Al Ain Zoo
Everybody knows about all the exciting animals on display at one of the country’s best zoos, based in the Garden City of Al Ain. What is less well-known, perhaps, is that it has active animal education programmes for school visits or curious explorers. Plus, there are conservation projects to aid the survival of particular species. It’s definitely worth driving out here for a family field trip.
Al Ain Wildlife Park, Al Ain, www.alainzoo.ae (800 966).
Al Wadi Desert Resort
The new Al Wadi Desert Resort in Ras Al Khaimah pitches itself as a luxury Bedouin getaway with a difference. Their on-site environmental consultant reveals that the resort is fully integrated into the landscape of the desert nature reserve, where guests are invited to plant indigenous trees that support and protect the local population. You can also try catch-and-release freshwater fishing, embark on nature walks to bird watch, and learn about the unique surroundings. What’s more, there are plans afoot for a desert animal sanctuary housing meerkats, pygmy goats and hand-reared gazelles.
From Dhs1,600 per night. Al Wadi Desert by The Ritz-Carlton, Al Mazraa, Ras Al Khaimah, www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/uae/al-wadi-desert (07 206 7777).
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
The UAE’s first national park is protected land in a country well-known for rapid construction and high-rise developments. As well as inviting visitors into a controlled environment to see the glorious and untouched splendour of the desert, the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is an area that encourages the study and protection of indigenous flora and fauna.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, www.ddcr.org (04 809 8710).
Emirates Wildlife Society
In association with the WWF, this group campaigns to protect the biodiversity of the UAE. In particular, it aims to raise awareness of many of the high ecological footprint and environmental issues.
Many people, including long-term UAE residents, may be surprised to note that the “world’s most sustainable city” is here in the UAE. Lure children in with the promise of driverless car rides and then get them thinking about the eco-message of the neighbourhood powered by solar power
and cooled by wind.
Masdar City, near Abu Dhabi International Airport area, www.masdar.ae (02 653 3333).
The Emirates Environmental Group
This professional working group is devoted to protecting the environment through education, action programmes and community involvement. Men and women of all ages and nationalities are invited to become members.
Emirates Environmental Group, Jumeirah 1, www.eeg-uae.org (04 344 8622).
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi
This government agency takes an active role in educating residents and businesses about the importance of environmental awareness. Annual events and year-round initiatives are run to focus on particular issues.
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Muroor Road, www.ead.ae (02 445 4777).
The Green Planet Dubai
There are more than 3,000 species of creatures living inside this artificial rainforest in Al Safa. The biodome is an edutainment attraction like no other and will inspire curious minds young and old alike with a detailed and informative exploration of a fascinating environment. Plus, there is a sloth living here, so consider it a winner.
The Green Planet Dubai, City Walk, Al Safa, www.thegreenplanetdubai.com (800 637 227).
Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
As well as being particularly swanky, Jumeirah hotels such as the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Al Naseem and the Madinat Jumeirah complex have rescued and rehabilitated hundreds of wild turtles in the Arabian Gulf. The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project educates and informs tourists and residents, as well as tracks the movements of the critically endangered animals.
Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Road, www.jumeirah.com (04 366 8888).