time. “I’ve never really seen a park like this before. There are so many activities here, which add a nice touch.”
On a final note, Al Fuqaei adds, “I want to encourage people to come to the Dubai Garden Glow Park. The prices are reasonable and it is a nice place to socialise.”
Entry to DGG is Dh60 with free entry for children below three years and for disabled guests. The park is open from 4pm to midnight from Saturday to Wednesday and 4pm-1am on Thursday and Friday.