Al Ain Zoo
Nahyan The First St - Shiab Al Ashkhar - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
|⏰ Opening Hours
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
|💸 Entrance Fee
Find it on google maps
What is Al Ain Zoo?
Al Ain Zoo is a verdant sanctuary situated in the foothills of the Jebel Hafeet Mountains in Al Ain, which is part of the Abu Dhabi Emirate. It's one of the largest zoos in the Middle East, sprawling across 400 hectares. It was opened to the public in 1969 and has since been home to a wide range of zoological species, with a particular emphasis on the conservation of desert wildlife. The Zoo offers a natural habitat for the animals, with large enclosures that mimic their natural environments as closely as possible.
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Now, what makes this Zoo so unique, aside from its size and dedication to conservation, is that it ventures beyond being just a conventional zoo. Visitors can engage in multiple experiences, such as giraffe feeding, camel riding, and even a thrilling safari that takes you through an African-style savannah with animals roaming free. For those with a passion for ornithology, the bird aviary is a hidden gem, housing exotic and indigenous birds in a setting that's almost like stepping onto a different continent.
History of Al Ain Zoo
Al Ain Zoo was established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates, who had a powerful vision of wildlife conservation, particularly for Arabian species. It was part of his initiative to create a green space that could offer education as well as conservation efforts in the arid desert environment. It opened in 1969 and has since undergone significant renovations and expansions to update its facilities and reflect current best practices in animal care and visitor experience.
Over the years, the Zoo has developed breeding programs for endangered species such as the Arabian Oryx, which had been hunted nearly to extinction in the wild. The successful breeding and reintroduction of these animals highlight the Zoo's pivotal role in regional conservation. The Zoo has also expanded its educational programs, aiming to cultivate a love for nature and an understanding of conservation among visitors of all ages.
Why is Al Ain Zoo Important?
The significance of Al Ain Zoo stretches far beyond its function as a tourist attraction; it's a vital institution for conservation efforts in the Arabian Peninsula. A champion of biodiversity, the Zoo focuses particularly on Arabian wildlife and has played a key role in preserving species that might otherwise face extinction.
It’s a hub for environmental education, offering programs that teach thousands of visitors about the fragile ecosystems of the desert and the thread that connects all living things. By engaging with the local community and visitors from around the globe, the Zoo shares the message that conservation is a shared responsibility that requires effort on an international scale. Wonder, can you feel that sense of responsibility stirring within you as you walk through its gates?
Things to Do & See at Al Ain Zoo
The Zoo is not just a place to see animals; it's an interactive educational experience. You can discover the wildlife of the world through designated zones. The African Safari tour is undoubtedly a visitor favorite, allowing guests to roam amongst giraffes, zebras, and lions in a setting that replicates their natural habitat. Then there is the Predator exhibit, where you can encounter powerful carnivores, offering an awe-inspiring peek into the world of these majestic creatures.
Children have their special experiences in the Petting Zoo, where they get up close with domesticated animals in a friendly and supervised environment. The Zoo's latest attraction is the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre, which is part museum and part interactive educational facility, providing a deep dive into the region's natural and cultural history.
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Moreover, Al Ain Zoo emphasizes wildlife conservation education and visitor engagement. You can partake in behind-the-scenes tours, where the veil is lifted on the daily operations that keep the Zoo running and the animals cared for. During the cooler months, the Zoo comes alive at night, offering a nocturnal animal viewing experience that showcases the behavior of creatures under the moonlight.