Dubai’s Miracle Garden is a true oasis in the desert. Granted, it’s a fantasy, man made oasis, but like everything in Dubai, it is a big, bold and over the top experience.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love gardening and gardens. So it should come as no surprise that I search them out in my travels. When I read about the Miracle Garden in Dubai, I put it at the top of my list for must see sights.
As the taxi drove me outside the main part of the city, the skyscrapers and neighborhoods gave way to a dry and desolate looking landscape. For a little while, I was wondering if we were heading in the right direction – but my GPS confirmed that we were going the right way. When we reached the entrance to the attraction, with its brightly colored planters and green shrubs, there was no doubt. A profusion of blooms was exploding out of the desert.
This was the sixths season for the Miracle Garden, which is only available for viewing during the cooler months from November through April. Do not go expecting a botanical garden experience. This is a Disney-esque theme-park-like attraction on an extravagantly large scale. Each season there are new displays in order to entice repeat visits. Millions of flowers (45 to 60 million depending on the source) are used to cover walls, buildings, topiaries, structures of all shapes and sizes, and even an Emirates airbus A380. This airbus may be grounded but it holds a Guinness World Title for Largest Floral Installation.
Every surface was covered in flowers. Every basket was a perfectly blooming ball of color. And if a few of any one design element was pretty – then more was even better. Repeating, bloom covered elements where everywhere. Oversized swans. Huge colorful birds. Cute ants, turtles and giraffes. Ostriches. Houses. A tunnel made out of heart shaped arbors. A tunnel made out of butterfly shaped arbors. Topiary palm trees. There seemed to be no end to the creative displays.
If a section did not meet the required level of perfection, it was not open to the viewing public. The walkway in the photo below was not open on the day I visited because the area “was not ready yet”. It looked pretty good from my perspective.
But even though I could not walk through the closed section, I could view it from on high, which was actually better – no people in the scene to disrupt the photo. This new section has another Guinness Record holder – this one for world’s tallest topiary supported structure. 100,000 plants and flowers made up a very big (55 ft tall) and very realistic looking Mickey Mouse. This floral statue of Mickey honors the 90th anniversary of his creation. As part of the licensing agreement with the Walt Disney Company, the Miracle Garden will install other Disney characters for its updated display next fall.
Mickey wasn’t the only show stopper. The 800,000 square foot garden space has the shape of a circle and is divided into roughly 6 wedges, with each area showcasing a focal point or two. There is a large Bear topiary. There is a clock display surrounded by the floral plumage of a large peacock. There is a large woman’s head with flowing flowery hair. There is the airbus. And in the middle, there is a multi-level viewing areal that gives you a 360° view of the whole garden.
The garden has plenty of refreshment options and shaded areas to enjoy them. Of course, these are also florally decorated and colorful.
Besides all these beautiful flower displays, there was another instagrammer’s dream-come-true: hanging umbrellas. Lots and lots and lots of them. There was a multitude of multi colored umbrellas shading and decorating the refreshment areas. Such an easy photo op.
My favorite display though was not big or bold or brash. It was actually a small display that most people just seemed to walk by without noticing very much. It was the cutout silhouette of a beautiful young woman wearing a hijab that was decorated with blue petunias. So simple and yet so stunning, especially with the yellow sunflowers framing it.
I started my visit at Dubai’s Miracle Garden at 9 AM when they opened. By the time I left around lunchtime, not only was it getting hotter, but it was also getting busier. As a gardener and lover of all things floral, I really enjoyed my visit. It was truly a one of a kind experience.
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