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The first visitors to the 10th edition of the Dubai Miracle Garden: (Clockwise from top) Ehsaan Ali, Ayesha and Asmara; Abigail Attard and Owen Azzopardi; and Max Brand and Zippy. Image Credit: Anjana Kumar/Gulf News

Dubai: The 10th edition of the Dubai Miracle Garden, the largest natural flower garden in the world, opened to the public this morning, offering a whole new range of features. And who better than the first-day, first-show visitors to tell us what they entail.

For American visitors to Dubai from New York, Max Brand, 73 and his wife Zippy, 72, the sight of the 150 million-plus flowers and plants was simply spellbinding. “It is absolutely magnificent and so well done,” said Max.

“We are mesmerised by the beauty of the floral arrangements. We are on our last leg of our visit to Dubai and this is a fitting finale,” said Zippy.

Maltese millennials Abigail Attard, 22 and Owen Azzopardi said the flowers are spectacular. They were also excited to see the Smurfs Village, a new feature at the Miracle Garden. “We are on a visit to Dubai and are leaving tomorrow. Miracle Garden was a must visit for us. That is why we decided to see it on the first day of its opening. It is very family friendly and the floral arrangements are so beautiful. I have never seen anything like this before,” said Abigail.

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Dubai Miracle Garden is photograher's delight. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The garden has been decked up with a range of floral installations offering a multi-sensory experience. The over-150 million flowers and plants cover more than 120 varieties, some of which are rare and not cultivated anywhere else in the Gulf region.

Pakistani national Ehsaan Ali, 38, who was visiting the garden with his wife Ayesha, 31, and daughter, Asmara, 8, said he could not miss a visit to the Miracle Garden. “We live in Saudi Arabia and just had to make it here today,” he said.

So what exactly appealed to the visitors?

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There's something for everyone at the botanical garden. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

As Abdel Naser Rahhal, creator and co-founder of Dubai Miracle Garden and vice chairman of Cityland Group, the developer of the botanical project, said: “The garden offers visitors a walk amidst floral spaces after being confined to their homes for long periods thanks to the pandemic. Our team has worked hard to ensure the new installations at Dubai Miracle Garden, especially The Smurfs-inspired attractions, bedazzle the visitors. The garden is an opportunity to feel at one with nature in a safe and fun environment.”

The Smurfs theme

Visitors were quite taken in by the garden’s Smurfs theme. The Smurfs is a children’s-favourite comic and animation franchise centered on a fictional community of small blue creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest.

Abdel said: “The Smurfs Village and The Smurfs characters allow visitors to see the mushroom houses and experience the atmosphere of the lost Smurfs village.”

The Smurfs Village: New attraction Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Alongside is a newly designed clock, also related to the Smurfs theme.

What’s more, a special Smurf Village Attraction Area hosts tens of life-sized mushroom houses and will be fully decked with furniture inspired from the animated film series. Families can enter these mushroom houses and share the experience and joy of living as a character from The Smurfs. At night, these mushroom houses will come alive with special light effects.

“We chose Smurfs because we know that all generations love Smurfs, and we knew that we could provide a unique experience to our guests. Our goal is when visitors of all ages get inside the lost Smurfs village, they will be amused by how realistic the atmosphere is. With the smoke going out of the fireplaces inside the mushroom houses, the visitors will feel like they are walking inside the authentic Smurfs village,” explained Abdel.

The same section features Smurf Topiaries with giant green structures decorated with vibrant flowers, and the ‘Central Plaza’ in the vicinity welcomes visitors to see their favourite Smurf characters interact with the botanical wonders of the garden in interesting poses.

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There are over 150 million flowers in Dubai Miracle Garden. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Floating rock

Also a huge draw among the visitors was a newly designed three-dimensional clock, a ‘floating rock’ with a fountain, floral peacocks, as well as two floral exhibits inspired by children’s favourite characters: a ‘Genie’ that stands almost 15 metres tall and a ‘flying magic carpet’.

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A ‘Genie’ that stands almost 15 metres tall and a ‘flying magic carpet’ are among the many new features at the garden this year. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The Genie can go out of his lamp, which is one-of=a-kind design. Visitors could also go inside the Genie and take pictures standing on top of his shoulder, which will be a unique experience. These new attractions are in addition to the garden’s existing suite of floral displays: such as the green sculpted Emirates A380 that made it into the Guinness Book of Records, ballet dancers, an amphitheatre-cum-observatory that hosts live performances, a ‘Floral Castle’ and much more.

Timings, ticket prices

Dubai Miracle Garden is open daily, from 9am until 9pm during weekdays and extends until 11pm on weekends (Friday and Saturday) and public holidays.

Cost of the tickets: Dh55 for adults and children over 12 years old; Dh40 for children 12 years old and below. Free entry for children below three years of age and people of determination. Prices are inclusive of VAT.

As part of a promotion, for every four tickets to Expo 2020, one free entry ticket to the adjoining Butterfly Garden is being given.