Looking to walk on the wild side? Here are the top free animal and nature activities to do in Dubai
14 November 2019| Last updated on 1 October 2020
The best getaways from Dubai's concrete jungle at zero cost
Dubai's nature scene is an underrated treasure trove of activities and a refreshing break from the shimmering skyline we know.
As the weather is cooling down and the holiday season nears, there's no better time to gather friends and loved ones, plan a picnic, grab your bird-watching binoculars, and enjoy family-friendly animal encounters and nature facilities set in beautiful, natural escapes. That's right, it's the perfect season for nature activities and animal encounters in Dubai.
Trade those towering skyscrapers for lush trees, metal cars for exotic wildlife, and concrete pavements for green, floral routes. These are the best free animal and nature activities in Dubai that everyone in the family will love.
1. Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
You don't have to pay to visit the aquarium to admire the 33,000 fish, sharks, stingrays, and other aquatic life at Dubai Mall. The world-record-breaking 10 million litre tank is displayed from the outside at different angles - opposite the H&M retail store or just before the mall's food court.
But if you're keen to explore more and experience close encounters with a variety of exotic marine species, you can purchase an aquarium pass that gives access to the underwater zoo, behind the scenes tour, underwater observatory, ride a boat with a glass bottom, and a submersible simulator.
Location: Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai
Price: AED 100 online or AED 135 at the location (per person)
Timing: 10 AM to midnight (daily)
2. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
Over 20,000 birds from 67 species call the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary home. Here, thanks to the binoculars available for borrowing, you can freely marvel at a majestic flock of pink flamingos and encounter a range of avian life.
Location: Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, Dubai Creek, Ras Al Khor
Timing: 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM (Saturday - Thursday); 2 PM - 5:30 PM (Friday)
3. Al Qudra Lake
Located at just a 30-minute drive from Dubai, visitors to this rural site will be treated to Dubai's biodiversity - more than 150 species of birds including swans, pink flamingos, ducks, geese, and much, much more. Al Qudra Lake is also gaining popularity as a camping and barbeque site for UAE residents and tourists. Great for catching views of birds and the beautiful desert sunset.
Location: After Al Maktoum International Airport
Timing: Open 24/7
4. Umm Suqeim Park
Enjoy the serene nature of the well-maintained Umm Suqeim Park. Free entry for all, UAE residents and visitors can have a picnic or turn up the grill for a barbecue.
Location: Near Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah
Timing: 8 AM to 10 PM (daily)
5. Al Barsha Pond Park
One of the best free activities in Dubai is enjoying a calm, nature-filled day at a park. Al Barsha Pond Park is another free public park in Dubai where anyone can enjoy a day outdoors.
Location: Al Barsha 2
Timing: 8 AM to 10 PM (Saturday to Wednesday)
6. Burj Park
Situated near the base of the iconic Burj Khalifa is the Burj Park - a free, pet-friendly public park in Dubai that offers incredible views of the dancing Dubai Fountains, uninterrupted views of the Burj Khalifa, a lush green strip with plenty of restaurant and cafe options nearby at Emaar Boulevard, seating areas, and children's play areas.
Location: Near Burj Residences, Downtown Dubai
Timing: Open 24/7