MOTN: what to know as the family-friendly festival returns to Abu Dhabi

The 10-day event will run from December 9 to 18 on the Abu Dhabi corniche

It’s been two years since the last Mother of the Nation festival.

Rebranding as MOTN, the family-friendly event has once again taken over a stretch of the corniche offering plenty to do thanks to its installations, culinary experiences, kiosks, rides and live music. Ahead of the public opening, The National got an early preview of what to expect. Here are five things you need to know.

1. Where can I park if heading to MOTN?

There is a Park & Ride service available at Al Manhal Palace and Marina Mall parking for anyone attending the event. Additionally, there are also spaces available across the street at Nation Tower car park but spaces are limited to first come, first served. There's also paid parking available within the Nation Tower garage. It is also recommended to take a taxi for easy drop off.

2. How much do tickets cost?

Tickets for entry start from Dh25 online or Dh30 at the door. However, there are different tiers of tickets depending on what events and activities you would like to do. Other options include The Amusement Day pass for Dh75, The World of Nickelodeon Pass for Dh85, The Thrills Day pass for Dh95 and an All Access day pass for Dh145.

3. What should I wear to MOTN?

The event does not have a dress code but it is encouraged to dress appropriately. MOTN also stretches on about one kilometre of the Abu Dhabi corniche, so comfortable walking shoes are advised. As the weather gets cooler in the evening, it's also worth bringing a light jacket or sweater.

4. What are the dining options?

There's plenty to choose from when it comes to what to eat. There are Dubai favourites High Joint, Dibba Bay Oysters, Mr Brisket and Mattar Farm as well as more local choices like Sola Restaurant & Cafe and Jamaican outlet Kingston 21. There are also international brands to try such as the UK’s Burger and Beyond (a great option for vegetarians and vegans), EL&N London, dubbed the world’s most Instagrammable cafe, and Eiswelt Gelato from the US, which makes handcrafted, animal-shaped gelato.

5. What are the Covid safety precautions?

Those above the age of 16 must show their vaccination status as well as a Green Pass on the Al Hosn app. Those below 16 do not require a PCR test. Social distancing and face masks are required at all times.

Our review of MOTN

It's quite hard to miss the MOTN festival with its shining lights and colourful decor lining the side of the corniche. Entering the space, the first zone is the Amusement Park, which is decorated in yellow. All the zones are colour co-ordinated to better connect them and there are six in total.

This area is aimed at a younger crowd which is obvious given The World of Nickelodeon sign as well as other children-themed favourites such as Paw Patrol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob SquarePants. Children can enjoy the play park as well as play games on site or attend a workshop. However, there are also rides like a Merry-Go-Round and bumper cars that anyone can try out.

For those who love a good selfie, the Inspire Space is for them. The zone features new installations such as the MOTN Funhouse and the Dessert Museum, a popular attraction from the Philippines. While we won’t spoil too much about what’s inside, it’s best to have a fully charged phone to get as many photos and videos for your Instagram or TikTok.

A girl plays in the Dessert Museum at MOTN. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

There’s also the Animenia installation, an area that celebrates manga, cosplayers, and all things Japanese. Inside are old school arcade games but there’s also a back room that leads to a unique dining experience. As you walk through two rows of blackout curtains, you end up at the glow sushi bar, a collaboration from Akiba Dori and Bompas & Parr.

For those who prefer to do rather than see, there’s the Thrill Zone which offers more hands-on activities. There’s a Rick & Morty Laser Tag space, a horror escape room as well as The Smash Room, the popular activation from Dubai. Gamers can enjoy the Gaming Hub while those who enjoy fitness can head to the skate park or parkour area.

In typical fashion, MOTN also sees the return of the Food Hub and Shopping District, offering a nice reprieve for when you need a break. On an exciting note, a couple of popular Dubai outlets have come to Abu Dhabi for the first time such as High Joint, famed for their burgers and Dibba Oyster Bay, a locally sourced gourmet oysters’ outlet.

There are also international concepts that have come, including Beyond Burger and EL&N London, to the UAE for the first time.

Last but not least is the Music Arena hub that has first first-come, first-served seated spaces. Acts like Sherine, Miami Band, Mahmoud Al Turky and Mohamed Al Salim will perform over the course of the event.

Although it's been two years since the last Mother of the National festival, this year's MOTN will surely more than make up for it.

Updated: December 9th 2021, 12:33 PM