Dubai is known for its year-round sunshine and blue skies but sometimes opting for an indoor attraction can offer a break from the heat. This feature of Life takes you on a tour of the best under-cover attractions the city has to offer.
The Green Planet
One indoor attraction on offer is The Green Planet - a man-made rainforest that is home to over 3000 species of plants and animals. The unique structure is designed specifically to be the ideal habitat for tropical plants and animals despite being in the middle of the Dubai desert.
There are a range of attractions at the Green Planet - most notably the piranha tank where over 1,000 of the fish are on display. Once a day at 16:00 visitors can see a feeding session. Piranhas are notorious for their razor sharp teeth and carnivorous eating habits. Other attractions include the Australian Walkabout - a multi-species exhibit featuring the Australian carpet python, white tree frogs, the lace goanna lizard residing in an abandoned plane and many more.
Housing plants and animals from such a contrasting climate to Dubai's requires sophisticated technology. Sara Stevens is the curator of The Green Planet:
"The glass for the windows was imported from overseas to be 82% UV penetrable to allow for all those nutrients to come in. Even the misting system is digital and automatic to make sure that if the humidity drops below 80 percent in the building it sprays on every level to provide the perfect environment for all the animals."
Sara Stevens said the facility is a chance for young people to learn about conservation first-hand:
"It’s one thing to of course learn about conservation in the classroom but it’s another to come here, experience a bird flying by you, a sloth next to you and see where the ginger, vanilla or chocolate that you eat comes from and the plants that are there and then learn how important it is to conserve."
If you have always wanted to experience the feeling of skydiving without having to jump out of a plane or off of a cliff - iFly Dubai offers a vertical wind tunnel that can boost people into the air. This is the first double vertical wind tunnel in the world which can generate winds of up to 200 kilometers per hour. Users get the sensation of free-falling despite being indoors when they do it.
The instructor are used to dealing with first-timers and are fully qualified, they undergo regular training and are assessed by the international governing body. One user, Sarah, said this made the experience feel secure:
"I was quite nervous going in but the instructor made me feel so safe, because first time, I didn't know what I was doing and she really obviously made me feel a lot more comfortable, like, going in and doing it. It was really good."
If you want an experience closer to skydiving you can try iFly Dubai with a virtual reality headset on. The visor is built into your helmet and will provide all the visuals of a free-fall from nearly 4000 meters.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
The largest indoor theme park in the world, IMG Worlds of Adventure spreads across nearly 140,000 square meters with five adventure zones each designed for different visitor experiences. Lennard Otto, the CEO, said there is something to offer for everyone:
"We have the perfect family atmosphere where the thrill-seekers can come, the younger kids can come, all in an enclosed environment, which allows to operate all year round without any impact on seasonality. The climate is always consistent."
The technology alone has won several awards since the scale of the park is vast:
"The overall structure is 28 football fields in size and we have only 12 columns in the middle holding up the entire space and we wanted to create that space so it feels like you’re in an outdoor environment but there’s a big roof over the top."