Best for: Families
This mammoth park is Dubai’s oldest and largest by a long way. It not only houses two (albeit retro) segregated swimming pools and an equestrian centre, but it’s also known as a prime spot for local birdwatchers, what with peacocks roaming around the aviary area and Bruce Scops owls hiding in the trees at night (keep an eye out for them near lampposts).
It’s particularly good for families, as there are endless activities to keep even the most energetic little ones entertained. A ride on the mini train that runs through the park is a good start (and offers a welcome rest, considering how large this park is, although you can also drive through it if you want to save your feet). A camel ride at the park’s petting zoo is another mode of transport on offer. The pièce de résistance, however, is the miniature international village: a surreal place featuring mini houses in the style of abodes from around the world (it’s officially for kids, but we found it pretty cool). On our last visit we spotted a white rabbit bounding through the park, providing a surreal Alice In Wonderland moment.
If you’re not an activities type, head to one of the many picnic areas packed with trees native to the region – the park is, in fact, a natural ghaf forest that was developed into a park in the ’80s. Admittedly, some areas are now a little run down, but that just serves to reinforce its historic character.
Dhs3 per person; Dhs10 per car. Pool access is Dhs10 for adults, Dhs5 for kids. Open daily 8am-11.30pm. Al Khawaneej Road, just outside Mirdif (04 288 3624).