The first thing that will strike you when you enter the Green Planet in the City Walk, Dubai is a huge bio-dome, that hosts the Green Planet and a huge man-made tree that is actually home to more than 3000 species of flora and fauna. The Green Planet, as the name suggests, is a miniature representation of the neotropical forests of the Amazon. Developed by Meraas and designed by Grout McTavish assisted by Hansen Roberts, this unique “living” museum is every square inch throbs with life. Completed in 2016, Dubai Green The planet is as much as a technical marvel as it is natural.
The entire biodome is encased in a huge cube with a single dome. The built area of the Green Planet structure is 4.365 square meters (60,000 square feet) and has a 30 m x 30 m cube from bottom to top. The structure of the Green Plant is very unique and striking. It has 3 sided concrete wall and on one side you will see the tall glazed glass dome that actually houses the Green Plant. The structure is fully LED compliant and uses sunlight for energy.
The Green Planet is located in the iconic City Walk, which has many “firsts” to its credit including the first containerized shopping mall, “The Box Park”. It provides an immersive experience to visitors. The humidity is kept at 70% to match that of average Amazon humidity, there is a giant waterfall that gives a feeling of the flooded forest floor of a tropical forest.
The whole biodome of Green Planet is divided into four levels, vertically. The bottom-most part of the biodome is called the “Flooded Forest floor” and is home to many flora and fauna. This includes a giant wall-to-wall aquarium where you would actually walk-into. This aquarium has much different fish including the deadly piranhas. While you are walking in, look up and you will see the entire biosphere of the Green Planet. The second level is the forest floor level and this where the inside waterfall ends by hitting the floor with a great noise. You will find lush green flora over here. The Green The planet is made in such a way that you have a very close interaction with the inhabitants of the dome. However, you are not advised to touch. There are spiral and crisscross pathways that take you to the top as if you are climbing on the huge treetop. A lot of birds and animals including snakes etc. will be here.
The floor that comes next to the forest floor level is the Midstory. The Midstory is the mid-section of the “Living tree” which has got monkeys, snakes, and tree climbing cats.
At the top of the biodome is the canopy which houses birds like kingfishers including kookaburra.
An Australian Walkabout
Australia is probably the preferred home for a maximum number of reptiles and marsupials. The down under, as it is called, has many strange creatures in the outback, and the Green Planet has tried to recreate this “Outback” for you by including such animals as Lace Goanna Lizards which are set in a crashed plane inside the Green Planet. There is an abandoned campsite on the forest floor where you will find various lizards including snake neck lizard, bearded dragon, frilled neck lizard, and blue tongue skink in a setting that would be reminiscent of the most famous rock in the world, “Uluru” or Ayers Rock. Wallabies is a cousin of Australia’s more famous marsupial, Kangaroo. What more, you may have a Kookaburra experience at the Green Planet every day at 11 am.
Australian Walkabout is where the in-house biologists would join you and give you a full briefing about the concept and its importance.
The Amazon Experience
The basic Green Planet, Dubai theme is about the Amazon, its flora, its fauna, its humidity, its temperature, its waterfalls, and its sheer beauty. Amazon is not only the biggest river but also the one that hosts the most diverse plant and animal life. While creating a replica of this mighty and complex system, the designers took inspiration from typical giant trees of Amazon which have a layered structure that soars high to catch the sun in the form of a canopy. The canopy of the Green Planet hosts various birds, monkeys, and insects, among which the leaf-cutting ants are on display. There are also squirrel monkeys that are rarely found out of Amazon anywhere. However, most monkeys are kept in cabins to protect them and hence you have to be lucky to catch a glimpse of them.
You will also get to see many kinds of bats including fruit bats, and pygmy bats also known as slow Loris. These bats are hosted in a dark cave-like structure burrowed on the giant tree at the canopy level. These bats are very unique and wonderful. These have a very strong grip and huge innocent eyes that enable them to see them in the dark.
The fish population consists of various schools of piranhas, catfish, and squirting fish. Squirting fish are famous to shoot a narrow jet of water as a spit to hit its prey/ food high above. In The Green Planet, Dubai, you would be witnessing this action. And yes, these fish are called Archerfish and can be trained.
There are plenty of Selfie taking places and the backdrop of colorful parakeets, green vegetation, and beautiful architecture just adds up to the beauty of this place.
Every-now-and-then you will find the staff of the Green Planet bringing out some of the creatures like snakes, creepy crawlers and birds, etc. for a closer interaction with them. You need not worry if you come across one of them as they are very well trained to handle them. You may stop by and ask any questions related to these faunae and they would gladly answer them. The objective of the management of The Green Plant to appreciate and encourage the Amazon which is also called the lungs of the earth. It is an immersive edutainment for the whole family.
A visit to the Green Planet
A visit to the Green Planet is at least 2 hours affair and if you have kids then it may even take longer. However, the secret lies in buying the right package. Not everything is included in every package. A simple visit will set your wallet back by Aed 110/= if purchased online. This includes the following a. Full access to all areas of the Green Planet b. Australian Walkabout, flooded forest, The Forest Floor, The Midstory and the Canopy c. Infants below 3 shall be admitted free d. Free parking for the visitors
If you buy the “Bird Encounter Package” at Aed 283, then you get to spend exclusively 20 minutes in a group of Six (max), toucan, calques, and small colorful parrots. You can ask questions and the birdkeepers would answer gladly. You may even hold one of them. There is only one such show every day and It starts at 11.30 am.
You may also buy a “Reptile Package” to have a close encounter with the creepy cold blood including geckos, lizards, and of course slithering snakes of multi-colors.
The biggest hit, however, the Sloth Package of 30 minutes that starts at 2.30 pm every day. Sloth is one of the slowest moving animals who love their inertia. Having been featured in such iconic movies such as The Lion King, the sloths are known to be the slowest moving creatures and lazy too. They generally hang upside down like bats. The sloth package is pegged at Aed 334/=. If you liked green planet you may also be interested in Dubai Garden Glow.
You may also go in for the Sugar Glider Package at Aed 283.
All packages are applicable on a per-person basis. You may enquire about group packages, birthday packages, or any other package directly by calling them.
Prices may also vary depending upon seasonality.
How to reach
City Walk is actually very easy to reach. Take Red Metro and get down at the Dubai Mall Metro station and cross over the Sheikh Zayed Road through the covered and air-conditioned Foot-over-bridge and you are very close City Walk Dubai. Meraas also runs a number of shuttles from various parts of Dubai and you could never be far from one of their shuttling points. Visit www.citywalk.ae and you would get all the route numbers for shuttle buses.
The Green Planet is open all days from 10 am morning to 7 pm in the evening. Grab your tickets and get set for a trip to the dense forests of Amazon right in Dubai.
You may not have any dining requirements as you are visiting a zoo-cum-bird sanctuary all rolled in one for only two hours and eating food there may not be advisable. However, there are plenty of restaurants available once you are out. There is a funky new-age fusion restaurant like Pomme De Pain, Eggspectation, Dose Café, Sugar Factory, and more. In fact, the entire City Walk is home to many fashionable café and restaurants.