10 outdoor UAE attractions to visit before the summer heat kicks in

From desert pop-ups to family favourites, here's where to go before it gets too hot

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With spring officially upon us, the temperature is slowly creeping up across the UAE, meaning that the days of making the most of the country's incredible outdoor facilities are numbered — at least for a few months.

But don't panic, there are still a good few weeks of al fresco season left, so it's time to get outdoors and explore while we still can.

Here are 10 attractions across the UAE to enjoy before the summer is fully upon us ...


Global Village

Dubai’s ever-popular family attraction Global Village will be open for four extra weeks this year, closing its doors for the summer on May 7.

This year, Global Village is marking its 26th season with 26 pavilions representing more than 80 cultures from around the world.

Among the countries and continents represented are: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Africa, the Americas, China, Egypt, Europe, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Yemen and Russia.

Visitors can also enjoy internationally acclaimed dance show Burn The Floor, which has made its regional debut with a regular slot on the attraction’s main stage. The high-voltage show features daring choreography by a troupe of international dancers.

Sunday to Wednesday, 4pm-midnight, Thursday to Saturday, 4pm-1am; from Dh15, children under 3 and senior citizens over 65 go free; Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road, Exit 37, E311; 04 362 4114, www.globalvillage.ae

Dubai Safari Park

Dubai Safari Park will close at the end of May. Photo: Dubai Safari Park

Visitors have until the end of May to enjoy Dubai Safari Park, before it closes its doors for the summer season to give the animals a break from the heat.

The park is home to more than 3,000 animals, including giraffes, lions, tigers, elephants and dozens more species. The attraction can be explored on foot or by bus.

Daily, 9am-5pm; from Dh50; Al Warqa, Hatta Road, Dubai; www.dubaisafari.ae

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden will close for the summer to prepare for the next season. While the attraction is yet to announce its official closing date, it usually closes at the end of May.

Make the most of this season’s new attractions, including a Smurfs Village, complete with mushroom houses, and take pictures next to your favourite Smurf characters. A floral genie and magic flying carpet carved from foliage are some of the other new highlights at the venue this year, adding to the lush greenery and record-breaking attractions.

Daily; 9am-11pm; D55 for adults, Dh40 for children 12 years and under, free entry for children aged 3 and under; Dubailand; dubaimiraclegarden.com

Dubai Garden Glow

Dubai Garden Glow will close for the summer at the end of May. Victor Besa/The National.

Another family favourite, Dubai Garden Glow, has just a few weeks left of its current season before it closes its doors for the summer on May 30.

The attraction features hundreds of colourful lanterns that move and sparkle, created using more than 10 million energy-saving light bulbs. It's newest addition, the Glowing Safari, features dozens of lanterns shaped like animals and flowers, while one of the the attraction's favourite areas, the Dinosaur Park, features more than 100 animatronic dinosaurs.

Daily; Sunday to Friday, 4pm-10pm, Saturday 4pm-11pm; Dh65; Zabeel Park, Dubai; 055 918 8126, dubaigardenglow.com

Hatta Dome Park

Featuring 15 dome-shaped luxury tents, Hatta Dome Park offers panoramic views of the Hajar Mountains. The tents on-site are all identical in layout and offer the same views. They are 40 square metres and come with a full range of amenities, including a television, Wi-Fi and a mini fridge.

The rooms are designed to accommodate up to two adults and two children by offering a king-sized bed, as well as two single sofa beds. Each dome tent also comes with its own barbecue and fire pit within a large terrace space.

Located a short walk from Hatta Wadi Hub, there are plenty of activities to try, including kayaking, mountain biking, trampoline jumping, zip-lining, wall-climbing, paragliding and more. There are also food and beverage options on-site, as well as a variety of food trucks.

Hatta Wadi Hub; www.visithatta.com

Abu Dhabi

Al Batha Nature Reserve

To enhance the ecotourism offers for the emirate #أبوظبي Al Ain Municipality, affiliated to the Department of Municipalities and Transport, inaugurates the Al-Batha Nature Reserve after completing the redevelopment works. Visitors can now explore the local wildlife of Al Ain in a distinctive environment suitable for all family members.

Visit Al Batha Nature Reserve, located near Hili Archaeological Park in Al Ain. This recently renovated eco-tourism project showcases the UAE’s flora and fauna and is home to ducks, birds, ghaf trees and a playground for youngsters.

It is the perfect place to go for a picnic on the undulating golden dunes and the best part is that it’s free to enter.

Daily, 8am-11pm; free; Al Nabbagh, Al Ain

Jubail Mangrove Park

Take in the serenity of Abu Dhabi’s mangroves while it’s still comfortable to take any outdoor stroll. While it is primarily a mangrove sanctuary, the Jubail Mangrove Park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including fish and birds, all of which can be easily spotted from a two-kilometre boardwalk that runs through the site.

There are three different walking routes, the longest of which stretches two kilometres. The mid-range one is 1.6km and the shortest is 1km. Depending on the pace, the longest route can take anywhere between 35 to 90 minutes.

Daily; 7am-10pm; from Dh5; Al Jubail Island, Abu Dhabi; park.jubailisland.ae

Ras Al Khaimah

Ride the Jais Sledder

UAE’s Jais Sledder opens for thrill seekers in Jebel Jais

UAE’s Jais Sledder opens for thrill seekers in Jebel Jais

Be among the first to ride the Jais Sledder, Ras Al Khaimah’s new 1,840-metre toboggan run that winds down through the Hajar mountain range, offering riders panoramic views as they go.

The alpine coaster is capable of reaching speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour, although each rider will be securely strapped in and have access to a braking system, allowing them to control their own speed.

Tuesday to Sunday, 9am-5.30pm; from Dh40; Jebel Jais Adventure Park, Ras Al Khaimah; visitjebeljais.com

Bear Grylls Explorers Camp

The camp is set among the rocky terrain of Jebel Jais, the UAE's highest mountain range. Courtesy Bear Grylls Explorers Camp

Make the most of the great outdoors and learn some vital survival skills while you’re at it. The Bear Grylls Explorers Camp offers visitors of all ages and abilities the chance to learn some of the British adventurer's top tips and techniques, via a selection of courses set on the Jebel Jais mountain.

The courses are run by experts trained at the Bear Grylls Survival Academy in the UK, and include half-day options, lasting three to four hours, as well as eight and 24-hour options. If you fancy staying the night in one of the camp’s overnight cabins, you can also try your hand at one of the 48-hour courses. On the Family Primal Survival Course, the minimum age is 8.

Open daily; 24 hours; from Dh450 for adults and Dh325 for children; beargryllscamp.ae


Sharjah Safari

Sharjah Safari, which claims to be the largest safari park outside of Africa, covers an area of eight square kilometres and is home to more than 120 species, including rare animals native to Africa, the rarest of which is the black rhinoceros. More than 1,000 native and African trees, including the umbrella-shaped Acacia tortilis, have been planted across the site.

Visitors can experience the safari through 12 themed "environments", each representing a region in Africa, and the life and terrain of the animals and birds that live in them.

The black rhinoceros, considered one of the rarest animals, is one of the star attractions. Another highlight is Wuhaida, the first female southern white rhino born in Sharjah Safari in August last year. Wuhaida's birth is the result of the Safari's breeding programme, supported by the UN, which focuses on African native species.

Various ticket categories are available for access to Sharjah Safari's 12 themed environments, including bronze, silver and gold.

Open daily, 8.30am to 6.30pm; from Dh120; Al Bridi Nature Reserve, Al Dhaid, Sharjah; visitsharjah.com

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