We had anything but a proper vacation for this Spring Break. Lewis had chicken pox for the first week. Then on the weekend, Owen was hospitalised with pneumonia. My work was also busy, so with just a few days remaining of the boy’s holiday, we opted for a Staycation.
We decided to stay at Emirates Park Zoo & Resort.
The boys could clearly benefit from a greater appreciation for wildlife:
— Ryan B (@rbrink77) April 5, 2017
We arrived and I wondered if this was the right place to bring the kids when Owen loudly announced that the place smelled like poo.
Outside our door was a sandy enclosure with seven deer. Owen didn’t know who painstakingly painted the white dots on them.
And through a window on the other side of the enclosure we could see lions staring back at us. Or they were probably staring at all that sweet venison they’re unable to get at.
The zoo sold bunches of green leafy grass to feed the animals. We fed monkeys, farmyard animals, tortoises, camels. Having turtles for pets made the boys spend mossssssssst of the tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime feeding the tortoises. Which actually weren’t as slow as I had expected. Some of the animals like camels and donkeys were able to reach quite far beyond the fence. This actually looked dangerous with their huge heads and massive teeth. There were signs warning people of the risk. The boys appreciated this and made a disturbing song to the tune of Frozen, “Do you want your nose bit offfff?”
Some time after seeing all sorts of exotic animals, we came across our compatriot kangaroos. Myles naturally started a normal Australian conversation with them, “G’day mate. Have you been drinking any XXXX lately?” The zoo also had kookaburras, and sulphur-crested cockatoos. I seemed to spend more time with them than any other birds – just like when you’re at a party and you find someone you went to school with.
We attended just one of the scheduled shows, which was mostly an educational segment. What we learned was that one of their South American birds awkwardly wasn’t in the mood to perform. All “Tookie” had to do was hop across the four poles that the two people from the crowd were holding. That evening at the buffet I asked Myles if he also thought the meat in our biriyani looked anything like Tookie.
Myles compared the variety of animals on display to what he saw on his recent African trip. One observation was the goats here looked less like horses on drugs. And Ugandan giraffe were much taller.
I woke up a couple of times in the middle of the night, not to the sound of noisy neighbours or construction site activities, but to the roar of lions and nature. From the safety of a locked hotel room, this was brilliant.
For quite some time, each shriek or noise got our attention and led to a “What was that!?” Some sounds were quite clear. Others were contested. For instance, we couldn’t agree if one particular recurring noise we heard was an elephant or a chair moving.
The next morning it was apparent the folks next door had no zoo food to feed the animals. Instead they improvised and gave our deers something resembling red chutney for breakfast. Thankfully the parents stopped the daughter before she gave them cocoapops for a second course.
The other kind of food you could purchase at the zoo was bags of nuts for the monkeys. We purchased these on the second day. The zoo’s monkeys though got hardly any, while my two big monkeys tuckered in.
The monkeys were overall very interesting to my boys. They loved seeing the monkey’s human-like hands reaching out from their cage to get the food. I had to correct Myles when he said they looked just like humans. They looked just like humans in jail. And some of their jail cells seemed small.
Myles spotted the Reptile House, and was quite accurate that for me it was like a Haunted House. In the enclosure for the anaconda, it was quite interesting/worrying to see no anaconda, yet a surgical mask was left laying on the ground. I wondered if this was perhaps evidence alluding to a horrifying story.
— Ryan B (@rbrink77) April 6, 2017
We thoroughly enjoyed the experience at the Emirates Park Zoo & Resort. It’s not far from the Yas area of Abu Dhabi – before you reach the city.
I highly recommend staying for a couple of nights, if you prefer to take more time watching and interacting with the animals, and not worrying about missing any exhibits.
I did notice they had some room for improvement. Their so-called “Mammal Cave” had no lazy guy on a couch watching TV with remote control in hand.