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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 January 2019

From the Palm to the Creek: Dubai's 10 best parks

Make the most of the weather and spend the day outside at one of the emirate's green spaces

Uptown Mirdif Park. Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National
Uptown Mirdif Park. Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National

Despite a reputation for being a concrete jungle full of towering skyscrapers, Dubai has more than its fair share of green spaces. These spots come in to their own in winter when they offer plenty of places for kids to play, nature enthusiasts to get their fix and fitness fans to get moving. Here are some of our favourites.

1. Al Ittihad Park

Al Ittihad Park. Antonie Robertson/The National.
Al Ittihad Park. Antonie Robertson/The National.

Best known for its luxury hotels, Palm Jumeirah is also home to Al Ittihad Park. Nestled in the middle of the palm’s ‘trunk’, this spot is popular with local residents but there’s plenty of parking for visitors. The park is encircled by a 3 kilometre walking path and is home to over 60 species of trees and shrubs, all of which are indigenous to the UAE. Rock pools, fountains and small play parks will keep kids happy as will seeing the monorail soar overhead. Palm Jumeirah, open 24 hours, free entry.

2. Al Barsha Pond Park

Al Barsha Pond Park. Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National.
Al Barsha Pond Park. Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National.

Channelling European vibes thanks to kitsch swan boats and little waterside eateries, Al Barsha Pond Park spans 50 acres of well-manicured greenery. A running track circles the water and there are plenty of playgrounds to keep kids happy. You can hire go-karts to spin around the circumference and when night falls, the park comes alive with colourful hanging lanterns and fairy-lit palm trees.

Opposite Barsha Mall, Sun-Thu 8am-10pm, Fri-Sat 8am-11pm, free entry.

3. Safa Park

Safa Park.Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National.
Safa Park.Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National.

When it opened in 1975, Safa Park was the city’s biggest green space. Despite having been scaled down in recent years, it still draws plenty of visitors thanks to a bouncy running track, open green spaces, barbecue facilities and picnic spots. It also has decent basketball courts if you’re in the mood for something more energetic.

Al Wasl Road, Sun-Thu 8am-10pm, Fri-Sat 8am-11pm, Dh3.

4. Za'abeel Park

Zabeel Park. Antonie Robertson/The National.
Zabeel Park. Antonie Robertson/The National.

Possibly Dubai’s most underrated park, Zaabeel's green space has enough to keep families entertained all day long. Equivalent in size to 45 football pitches, it’s the city’s first technology-driven green space, meaning that as well as open Wi-Fi, there are interactive activities dotted across the park. Get on the mini-golf course, check out the skate park and BMX track and enjoy up-close views of the Dubai Frame. There’s also a huge atrium, Dubai Garden Glow and Dubai Dinosaur Park, and it’s where the city’s popular flea market happens in the cooler months.

Near Al Jafiliya Metro Station, Sun-Wed 8am-10pm, Thu-Sat 8am-11pm, Dh5.

5. Mushrif Park

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 13 DECEMBER 2018. Feature on Dubai Parks. Mushrif Park. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Melinda Healy. Section: Weekend.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 13 DECEMBER 2018. Feature on Dubai Parks. Mushrif Park. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Melinda Healy. Section: Weekend.

One of the biggest and oldest parks in Dubai, Mushrif rolls across five square kilometres of sandy forest filled with ghaf trees and desert shrubs, so it’s home to a huge variety of birds and wildlife. There’s a little train for kids to ride on, play areas, a swimming pool and even a collection of miniature-scale European houses. There’s also a well-equipped equestrian centre that offers rides around the park. Aventura action park is onsite if you’re in the mood for tree surfing, zip-lining and climbing action. Take a picnic and trek out to one of the barbecue or picnic areas in one of the forest clearings to really feel like you’ve escaped the city.

Al Khawaneej Streeet, Sun-Wed 8am-10pm, Thu-Sat 9am-11pm, Dh3 or Dh10 per car.

6. Dubai Creek Park

Dubai Creek Park. Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National.
Dubai Creek Park. Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National.

Located right on the edge of the Dubai Creek, this mammoth park sprawl across 96 hectares of greenery and has play areas, manicured lawns, and botanical gardens, as well as plenty of picnic tables and barbecue zones. A ride on the park's cable car is a must if you happen to visit on a day when its functioning. Afterwards, head to Children’s City for edutainment, a planetarium and a nature centre.

Dubai Creek, Umm Hurair 2, Sun-Wed 8am-10pm, Thu-Sat 8am-11pm, Dh5.

7. Bay Avenue Park

Bay Avenue Park. Dubai. Antonie Robertson/The National
Bay Avenue Park. Dubai. Antonie Robertson/The National

Small but perfectly formed, Bay Avenue Park has a gated play area and a hopscotch track, an outdoor fitness area, a skate park and a jogging terrace that weaves around its urban location. It’s also got a whole strip of coffee shops and cafes and a dancing fountain coupled with great views across to The Opus by Zaha Hadid.

Al A’Amal Street, Business Bay, open 24 hours, free entry.

8. Al Rashidiya Park

Al Rashidiya Park. Antonie Robertson/The National.
Al Rashidiya Park. Antonie Robertson/The National.

If truth be told, this family park is looking a little tired in places, but it still offers decent barbecue facilities, sand-covered play areas and picnic spaces, and it’s easy to get to thanks to its location right next to the last stop on the metro’s red line.

Opposite Al Rashidiya metro station, Sun-Thu 8am-11pm, Fri-Sat 8am-11.30pm, free entry.

9. Satwa Park

Al Satwa Park. Antonie Robertson/The National.
Al Satwa Park. Antonie Robertson/The National.

Satwa Park is a good choice for residents living in this built-up area of town and is constantly busy, with sports fans taking advantage of the basketball, volleyball and tennis courts. Play areas keep little ones happy and a clearly marked walking and jogging path winds between the trees. Just outside the main gate, there’s a well-stocked little plant store if you’re inspired to take a piece of greenery home with you.

Al Satwa Road, Sun-Wed 8am- 10pm, Thu-Sat 8am-11pm, free entry.

10. Al Khazzan Park

Al Khazzan Park. Antonie Robertson/The National.
Al Khazzan Park. Antonie Robertson/The National.

One of the green spaces in the city and recently renovated, Al Khazzan Park is now a solar-powered spot opposite City Walk. It has sandy play areas covered with sunshades, a smattering of picnic tables and a central pavilion, as well as huge green photo frames that are ideal for Insta-gram pics. It’s also home to Inn the Park where you can grab a chair under a tree and tuck into organic and local produce.

Opposite City Walk, Sun-Wed 8am-10pm, Thu-Sat 8am-11pm, free entry.

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Updated: December 20, 2018 01:34 PM

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