x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Cooling domes to be in bloom for summer at Dubai's Miracle Gardens

A new park on the fringes of the desert, which has attracted more than 200,000 people in its first month of opening, will soon install air-conditioned domes in order to maintain visitor numbers during the summer.

DUBAI // A new park on the fringes of the desert, which has attracted more than 200,000 people in its first month of opening, will soon install air-conditioned domes in order to maintain visitor numbers during the summer.

Miracle Gardens, in Al Barsha South, opened on Valentine's Day and has proven a to be a hit with tourists and residents alike with around 45,000, visiting each weekend - and up to 30,000 on Fridays.

Now Akar Landscaping and Agriculture, the park's Al Ain-based developer, plans to install a number of domes, each internally air-conditioned and covered entirely with flowers, to keep out the heat.

"We want to keep it going even in summer," said Abdel Naser Rahhal, Akar's general manager. "With the ideas we have now, I believe we'll have even more people.

"If you can't enjoy the garden outdoors, at least you can enjoy it indoors. You will have millions of flowers around you."

Although plans are not yet fully confirmed, it is hoped the domes will be ready by the end of May. Admission to the park costs Dh20.

In the first month of opening, roads around the park were jammed with traffic, mainly caused by people parking on sandy verges immediately outside the gates instead of designated parking areas.

"People all want to park close to the gate," said Mr Rahhal. "They don't want to even walk 10 metres.

"We are improving the area and the roads, so we will force people to park in the right place. Once that's done, you will never see any traffic jams."

Mr Rahhal said the company intends to plant bushes and flower beds to act as natural barrier to guide visitors to the correct area to park their cars.

In addition the developer is currently in talks with the RTA to install better signage as well as bus and taxi services. A spokesman from the authority was unavailable to comment.

The sheer quantity of flowers on display - with 45 million in bloom - is one of the main reasons for the parks popularity, as well as its decorative arches, pyramid structures and national iconography pulling in the crowds.

"It's slightly kitsch, but it is very striking," said Jason Chant, a Briton who visited to the park last Thursday to beat the crowds.

"I came to the park two weeks ago on a Friday, but turned around and left because there was a huge traffic jam," he said.

Tobias Carlander said he was impressed by the number of flowers. "It's in the middle of nowhere, almost in the desert, but it's incredibly colourful."

Mr Rahhal attributes the park's success to its unique nature. "It's a new experience," he said. "People are tired of malls and other closed places. People want a new tourism activity."

mcroucher@thenational.ae