Wanderlust: RAK Zoo

Want to do something totally different this weekend? How about venturing off to Ras Al Khaimah? One of the seven Emirates making up the UAE.

The drive from Dubai to RAK is roughly one hour. This really isn’t that long! You will enjoy the complete change of scenery on your way. A calmer pace to life as you enter the Emirate. The ocean surrounds the coast of RAK and there are beautiful mountains with giant rock formations that can be seen in the distance.

About a year ago I had read an article in the newspaper of a gentleman by the name of Jasem Ali who was opening up a zoo. He is also known as “The Lion King”. He has over 100,000 followers on Instagram and his photos are unreal. Check him out @Jasem_Ali_ He has a way of communicating with the big cats and a real love for animals. Over 15 years ago he began collecting unwanted wild animals from local families. His collection is now incredibly vast and can be seen on display at the zoo. Before you start flipping out how cruel zoos are, this is not your typical zoo! Mr. Ali has rescued these animals and shown them love. As quoted by Jasem in the National paper 

“People keep these animals as a sign of pride or to show off,” he said. “They do not realize that when they grow they become more ferocious and dangerous.”

http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/lion-king-who-talks-to-animals

So as I was saying…one year later we sat on a Friday afternoon at home thinking “what can we do today with the kids?” The zoo! And boy am I glad we went!

Entrance was 20 AED for adults and the children were free. Upon entering you have the option to rent little gulf buggies to tour the premise or you can walk by foot. The walk was nice as the weather was spectacular.

In a room to the left, which I thought was a bathroom or prayer room I could see a few people looking into a window. Of course the curious George that I am I had to have a peek too! Oh my goodness, the most beautiful monkeys! TWO (an orangutan and a chimp) They were both under 2 years of age. It was love at first sight. We entered straight away and all I wanted to do was cuddle them forever! We paid 30 AED for a printed photo and were allowed to take as many photos of our own as we wanted. We spent ages in there playing with the cheeky monkeys and I really didn’t want to leave! A gentleman entered the room with his two boys to go next so we had to wrap things up. They were amazing creatures! Ruby really liked them; Nate on the other hand was very scared. Have you ever held a monkey? Their characteristics are uncanny to those of humans…the fingers, the little ears. Incredible!

After our wonderful encounter with the monkeys we wanted to see what the rest of the zoo had on offer. There was a large area for petting and feeding animals such as ostrich, camels, a horse, donkeys, goats, oryx, deer and more. We purchased a big bunch of greens for 10AED and the kids took their time feeding each and every one of them. Nate’s favourite was the brown deer, I quite enjoyed the horse and Ruby liked feeding the big red deer!

We still had so much to see and do. We moved on to the big cats! I have traveled the world and been to many zoos. However, I have never seen such a variety of tigers and lions EVER. The most unusual variety of African and white lions, white and rare golden tigers, black panthers, cheetahs and a ton more!

My only complaint is that the fencing makes it difficult to take nice photographs. It felt very strange to be so close to them without any plexi glass or some form of extra barrier. It is a real “upclose and personal experience”.

We walked this bit for a good length of time stopping and watching the movement of the animals, most sleeping in shaded areas (they are nocturnal animals afterall).

We then made a loop and finished up at the middle section. On display were 3 different monkeys, crocodiles, birds, lorax, racoons, hyenas, porcupine and more that I can’t remember off hand! One other point of improvement that can be made is the cages for the crocodile. You need to keep a CLOSE watch on your kids. There are holes they can stick their fingers in (or even adults). Imagine if that croc got hold of your finger?

Another pit stop to my fav monkey pals and more cuddles until we had to leave 🙂 Then Ruby & Nate wanted a ride on the two horses. 10 AED a child for one round. I swear Nate was a cowboy in his previous life, he adores them! He wasn’t even one and went on his first pony ride and was riding like a pro. Yesterday he was telling the horse “GIDDY UP!” I couldn’t resist taking him to the equestrian area to visit the others. Such beautiful horses. I was a bit saddened to see one brown beauty with a matted maine, I do hope they are being brushed regularly…They were all very sweet and I wish I could call one of them mine. My dream for the future is to live on a farm!

It was so lovely to spend a day outdoors under the blue skyes and breezy air. It was therapeutic to pet the horses and be amongst the animals. The children had a truly great time and so did I! I will certainly be going back to visit RAK Zoo!

{RAK Zoo on Facebook}

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