We are just in the middle of the Spring Break here and I decided to travel with the kids to al-Ain (literally The Spring in arabic), also known as the Garden City due to its greenery. It is located in the eastern region of Abu Dhabi Emirate just south of Dubai and east of Abu Dhabi, inland on the border with Oman. For my Muslims friends, an interesting fact: a companion of the prophet Muhammad (SAWS), Ka`ab Bin Ahbar, was reportedly sent to the region to introduce Islam to the people. He settled and died in the oasis.
We rented a cottage in the Green Mubazzarah park, a green expanse at the foot of Jebel Hafeet, the second highest mountain in the UAE. We drove to the top on the first day, and really enjoyed the view. We could see the city on one side and infinite sand dunes on the other side. We also discovered an historical dam built just next to our cottage.
The second day, we headed to Al-Ain Zoo, a beautiful, clean, green, well-maintained park with the world's largest man-made safari.
It was a delighful visit, especially since the zoo was almost empty and we could really take our time to admire the many animals and profit from the green spots.
Since the Green Mubazzarah resort has hot springs, the swimming pools have hot water and are forbidden for kids under 15 so we couldn't profit. It was really hot (35 C/95 F) and we were looking for something refreshing to do on the 3rd day. We found out there was a sports and water park just a few minutes away from our chalet, Wadi Adventure. It is the Middle East's first man-made whitewater rafting, kayaking, surfing and wakeboarding facility, also located at the base of Jebel Hafeet. The big kids tried the Adventure Island activity, a floating Wipe-Out kind of island. I relaxed at the pool while the small ones played in the Kids Splash.
We had a wonderful stay, slept like babies in the peaceful park and really profited from all that green! I'm really glad I could see that part of the country. It's quite different from what we usually see around here.