Tourism

Discover 10 fascinating places for cool animal encounters, including breakfast with giraffes!

Whether you are an animal lover or a parent looking to give your children an unforgettable experience, the UAE offers a host of incredible destinations where you can have unique encounters with creatures normally only seen on screens.

From majestic tigers, graceful giraffes and gentle elephants to elegant flamingos and graceful gazelles, the United Arab Emirates is the habitat of a wide range of exotic animals.

Visitors not only have the opportunity to observe these creatures but can also participate in special wildlife encounters.

How about enjoying breakfast with a giraffe or perhaps feeding the crocodiles?

Here is a list of must-visit zoos and wildlife parks in the United Arab Emirates:

Al Ain Zoo, Abu Dhabi

Al Ain Zoo is a big favorite among children. Founded in 1968 by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, it is the largest zoo in the Middle East.

This zoo is more than a tourist attraction, it is a center of environmental, recreational and educational excellence. With an area of ​​4 km, it is home to more than 4,000 animals of 200 species.

The zoo offers unique experiences, from walking with lemurs and chatting with keepers to exciting cheetah racing and serene penguin encounters.

Visitors can also enjoy events such as breakfast with the giraffes, making Al Ain Zoo an unforgettable destination for both fun and education.

Ticket price: 31.50 dirhams

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, Dubai

Located in the heart of Dubai, Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is a paradise for migratory birds.

This wetland reserve offers a serene environment for bird watchers and nature lovers. Flamingos, herons and a variety of other species create a picturesque scene against the city skyline.

Open all year round, winter hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and entry to the sanctuary is free.

Free pass

Dubai Safari Park

Dubai Safari Park is home to around 3,000 animals, with 78 species of mammals (including 10 different carnivores and 17 primates), 50 types of reptiles, 111 types of birds, plus amphibians and invertebrates, all of which live on this vast site spanning more than 119 hectares.

There is also a wide variety of wildlife including lions, giraffes and elephants.

Visitors can see live shows, including the Amazing Creatures of the World and the Bird of Prey Show, at the park’s theaters.

The park recently reopened its doors for its new season.

Ticket options: Day pass or safari trip, with rates ranging from Dh50 to Dh110 per adult.

Arabian Wild Animal Zoo, Sharjah

The Arabian oryx, Arabian leopard and other wild animals are among the species that can be seen at the Arabian Animal and Wildlife Zoo, which is located in Sharjah Desert Park.

The zoo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sharjah.

Sharjah Desert Park is also one of the only parks in the emirate to have a conservation center and an Islamic botanical garden. The park’s children’s area has a petting zoo, making it one of the favorite places to visit with the family.

Safari in Sharjah

Experience a true adventure on the world’s largest safari outside of Africa. For those seeking an immersive wildlife safari experience, Sharjah Safari offers an exciting journey through the dunes with a focus on indigenous wildlife.

It is home to more than 120 species of animals, which live in Africa, and up to 50,000 animals, ranging from birds, reptiles and mammals; such as lions, elephants, giraffes, black and white rhinos, crocodiles, deer, bulls and many other endangered animals.

Tickets: Rates start at Dh40 for a walking tour and can go up to Dh275 for ages 12 and up.

Pygmy Zoo, Ajman

The Ajman Pygmy Zoo, located in Al Zorah Marina, is the ideal place if you want to interact with the animals.

Families flock to this family paradise for a day of outdoor fun, as it is a perfect place for the little ones. The zoo offers a variety of activities, from animal encounters to camel and pony rides, and the chance to play with adorable puppies. The bird enclosure is a must-see as it displays a variety of species for an interactive experience.

Don’t miss the chance to capture Insta-worthy moments with Australian macaws and interact with miniature animals like hedgehogs and pygmy goats.

Opening hours are from 3 to 10 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and from 1 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Admission: 5 dirhams per person

Emirates Park Zoo and Resort, Abu Dhabi

Emirates Park Zoo and Resort in Abu Dhabi is a hub for family wildlife encounters.

Imagine having breakfast with a giraffe or hand-feeding a friendly hippopotamus – these unique experiences make the zoo a must-visit destination. Visitors can enjoy the sea lion and bird show; Marvel at the world of reptiles by feeding a crocodile; and embark on enchanting adventures with camel, pony and horseback riding.

It is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

Tickets: 50 dirhams per head.

Sir Baniyas Island, Abu Dhabi

More than half of this island is the Arabian Wildlife Park, a huge reserve with more than 17,000 animals in the wild, such as Arabian oryx, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs.

Here, families can embark on nature and wildlife safaris, guided by experts in special vehicles. The island’s state-of-the-art stables offer various equestrian activities and lessons for everyone.

The park is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

RAK Zoo

Ras Al Khaimah Zoo is a hidden gem in the Northern Emirates and showcases a wide range of animals.

Ranked as the third largest zoo in the United Arab Emirates, it is home to a captivating array of wildlife, including white tigers, lions, cheetahs, deer, wild buffalo and even Arabian wolves.

Visitors can rent club cars on site for a leisure ride around the animal house.

Ticket price: 40 dirhams

The wildlife zoo, Umm Al Quwain

The Zoo Wildlife Park is a much-loved place for nature enthusiasts.

Among its star attractions are the majestic golden tabby tiger, orangutans, playful Habouba lemurs and graceful giraffes.

Open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the park invites you to immerse yourself in the wonders of the animal kingdom.

Ticket price: 25 dirhams

News Source: Khaleej Times

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