Wildlife in Dubai

Thinking of what animals one can see in Dubai, all that comes to mind are camels in the vast desert. What if that were just to be a myth? Dubai is home to various species of animals and it is absolutely fascinating when you visit these places of interest. When looking for wildlife in Dubai, you could see the most amiable water animals - dolphins - mesmerise you with their stunts or you could watch various kinds of other underwater creatures in one of the world’s largest underwater aquariums or you could even take a wildlife safari. Dubai breaks all the shackles around the thought that the city is all about camels and the desert when it comes to wildlife.

1. Dubai Safari Park

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This beautiful park has over 3000 animals from across the globe and has become a popular attraction in Dubai for locals and tourists alike. The zoo is divided into various zones named as 'Villages', and these are classified based on the regions around the world in which the animals are based. They are Safari Village, African Village, Asian Village, Wadi Village, Arabian Village and Kids Farm which is a playground for children to learn about wildlife. 

Location: Al Warqa 5 - Dubai
Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Daily
Tickets: Adults - AED 50, Child - AED 20

2. Ras Al Khor Sanctuary

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Ras Al-Khor translates to ‘Cape of the Creek’ and its location does more than justice to the name. This place for wildlife in Dubai is a paradise for people who love bird watching. Being a wetland reserve, Ras Al-Khor attracts many migratory birds, the Flamingos being the most common visitor of this marshland, which have almost become a mascot for the Wildlife protection programme. In order to preserve the Sanctuary from extensive human interaction, there are 3 birding hides for visitors to understand the purpose of fencing the wetland. The Ras Al-Khor sanctuary is also home to crustaceans and a few species of mammals and small fish.
Location: Ras Al-Khor Industrial Area, Dubai   
Timings: 9 AM to 4 PM   
Tickets: None

3. Jebel Ali Wildlife Reserve

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Spread over a massive 2000 hectares, Jebel Ali Wildlife Reserve comprises coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and sandy beaches. It is now a part of the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. The place observes a lot of social activities like turtle releases, mangrove plantings and clean-ups. The Reserve is managed by the Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG) and the reserve is open to the public only when there are events. It is advised to not have any kind of interaction with the wildlife, especially the turtles and their hatchlings. Know more about the Jebel Ali region, here.
Location: Dubai   
Timings: Based on events organised by the EMEG   
Tickets: NA

4. Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

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The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) is known to be the first National Park of the UAE. The reserve for wildlife in Dubai is home to the Arabin Oryx which is a rare species and one of the most special species of the reserve. The desert reserve is also home to a variety of winged animals and also rare species of insects. There are tour operators who organise camps, safaris and other activities in the reserve.
Location: Al-Ain Road, Dubai
Timings: 7 AM to 5 PM
Tickets: None

5. Sea Lion Point

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Located at Atlantis Aquaventure, the Sea Lion point will absolutely melt your heart. Sea Lions are generally very friendly in nature and they do tend to get along well with humans and at Aquaventure’s Sea Lion Point, you could get a nice photo or you could get to swim with them. You can also get an educational session where you will get to know all about Sea Lions and their natural habitat.
Location: Aquaventure Waterpark, Atlantis, Dubai   
Timings: 10 AM to sunset (Closing hours depend on season)   
Tickets: Sea Lion Photo Fun - AED 425 to AED 580             
                Sea Lion Discovery - AED 620 to AED 760 (Individual should be at least 6 years of age)

6. The Green Planet

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If you’ve been inspired by Bear Grylls or Hazen Audel when they run into the Amazon forest and if you actually cannot make it that far, The Green Planet in Dubai has you covered. This artificial tropical forest-type setup will make you forget that you are actually visiting a desert city. This place for wildlife in Dubai replicates a proper forest environment and it contains over 3000 species of animals and plants. It is an absolutely lovely place to visit and children have the opportunity to be a zookeeper for a day at a price of AED 870. If you have an eye for rare species of animals and plants, then this is the perfect place to be. 
Location: City Walk, Dubai   
Timings: 10 AM to 7 PM   
Tickets: AED 120 at the counter, AED 110 if booked online. Free entry for infants under 3 years of age.

7. Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

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Although you can’t talk to animals through gestures like Jason Momoa in Aquaman, you can definitely enjoy watching them at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. This place feels like it is straight out of a dream. It houses over 33,000 marine life in a 10 million litre water tank. There are activities that enable the visitors to take a dive into the tank to see the sharks or rays, where a person can get in close proximity to them under expert supervision. 
Location: Ground floor, The Dubai Mall
Timings: 10 AM to 12 midnight (Sunday to Wednesday)
             10 AM to 1 AM (Thursday to Saturday)
Tickets: VIP explorer experience - AED 345
               Explorer experience - AED 230
               Dubai Aquarium and Aqua Nursery - AED 210
               King Croc Encounter - AED 310
               Ray Encounter - AED 310
               Otter Encounter - AED 310
               Shark trainer encounter - AED 310
               Shark Encounter - AED 630
               All-Access pass - AED 400

8. Dubai Dolphinarium

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Going to Dubai Dolphinarium is arguably one of the most heart-warming places you can visit in Dubai. The place is enclosed and completely air-conditioned. There is an option for a meet and greet with the dolphins and the most common thing people visit the Dolphinarium is for the Dolphin and Seal show. It is advised to book tickets in advance for the meet and greet session with the dolphins. The place also has a bird show and the 5D/7D cinema theatre which keeps the children engaged. 
Location: Creek Park, Dubai
Timings: Dolphin and Seal Show - 11 AM, 2 PM and 6 PM
             Dolphin Planet (meet and greet) - 10 AM to 5 PM
Tickets: Dolphin and Seal Show - Regular - AED 105 (adult)   AED 50 (child)
                                                   VIP - AED 125 (adult)    AED 85 (child)           
               Dolphin Planet - Meet and Greet - AED 265 (mixed group)   AED 1050 (private group)       
                                      Shallow water - AED 475 (mixed group)    AED1900 (private group)       
                                      Swim w/ dolphins- AED 630 (mixed group) AED 2500 (private group)

Places for Wildlife Nearby Dubai

Sharjah and Al-Ain are also rich in wildlife and they have interesting places to visit different kinds of animals and birds.

9. Sharjah Desert Park

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Divided into three different sections, the Sharjah Desert Park is located 28 kilometres away from Sharjah, on the way to Al-Dhaid. It is an edutainment region and it takes you back to the history of the traditional Arabian flora and fauna. The botanical garden houses the most avid variety of plants that can be seen across the country and the Natural History Museum is for the ones who like to take a walk down the memory lanes of UAE. Check out more about the Sharjah Desert Park here.
Timings: *Sunday to Thursday - 9 AM to 5.30 PM
              Friday - 2 PM to 5.30 PM
              Saturday - 11 AM to 5.30 PM           
*Closed on Tuesdays
Ticket prices: AED 15 for adults, AED 5 for children(ages 12-16), free for children under 12 years of age.

10. Wasit Wetland Centre

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This is a bird-exclusive conservation area and it was made a Ramsar site in 2019. It is located in northern Sharjah suburb of Wasit and it is a vast salt plain with extensive areas of mudflats, dunes and freshwater pools. There are 8 birding hides from where people can see the birds.
Timings: *Sunday to Thursday - 9 AM to 6.30 PM
              Friday - 2 PM to 6.30 PM
              Saturday - 11 AM to 6.30 PM           
*Closed on Tuesdays   
Tickets: AED 15 per person (Free for children under 12 years of age)

11. Al Ain Zoo, Al Ain

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Spread across 900 hectares of land at the foot of Jebel Hafeet, the Al-Ain Zoo is massive and is home to about 4000 animals. The Zoo’s major attractions are the big cats and reptiles, for which there are separate enclosures. Every day, the zoo has a bird show featuring predatory and night birds which lasts for 30 minutes starting at 7 PM. There is also a Dinosaur Trail where mechanical models of dinosaurs are present and their history is explained. All the animals are preserved in surroundings which resemble their natural habitats. The whole zoo takes about 2 hours to cover and wheelchairs are provided on request. Check out more about the Al-Ain Zoo here.
Timings: 9 AM to 8 PM   
Tickets: Starting at AED 5
Conservation of wildlife in Dubai has been a major force to reckon and the local governing bodies have been doing every bit to maintain a balance in the biodiversity of the place. If you thought Dubai was all about a vast land of sand and camels in it, then this information is convincing enough to make you think otherwise.

This post was published by Vishal Varma

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