You may have already met Loris the sloth, or spotted the Tamandua Anteater at the Green Planet’s exotic bio-dome, (which is home to over 3,000 plants and animals) but now you can spend the night there, too. This brand new experience comes complete with snug tents to curl into, a nocturnal animal tour, a guided scavenger hunt and a nature-themed movie with toasted marshmallows following dinner at the café. You’ll even be able to help feed the animals their breakfast – before tucking into yours in the morning.
Dhs700 for two, Dhs1,200 for four
Learn how to make fondue from scratch, put together the ultimate cheese platter and create accompaniments like crisp lavash crackers, sticky onion marmalade and cranberry jam at Mamalu Kitchen’s Say Cheese cooking class. Classes take place in a swanky purpose-built space that’s set-up for social distancing at Depachika food hall and the two-hour sessions fly by. You’ll feel like a pro as there’s always someone checking up on you, tweaking your ingredients and doing all the clearing and washing up. Best of all, you get to take your brie-bedecked platter home for late-night munchies. This really is the ultimate immersive treat for the culinary cognoscenti.
Dhs425pp. Private classes for a minimum of 8 from Dhs400pp
Bear Grylls is trying to lure UAE residents into a life of adventure.
He’s the dashing thrill-seeker with the survival skills you need if you find yourself caught in the desert without a BBQ in sight, and now Bear Grylls is trying to lure UAE residents into a life of adventure. Or at least teach them a trick or two that’ll impress when in the great outdoors. His eponymous Ras Al Khaimah-based camp – the Bear Grylls Survival Academy – will be teaching both extreme and basic skills with half-day, full-day and overnight options for all ages.
From Monet to Kandinsky is the first show that kicks off this immersive art experience at the revamped theatre at the Madinat Jumeirah. After a quick history about the artists’ lives, their most famous works – from Van Gogh’s uplifting Sunflowers to Munch’s The Scream and Monet’s Water Lilies – get beamed on special screens all around you. Each session lasts 45 minutes after which you can try out the virtual reality activity round the back or kids can bring their own painted creations to life and beam them on a landscape (at an additional cost).
From Dhs75 for adults, Dhs45 for children
Bee-utiful day out
If you’re going for a float on Hatta Lakes, then this spot is definitely worth a detour. Sign up for a tour or volunteer for a workshop at the Hatta Honeybee Garden and Discovery Centre and you’ll soon have an in-depth appreciation for this remarkable pollinator. This educational experience ends at the on-site store where you can stock up on everything from pure, raw unfiltered honey to bee-based bath and beauty products. You’ll also get images of the family in beekeepers garb surrounded by buzzing new friends.
It may be called the Jubail Mangrove Park, but one visit to this new Abu Dhabi attraction and you’ll realise why it’s better known as a biodiversity sanctuary. It’s perfect for conservationists, outdoor fans and those who just want a wander along a 2.3km purpose-built boardwalk flanked by untouched flora, fauna, birds and marine life. Six special platforms – including one that floats and a viewing tower – add to the incredible Insta-ops. Top tip: visit at high tide for the best views, ask a local ranger to show you around and make time for a kayaking exploration.
Dhs15 for adults, Dhs10 for children
Call of the Wild
There’s no need to book a ticket to Africa now that a full safari operation has opened at the Dubai Safari Park. Sporting eco-friendly credentials, it’s home to everything from lions and giraffes to Komodo dragons. And a visit here brings the National Geographic channel to life for the little ones. Four designated ‘Villages’ group the 2,500 animals, while the Wadi area at the end is made for relaxation. Be sure to assign a full day if you’re looking to see everything and book ahead as the safari itself, in particular, is proving to be hugely popular.
From Dhs50 for adults, Dhs20 for children
Life in the Fast Lane
It was previously perched in the corner of the Dubai Mall extension but now the weather’s cooler, EKart Zabeel has moved to the roof. The 9th floor has been repurposed as a racing track and after a safety briefing and quick zip into the sanitised jumpsuits and helmets, you get to race your friends, foes and other strangers who randomly booked the same time slot. Seven minutes a session might not seem long, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it and be cruising in your lane.
Want to take the whole clan on a fabulously priced staycation? Rove at the Park’s family stay offer includes not one, but two interconnecting double rooms – that can house up to six people – for just Dhs398. And, if that wasn’t enough you also get four tickets to explore Dubai Parks & Resorts once you’ve torn yourself away from the designer discounts at The Outlet Village.
Sharjah’s Al Noor Island is a bit of an insider secret, and once you get there you’ll realise why those in the know want to keep mum about its marvels. Architecture fans will be astonished by the curves of the award-winning Butterfly House – and be captivated by its residents. There’s also an excellent casual café, a meandering pathway that leads you through lush greenery to art installations, the coastline and By The Bay eatery with stunning views over the Al Majaz Waterfront. Spend longer and peek through powerful telescopes at night and get carried away by astronomy lessons, or make it in time for a weekend morning yoga class.
From Dhs35 for adults, Dhs20 for children