Last year, Dubai Municipality announced plans to spend Dhs6 billion to transform the city into a green paradise by 2025, and last month it announced that Dubai is set to have 13 new community parks by the end of 2015. Across the Emirates, more parks and green spaces are blossoming and Mushrif Central Park, Abu Dhabi (formerly) Mushrif Park – one of the oldest in the UAE, having been open since 1982 – is the latest to have been revamped.
Some of the park’s new features include an amphitheatre, an animal barn, a Shade House, a botanical garden, children’s and evening gardens and a new Saturday farmer’s market. We asked Tanuja Kothari, director of the renewal project at Al Ain Properties, more about this project and the park’s features.
It is referred to as the ‘People’s Park.’ What does that mean?
The park has been dedicated to the community of Abu Dhabi by the leaders of the region. It was designed to offer education through recreation and to create a platform for community interaction.
What does the park offer families and kids?
We have added a monthly programme, which includes outdoor family movie nights, yoga and fitness classes for adults and children and teen football games. The Animal Barn is home to 12 animals including camels, goats, ponies, and cows. The petting zoo is also a great way to engage children because they can feed the animals and go for pony rides. There is a running trail around the perimeter of the park along with the promenade where visitors can walk, jog, or cycle. The amphitheatre will host theatrical and artistic performances, children’s plays and concerts. Schedule a visit to Mushrif Central Park to see what everyone is talking about.
What is the Shade House?
It is a unique structure with two upper level viewing decks offering picturesque views of the park and its surrounding skyline. The goal of the Shade House is to lower peak daytime temperatures throughout the year. The plants benefit from a 50 percent or greater shaded environment, which allows tropical species (that would not typically survive under the strong sun and environmental conditions found outside the facility) to thrive. The Shade House also includes a fogging and misting system to help maintain humidity levels to support plant growth.
Tell us about the trees salvaged from the original Mushrif Park.
We are proud to have been able to complete the challenging task of salvaging more than 200 mature trees and replanting them. This is a tribute to the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE (may he rest in peace), and his love of nature and passion for environmental conservation.
In total, there are now around 250 different species throughout the park.
How did you incorporate traditional Islamic elements into the design?
The five elements of Islamic design were used in the planning of the park. They include quadripartite patterned walls and gates, wind and water, vegetation, shade, and pavilions. The design approach aimed to blend the style of traditional Islamic gardens with contemporary landscape and architecture.
Dhs5 (general entry), free for kids under three.
Open daily 7am-10pm. Abu Dhabi. For more information visit www.mushricentralpark.ae or www.facebook.com/mushrifcentralpark.
Dubai’s new green developments
This is one of Dubai’s most popular parks. It occupies 64 hectares in the heart of Downtown Dubai and offers sweeping views of the Burj Khalifa. The northern part of the park, which was a great spot for picnics and birdwatching, has been under construction since last year to make way for the new Dubai Water Canal. Construction means entry to the park is only possible through gates 1 and 2. The trees that have been uprooted will be replanted in Dubai’s other parks. The Dubai Canal is due to be completed in 2018.
Dhs3. Daily 8am-10pm. Al Hadiqa Street, Al Safa.
This sprawling green space near Mirdif is set to be the home of the Dubai Planetarium. The Park is the only one in Dubai that you can actually drive through and it keeps visitors entertained with camel rides, an international village comprising 13 models of Arabic and English houses, an equestrian centre, barbecue and pool areas. Construction of the planetarium is scheduled to begin this year.
Dhs3 per person, Dhs 10 per car. Daily 8am-11pm. Mirdif.