I really didn’t want to like this place. The photos of it looked terrible. A friend had told me it would take 30 minutes max. But admittedly, I really like gardens. There aren’t really any beautiful gardens here in Dubai. With Anna visiting, we decided we would embrace the tacky factor and head to the Miracle Garden. And hey, it was kinda fun!
Dubai Miracle Garden is situated in the ill-fated Dubailand development. Dubailand was announced in 2003. It was going to cover an area of 3 billion square feet, and cost over AED 3 billion to build. The park was supposed to contain 45 mega projects and over 200 sub projects, and on completion, was to be twice the size of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It didn’t work out as planned. Remnants of the original Dubailand are still dotted around the place – Global Village and the Miracle Garden are just two of them.
I have always been interested in theme parks and developments, and I remember reading about Dubailand years ago. Reading about it all those years ago, I never have thought I would end up living in Dubai. I remember it particularly as there was a planned development called the Falconcity of Wonders. For some reason, this appealed to me greatly. It seemed like the greatest Dubai development. You could buy a villa on the wing of a Falcon! SO CLASSY. Ironically, we drove past Falconcity of Wonders on the way to IMG earlier this year. It didn’t look so wonderful. Considering their remoteness, the villas are expensive. Some look pretty nice, to be honest, and at least there is a little variety – something often lacking in Dubai compounds. The area was going to get a financial kick start in 2016, but it seems they are still waiting for it.
Dubai Parks and Resorts hosts some of the parks that were originally going to be in Dubailand. The whole plan was just too ambitious. Seriously, look at the proposed size of it. Yikes. If you know your Dubai landmarks, the Dubai Outlet Mall looked out over the gates of the proposed Universal Studios. Dubailand was supposed to stretch from there all the way to Al Barsha. Al Sahra, the resort in the absolute middle of nowhere where I went horse riding earlier this year, was supposed to be a part of it. I’m almost certain the Meydan South compound would have been located within the original confines of the plan.
If you are interested in the sad demise of the project once known as Dubailand, click here. It’s some good reading. There is more here. If you’d like to know a bit more about Dubai Miracle Garden, one of the few successful projects, read on!
Dubai Miracle Garden was surprisingly busy. I guess it was Christmas Eve, but I wasn’t expecting that. It always makes me laugh, the cross-section you see at Dubai attractions. In New Zealand, you wouldn’t catch young people choosing to spend their afternoon – much less paying to do so – at a large, gaudy flower garden. In Dubai, there just aren’t that many places to go.
However, it is really pretty. You see flowers so seldom in Dubai – or I seem to, living in Downtown. To walk around the flowers was actually a bit of a treat. It is funny, the things you miss, living in the desert. The only flowers I tend to see these days are those awful roses they sell for hideous amounts at the mall… the ones that are chemically engineered to last for months. There were birds flying around! There was a giant teddy! Big swans! THERE WAS A FLOWER COCKATOO!
To put it simply, there isn’t much to the garden. It is a collection of large flower sculptures in various shapes and sizes, a bunch of kiosks, and a few shops. Nothing earth shattering. But the flowers are well-tended and aesthetically pleasing. If you try not to think too hard about the sheer amount of water that must be put into the attraction to keep it alive, it’s a nice wander.
Parts of the part are hilarious. It is like they got a discount lot on creepy imitation Pixar ants and Disney umbrellas, and my personal favourites, the startled ostriches. So many startled ostriches. Why are there so many ostriches? They also repurposed part of the Dubailand sales office. I’d recognize that Space Shuttle a mile off. But other parts are pretty impressive. I have to admit that I did like the plane. Everything in Dubai attempts to be the biggest and the best, but apparently, the big ol’ flower plane has been awarded the record for the World’s Largest Flower Structure. Matt pointed out that it wouldn’t be aerodynamic. Thank you, Matt.
It might not be the best place to go for peace and quiet, but it is pretty. There are lots of places to sit, providing you don’t plonk yourself down on a flower bed. If you do, an overzealous flower guard will blow a whistle at you. But for a bit of a wander, and to enjoy some pretty flowers, you can’t go wrong. There is apparently also a Butterfly Garden, which I plan on visiting next time.
Where: Al Barsha South 3, Barsha,Dubailand Area
Cost: 45AED for adults, 30AED for children.
Opening hours: 9AM – 9PM, Sunday to Thursday, 9AM – 11PM during Weekends (Friday and Saturday)