Lush tropical biodome set to Open In Dubai

Aug 30, 2016

Four-storey The Green Planet at City Walk home to 3,000 plants and animals in replicated South American rainforest

Dubai: A four-storey, tropical rainforest has sprouted high inside a new biodome at Dubai’s City Walk replete with the world’s largest manmade tree created to support lush, living flora and fauna.

Dubai: A four-storey, tropical rainforest has sprouted high inside a new biodome at Dubai’s City Walk replete with the world’s largest manmade tree created to support lush, living flora and fauna.

Opening on September 1 to the public, The Green Planet is set to “edutain” students, families and nature lovers alike in a standalone, indoor paradise sheltered within an origami-style glass structure.

A tour by Gulf News on Sunday unveiled a dew-dropped world of 3,000 plants and animals quietly making their way through thick tropical foliage in the high-humidity world of a replicated South American rainforest.

Exploration revealed a colourful toucan gulping seeds into its giant bill, a pair of sloths sleeping quietly in a nearby tree while brightly coloured birds and five species of butterflies fluttered amid the thick foliage to the sound of a waterfall — a pair of nocturnal prehensile tail porcupines rested in a corner enclosure as fish swam in a crystal clear pond adjacent to a watery cave on the forest floor.

Visitors can explore the biodome’s four floors via a spiral walkway around the giant tree with aerial passageways to the tree’s gargantuan trunk (think Ewok treehouses in Star Wars) or they can simply take elevators to the top of the canopy.

Meraas Holding, the firm that built the enclosed ecosystem, said The Green Planet will go a long way to teach youngsters the importance of environmental stewardship through a hands-on learning experience peppered with dozens of aquariums full of beetles, snakes and exotic insects.

Jean-Marc Bled, Meraas Holding general manager Leisure and Entertainment, told Gulf News in an interview inside the biodome that it was good to see the eco-project completed.

“It’s been three years in the making, we’re happy to reach the finish like. The Green Planet is the first indoor tropical rainforest in the region,” Bled said. “This is a fully integrated biodome, visitors can have an up-close-and-personal encounter with plants and animals.”

Visitors entering the biodome will have to pass through an airlock which is integral, Bled said, to maintaining the internal eco-integrity of the facility.

“It maintains the humidity. It also keeps the animals in,” he said.

Brad McTavish, lead architect for The Green Planet, said bringing the project together required a lot of teamwork to meet high environmental and zoological standards.

“We gathered and worked very closely with zoologists, aquarium specialists and sophisticated mechanical and structural engineers to pool together our expertise to create the perfect habitat for the species at The Green Planet. What we have fashioned is a majestic living machine that sustains life and is easily accessible to all,” McTavish said in a statement.

The bidome will be operated by a company called Zooceanarium Group which has incorporated strict standards, Meraas Holdings said, into the daily operation the facility that meet specifications of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Designed to embrace principles of sustainability, Meraas said that The Green Planet’s building has received the global LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and is fully compliant with Dubai Municipality’s Green Building Regulations and Specifications.

The bidome will offer up to 15 educational programmes in five areas of eco exploration for children aged 3 to 14.

Admission charges for an adult is Dh95 and Dh70 per child.

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By the numbers:

• Opening day: September 1

• Timings: Open from 10am daily

• 3,000: number of plants and animals

• Four-storey tropical rainforest

• Admission: Dh95 adult, Dh70 child

Credits To The Gulf News

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