Abu Dhabi is a lovely T-shaped island located on the Persian Gulf. This one-time fishing village has rapidly developed into a tourist hotspot over the recent years. Established by Sheikh Zayed, the present-day Abu Dhabi was designed by Japanese architect Dr Takahashi. Today’s Abu Dhabi is all about broad boulevards, gleaming skyscrapers, busy shopping malls and great monuments such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Qasr Al Hosn. The Heritage Village adds to Abu Dhabi’s historical charm, while Ferrari World and the Yas Marina Circuit bring in the excitement. With numerous wildlife parks and National Parks, Abu Dhabi is a real delight for visitors.
- The Mangrove National Park
This ecological gem is located next to the Abu Dhabi city centre. There are mudflats, mangrove forests, salt marshes, and several algal communities. The Mangrove National Park makes up about 75% of Abu Dhabi’s total mangrove forest area. You’ll be amazed at the sheer biodiversity, especially the many plant species and wildlife such as crabs, herons and flamingos that thrive amidst the mangroves.
- Arabian Wildlife Park
The Arabian Wildlife Park houses about 10,000 free animals. The park is located in the 1,400 hectares large Sir Bani Yas Island natural reserve. Here wildlife such as Ostriches, Giraffe and Oryx exist in their natural habitat. The park has many successful animal breeding programmes which are focussed on bringing back near extinct animals to the park. The Arabian Wildlife Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi.
- Al Ain Zoo
The Al Ain Zoo is an enormous 900 hectare wildlife park which houses more than 4,000 animal species. Out of these, nearly 180 species are endangered. At the zoo, you’ll delight in seeing the almost extinct white lion, plus Oryx, eland, gazelle, lechwe, Arabian antelopes, pumas, jaguars, black, leopards, and many more animals. You can also feed giraffe and ride camels and help promote animal welfare at the park.
- Ferrari World
Ferrari World is the world’s only Ferrari-based amusement park, located at Yas Island. It is home to the world’s biggest and fastest roller coaster ride, the Formula Rossa. There are also a number of other exciting immersive rides such as Tire twists, GT junior for kids and Flying aces. For grownups, there are plenty of shopping outlets and multi-cuisine restaurants.
- Emirates Park Zoo
The fabulous Emirates Park Zoo houses a spectacular pair of while tigers, several cheetahs, zebras, lions and several other prime species of wildlife. Located in the Al Bahia region, the Emirates Park Zoo houses about 1700 animals. The zoo has a unique ‘misting’ system that keeps the animals cool in the sweltering heat. The fully air-conditioned Emirates Park Resort is right next door for visitors.
- Sheikh Zayed Mosque
One of the world’s largest mosques, Sheikh Zayed Mosque can seat an astonishing 40,000 worshippers. The mosque has 82 domes and more than 1,000 columns all made of marble. What’s more, there are 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers as well, with one of the world’s largest chandeliers dominating the prayer hall. The chandelier is 10 metres in diameter and is 15 metres tall, and weighs twelve tonnes. That apart, the mosque is also home to the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. Lovely reflective pools surround the mosque, amplifying its magnificence.
- Abu Dhabi Desert
The mystical red sands of the desert will call out to you the moment you enter the desert. This ancient landscape extends the sort of magic that you’ll only come across in books. Enjoy a wonderful Abu Dhabi desert safari experience, including desert sports such as dune bashing, quad biking, sand boarding and camel riding. If you’re signing up for an evening safari, enjoy typical Arabian hospitality and a lovely dinner under the stars.
- Al Ain Oasis
The Al Ain Oasis is a blissful region in the middle of the city. It is 1,200 hectares large, and contains over 147,000 date palms comprising of more than 100 different varieties. Walk through the cool and shady walkways to get away from the heat and noise of the city. Al Ain is a tranquil haven where you can understand the oasis eco-system and the importance of oases to the growth of the Emirates. Check out the Falaj traditional irrigation system that taps into underground wells.
- Jebel Hafeet
Jebel Hafeet is the highest peak in the Emirates, rising to 1,240 metres. It is a craggy limestone mountain that’s stood guard over the city for millions of years. The mountain houses fossils and tombs from different eras, and has been the delight of archaeologists the world over. More than 500 ancient burial tombs from beyond 5,000 years have been discovered in the Jebel Hafeet foothills.
- Marina Eye
As you walk along the famous Abu Dhabi Corniche, you’ll spot the most eye-catching feature, the Marina Eye Ferris wheel, in front of the Marina Mall. Enjoy a totally different perspective of Abu Dhabi and unparalleled views of the city from one of the Marina Eye’s 42 capsules. There are several luxurious VIP capsules as well if you want to have a private dinner on the Eye or enjoy a private party.
- Wadi Adventure
Wadi Adventure is the very first manmade facility for surfing, white-water rafting and kayaking in the region. The Wadi Adventure Park is located in the foothills of the majestic Jebel Hafeet. The 3.3 metre man-made surf wave is considered the largest in the world, and the 1.7 kilometre kayaking channel network is considered the longest in the world. In fact, Wadi Adventure Park has been voted as one of the top 50 Favourite Surfing Sites by none other than the Surfing Magazine. The magazine also ranks the artificially created surfing pool as the 41st best surfing beach in the world.
- Observation Deck At 300
The Observation Deck at 300 is located on the 74th floor of Tower 2 at the Etihad Towers complex. From here you can enjoy simply scintillating views of the city’s skyline and cityscape. You can even check out the surrounding islands. At a height of 300 meters, this is the highest point in all of Abu Dhabi. At Observation Deck at 300 you can enjoy some delicious refreshments, or just some light snacks or even a High Tea while taking in the views.
Abu Dhabi has the sort of attractions the modern tourist likes. It’s a combination of natural attractions plus manmade spectacular glories that strikes the right chord in people. The city is bustling with activity and business these days, but that does not take anything away from the natural beauty and completeness of this beautiful emirate.