Blend with nature
The Aquarium in Dubai Mall hosts tonnes of marine life, and is free to visit.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi are taking a conscious effort to turn eco-friendly
When one talks about 'green tourism', the UAE might not be the first place that springs to mind, because of its cosmopolitan space with sprawling towers and glassy skyscrapers. However, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has launched The UAE National Ecotourism Project to promote the wildlife within the region, to residents and tourists alike.
Visitors can go snorkelling in the ocean, explore the desert on a safari, go birdwatching, and more during the calmer winter months. During the summer, there are a variety of indoor activities as well, including visiting the Falcon Hospital, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, as well as drop by the Green Planet.
One fun activity is flamingo watching at the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve in Abu Dhabi. The reserve is an attempt to provide access to conservation areas, so people can enjoy the natural landscape and spread awareness about the importance of maintaining greenery.
The reserve is home to more than 250 species of birds, insects, and small reptiles; a specific viewing deck has been constructed on the fringe of the waterway so people can sit, enjoy a picnic, and watch the birds in their natural habitat with a pair of binoculars. The UAE's diverse flora and fauna means that they are home to a large variety of birds.
For indoor adventures, the Green Planet in Dubai is a facility that is built around a giant tree, making it the largest indoor, man-made, life-sustaining tree in the world. The entire facility houses over 3,000 plants and animals, and is a treat to visit to get back to nature.
During your walk, keep an eye out for sloths, parrots, and toucans. The facility also has plenty of interactive educational equipment for children to learn more about what an ecosystem is, about the rainforest, and the animals within.
For all bird lovers out there, the Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi allows organised tours through the vicinity, beginning with a history of falconry in the Middle East. The tour lasts approximately two hours, and tourists can watch simple procedures on some of the admitted falcons. Photography is encouraged to help spread awareness about the birds and the hospital, and you are allowed to hold one of the falcons as well.
The success of the Falcon Hospital has resulted in expansion, with doctors treating other injured animals, like cats and dogs, and providing accommodation for hurt pets. Adoptions and foster options for these animals are also available at the hospital, ensuring that these animals are able to find a loving home.
The Green Planet houses the world's largest indoor tree, and a veritable ecosystem within its walls.