The oldest and largest zoo in the UAE, Al Ain Zoo was opened in 1968 and much has changed and improved since. This 900 hectare park near the base of Jebel Hafeet is where visitors can see a large animal collection in enclosures that closely resemble their natural habitats. There are plenty of green public spaces for picnics and also playgrounds, a cafeteria and a train tour of the wildlife area.
The Al Ain Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals, with at least 30% of its 180 species considered endangered. Conservation efforts have been strengthened by partnerships with San Diego Zoo, the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Miami, and the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
Giraffe feeding, camel riding and “Elezba” petting zoo are the latest interactive activities. Visitors can enjoy feeding the giraffe treats such as carrots or lettuce five times daily in a special area. Designed in the style of a local farm, the “Elezba” petting zoo lets families feed and play with sheep, goats, camels, llamas, chicken and ducks, enjoy camel riding or picnic in a designated area.
There is also a Children’s Garden, which is a fun-filled, outdoor learning area designed to inspire children with a love for biodiversity. The garden features a rolling hill, mixed use play areas, picnic spots, a flower garden and native plant garden with species indigenous to the UAE, a recycling garden and a vegetable, fruit and herb garden. With spectacular African Baobab trees framing the area, the towering trunks offer a genuine horticulture lesson in how specific plants can adapt to dry soil conditions.