Whether it is a Christmas tree in a window or a galaxy far away, there is something magical about structures that twinkle and glow – watching them can put a smile on the face of even the darkest of cynics.
Don’t believe me? Head down to Zabeel Park in Dubai before the end of next month and visit Dubai Garden Glow, a sensory overload featuring hundreds of sparkling displays created by artists from around the globe using millions of colourful lights.
Here is our pick of five of the top attractions to explore during the school holidays.
• Dubai Garden Glow runs until the end of April; 4pm to midnight, Saturday to Wednesday; 4pm to 1am on Thursday, Friday and public holidays. Enter through Zabeel Park gates 6 and 7. Nearest metro station is Al Jafiliya. Dh60; children under 3 and people with special needs get free entry. For more, visit www.dubaigardenglow.com
Dozens of serenely beautiful giant jellyfish overlook Zabeel Park’s lake, the reflection of their lights sparkling in the water. They might be mistaken for extraterrestrial beings, were it not for the accompanying glowing seaweed, shells and fish, which move to music in this underwater-themed show. Nearby is a large stage where jugglers and acrobats perform each night. You can get a good view of the action while enjoying a coffee at the nearby Tim Hortons.
The park has several colourful light-filled tunnels, including one made up of dazzling rainbows, a tunnel of hearts, and another that features blue twinkling parasols and dangling orbs. Just watch out that you do not bump into the crowds of selfie-snappers while walking through them.
This replica of the world’s tallest tower, made of medicine bottles, is surrounded, somewhat oddly, by what appears to be Christmas trees. The glowing Burj, lit up with thousands of blue lights, is so tall that it peeks out over the tops of nearby treetops.
From pandas chewing on bamboo to crocodiles, monkeys, elephants and zebras, the animal kingdom gets well and truly blinged up in this display. The glowing effect works best when the creatures are made to look realistic rather than cartoonish, as in the case of the glowing ants and the fruits and vegetables on display. My kids disagree, but I think glowing onions with smiling faces are a step too far.
As well as claiming to be the largest glow garden in the world, Dubai Garden Glow also features the biggest dinosaur park, with an array of 100 lifelike animatronic beasts. These mighty critters appear to breathe, growl, shriek, snap their jaws and blink at you.
The awe-inspiring models are fenced in, in true Jurassic Park style – but watch out for the one that has escaped. Fortunately, he is friendly and wanders around having his photographs taken with visitors.
Although all of the glowing attractions look much more impressive when viewed at night, the Dinosaur Park can also be appreciated before the sun sets.
Before you arrive, you can refresh your knowledge of the prehistoric creatures featured at the park by visiting www.dubaigardenglow.com.
The park also has a range of reasonably priced street-food options, including hot dogs, pizza, Lebanese and Turkish snacks and ice cream.
In addition to this, there is a small play area in the dinosaur park, and also trampolines for kids.