Mind of Illusions

Strolling through Dubai’s museums filled with art, culture and history can be an enriching experience, but how about one that will have you puzzling over which way is up? The Museum of Illusions has opened its doors for the first time in the UAE, to trick the minds of all who walk through it. Setting up shop over in Al Seef near Dubai Creek, the building houses 80 different exhibits that will boggle the mind.
Open Wed Sep 12. Bur Dubai, Al Seef, www.museumofillusions.com.

Dubai Opera

Whether you’re after some vibrant Bollywood dancing or a serene night swaying to Tchaikovsky and Swan Lake, Dubai Opera is the place to visit for a night that you won’t forget. The multi-format venue hosts opera, theatre, concerts, art exhibitions, orchestra, film, sports events, and seasonal programmes, and the building itself is an architectural marvel. Take your guests here for a classy night out that they won’t forget.

Dubai Miracle Garden

The most colourful and best smelling gardens in Dubai is finally opening for its seventh season today (Sunday November 4), and this time its joined by a list of classic Disney favourites, huge floral animals, a new dining experience and much more.

Dubai Miracle Garden is now in full bloom, and is open for all visitors to see its brand-new huge cat structures, three elephants that spout water and a turtle with its own private garden on its back.

Making a return is Disney’s iconic character Mickey Mouse, which was put up earlier this year for his 90th anniversary and broke a Guinness World Record for the Tallest Topiary Sculpture.

Now he’s joined by the rest of his cartoon friends just so he doesn’t get lonely, including Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Pluto, Goofy and those cheeky triplets Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

The colourful characters won’t be as tall or use as many flowers as Mickey, who stands at 18 metres tall and uses 100,000 plants and flowers, but they’ll be a sight to behold nonetheless.

The 72,000 sq m garden also features a new dining experience at the Floral Palace, where foodies can sit inside or out and dine among “millions of flowers”.

Dubai Miracle Garden now has 250 million flowers, with 70 different types, and 50 million plants to make up each of structures and buildings.

Tickets for adults are now priced at Dhs50, and Dhs40 for the little ones aged three to 12, while people of determination and kids under the age of three get in completely for free.

Other Dubai Miracle Garden Guinness World Records include the “Largest Vertical Garden in the World” and “Largest Floral Installation”.

You can check out all the huge additions and more information at www.dubaimiraclegarden.com.

This isn’t the only attraction making a grand comeback, as Dubai Safari Park is set to reopen soon with elephants, chimpanzees and an actual (komodo) dragon.
Dhs50 (adults), Dhs40 (kids aged three-12), free (people of determination and kids below three). Until Apr 30, 2019. Sun-Thu 9am-9pm; Fri-Thu 9am-11pm. Dubai Miracle Garden, Al Barsha South 3, www.dubaimiraclegarden.com (04 422 8902).

Love Lakes

Dubai has created the “Love Lakes” – two intertwined heart-shaped lakes set up near Al Qudra Lakes, and its full of all things related to love. Unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council for Dubai Government, the new site even has trees planted that spell out the word “love”. Al Qudra Lakes, Al Qudra, Dubailand.

Mangrove National Park, Abu Dhabi

Mangrove forests can be found all over UAE, but the closest to Abu Dhabi is the Mangrove National Park, a slice of peace and nature away from the bustling city.

Modern constructions have ravaged a huge chunk of mangrove population here, bringing a negative ripple effect on the biodiversity that the trees support. Conservation efforts have been made to restore the balance, including opening the park up to the public to spread awareness.

Visitors have the options of kayaking, paddle boarding, or boating tour to explore the area. The water is clear enough to witness life wriggling between the roots, but you can also make a game out of spotting slightly larger animals, such as turtles, blue swimmer crabs, and even dolphins.

Big Red, Dubai

Travel down Dubai-Hatta highway toward the desert and you’ll spot Mars on Earth here in the form of the aptly named Big Red sand dune, locally known as Al Hamar.

It’s a highly popular spot for locals and travelers with thrills and adventures brewing in their minds; the 100-meter high dune provides the perfect arena for dune bashing, sand boarding, and other extreme activities. Not much of a daredevil? You can still entertain yourself by watching the adrenaline junkies duke it out.

But, Big Red sand dune is more than just a playground for desert sports enthusiasts. The dune’s deep hue, a natural curiosity brought by the high iron oxide content, makes for a mesmerizingly eerie background as you explore this great expanse. Just remember to bring water and be here early in the morning to avoid getting sun-scorched!

Wadi Ghalilah, Dubai

Ever thought about climbing the Stairway to Heaven? Yes, you can. Technically located in Ras Al Khaimah, Wadi Ghalilah is easily reached with a car ride from Dubai. The so-called Stairway to Heaven is a mountain trail that links a village in Oman with Ras al Khaimah. Clocking in at 1,500 meters climbs, it beckons experienced rock climbers and mountaineers with its steep rocks, narrow paths, and winding cliffs.

Needless to say, this hike is not for everyone. But if you have the stamina and the sensibility to stay safe until you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacularly thrilling view and perhaps some bragging rights.

Hatta

Only around an hour’s drive from Dubai, but still inside the Emirate, is Hatta. This spot if a favorite among residents looking for a day escape from the busy city life. Hatta is best known for its natural pools of turquoise water, located in the middle of rocky mountains. This is the perfect spot for all nature-lovers to get a bit wet and try different water activities, such as stand up paddleboarding and kayaking.