Planning family outings with our five children during their short breaks from school is very enjoyable since we look forward to spending time together and making new and lasting memories! For this short break we decided to go on an adventure and learn more about the grand new opening of the first man made safari in Al Ain Zoo. I was dumbfounded by our children’s resilience to the heat, but I think it was their eagerness to learn more that made them move forward. As for the little ones they simply loved seeing the different animals and were perfectly fine exploring.
Due to the high temperature on that day, we made a quick tour around the zoo; saw a few monkeys, cheetahs, rhinos, tortoises, different kinds of reptiles, and birds. Then off to the safari we went.
After receiving a phone call to know where our location was, our guide came and took us in a mini cart to the safari section. The tour was well organized and our guide was well informed. Very friendly and welcoming we were greeted by another guide who made sure the four by four jeep was ready with cold water bottles, and cool enough to have us escape the hotness outside. Since it has been recently launched, our guide told us that the African safari area needs more time to be able to reflect the actual real life one. The future plans to be carried out are impressively amazing like constructing an Asian safari along with a resort for people to stay there.
Even though the variety of the animals is still limited, but the knowledge we left with was immense and interesting. After we finished with our tour which extended for almost an hour, I asked the boys what they have learned from this experience and out came their answers:
- One ostrich egg makes 72 omelettes. The ostrich is also the biggest and fastest bird.
- The horns of the Oryx were used to make the Arabian sword. Once cut these horns do not grow back and the Oryx dies losing its only and best defense mechanism.
- A zebra has a black body with white stripes! I did not know that! Did you? Moreover, zebras walk side by side as they move in herds, so from a distance its predators think it is a huge animal. Smart!
- A lion, which sleeps around 18 hours a day, is known as the King of the lion because of the mane around its head and looks like a golden crown.
- A giraffe has only seven vertebrae just like us humans! It is a very strong animal because of its hoofs, but can become an easy prey once it goes down to drink water from below. Finally, a giraffe’s tongue reaches up to 45 centimeters. The way the boys’ eyes opened in surprise at this bit information made me laugh in admiration!
- Birds in the African safari make a number of tiny holes in the stones to lay their eggs. They use however only one, but they try to trick snakes in order to save their offsprings from the fangs of the serpent.
- To escape the vicious claws of a cheetah which darts in a straight line, a gazelle runs fast shifting from left to right trying to lose its enemy.
After the Safari we watched a 15 minute movie in Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center, where we learned all about the ways people endured and survived the toughness and roughness of the desert’s nature. For instance, the desert sand which might feel coarse, scratchy, and painful when rubbed on the skin, also has a soft cooling aspect. What an ironic magnificent combination!
That short movie not only made us as grownups appreciate people’s resilience and great adaptation to such harsh environmental conditions, but it also made our children value the luxury they have now. The details shown in the movie marvellously reflect the daily living and change of season from complete dryness to refreshing showers and cold nights of the desert. The center, which has won international and local prizes, by itself, is a great learning resource about Al Ain and its exquisite natural attractions.
After a quick lunch at the ‘Zarafa Restaurant’ we took the little ones to ‘The Children’s Zoo’ where they were able to feed the animals like sheep, goats, horses, ducks, and camels. It is also enjoyable to have your children go inside the bird cage and feed the beautiful birds of different colours.
I would like to take the opportunity and thank all the employees at Al Ain Zoo for their hospitality, knowledge, and friendly attitude. It takes a lot of hard work, patience, and fervency to successfully run such a place.
Hope you all had a nice weekend with your little ones. I would love to know how you spent it and if you recommend us trying it…