A Sea of Flowers
Dubai Miracle Gardens
Location: Dubai, UAE
Aaron Noah M.
“What a mess!” I grumbled.
Not about the flowers, but about the parking lot getting in to see the flowers. The place was jammed packed with cars and strolling families making their way to gate number two.
Last year I had visited Miracle Gardens and I counted a total of three cars (including mine) in front of the main gate—the only gate. A year later and now there were two entrances, two parking areas, and a flood of humanity trying to squeeze their way in. Things change quickly in Dubai.
On that initial visit I had only made it as far as the ticket counter, as the AED 20 ($5.50) entrance fee was enough of a deterrent for, what seemed to me at the time, simply a parking lot full of plants. However, the arrival of out-of-town guests last month prompted me to return to Miracle Gardens and actually see what was inside.
Like everything else in the UAE, this garden is going for the record books. Developed by Akar Landscaping Services and Agriculture, Miracle Gardens is an abundant collection of some 45 million blooming flowers, and the site includes prayer rooms, restaurants and shops. It currently holds the Guinness World Record for largest vertical garden (set in March 2013) and I’m sure they’ll try for others once they finish Phase II sometime in 2014.
Bring a camera, as there is color at every turn along the meandering pathways. Throughout the garden you’ll find a myriad of displays, most of them appealing to a kitsch crowd. There are arches, pyramids, and sculptures all brimming with flowers. Most scenes looked to be inspired by Disney, cartoonish and cute, but a few demonstrated a different artistic flair, such as one area that incorporated flora growing out of old automobiles.
Overall Miracle Gardens is a whimsical place that doesn’t attempt to be much more than a spectacle of flowers. It’s perfect for photo ops, especially for those looking to spice up their Facebook profile. Aspiring photographers will also appreciate this enormous scenic playground to practice their craft. From close-ups to landscapes to portrait shots, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy. Enjoyed at face value, Miracle Gardens is a fun afternoon out of the city.
The maze of entry roads getting in and out is a headache, especially with the crowds you’ll encounter on the weekend. Once inside you’ll then have to compete with a mob of wannabe models all looking to get their photos in prime locations (such as the heart archways). A mid-week visit is recommended to avoid the masses. Personally I wish the experience could be more immersive or cerebral. At Miracle Gardens the flowers are mostly background material for your snapshots. I’d like to see signs and exhibits with information about the different species and I’d like to see a greater diversity of plants; there may be 45 million flowers but there are only 45 different varieties used. There are many smaller botanical gardens around the world that warrant greater curiosity and magic.
Expansion is already underway and we should see some new attractions soon, including a Butterfly Garden (housed in domes), an Aromatic Garden (where guests can harvest and make fresh tea), Flowers Valley and an Edible Plants Garden (where folks can pick and eat).
Getting there: Miracle Gardens is located in Al Barsha South Dubai, right next to the Dubailand Experience Centre on the roundabout at E311 and Umm Sequeim.
Timings: 9am-9pm Sunday to Thursday & 9am-11pm Friday to Saturday
Rates: AED 20 Regular Admission & Free for disabled and children under 3 years old.
Phone: 04 422 8902
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