The beautiful Umm Al Emarat park is a hub of family activity and has been an important central oasis for Abu Dhabi since 1982.
The park is located in the Mushrif area and used to be known as Mushrif Park – many people still refer to it by this name.
The lush gardens and variety of family-friendly features, as well as the numerous exciting events and great atmosphere, make Umm Al Emarat Park a must-visit for any traveller to Abu Dhabi looking for a taste of local life.
What to expect in Umm Al Emarat Park
The park has a formal layout with axial views along two water channels spreading the length of the park parallel to the entrance.
At the centre of the channels is the beautiful Wisdom Garden, a stunning memorial to the thoughts of the UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
As well as the formal park, there are event lawns, botanical gardens and a children’s park including splash areas in addition to separate playgrounds within the main park itself.
As you approach Mushrif Park, the large shade house is sure to catch your eye. The shade house forms part of the botanical garden that you can find inside the park. You can climb to the top of the shade house or take the elevator to see wonderful views of the park and the surrounding areas.
The botanical gardens mainly contain indigenous and desert species;. However, there are some tropical species within the shade house. There are no glass greenhouses. At the opposite end of the park, there is a flower garden containing many flowering shrubs.
To the left of the entrance, there are two well-equipped playgrounds. The first that you will encounter includes a music garden where children can bang the bongoes and glockenspiels to experiment with sound. There is a climbing frame with built-in sand shoots, buckets, and a climbing frame.
Directly opposite and across a large field of grass suitable for playing football (before 5pm) and having picnics is another play area with swings (including a baby swing), play frames with slides and other features and a challenging climbing structure for slightly older kids.
Throughout the park there are various exercise stations with robust equipment for use by adults.
The Children’s Park
This is a separate, fenced-off area from the rest of the park, although entry is included in the main entrance fee. Turn right at the entrance and follow the path towards the large screen. There are often children’s activities taking place here, including anything from face-painting to making balloon animals; here, you will find the entrance to the children’s park.
Within the children’s park you will find a splash pad (operational daily from 11:00 am), the animal barn and pony paddock, and the desert-wadi area.
Here children can pretend to camp like Bedouin in the tents and imagine they are desert explorers clambering up the rope net and across the rickety bridge in the replica gorge behind the wadi.
The Animal Barn is very popular with families. Here you will find goats, emus, ponies and a camel, and rabbits and tortoises. You can pay for a pony ride around the small paddock after 3pm and buy food bundles to give to the animals (currently suspended due to COVID). Handwashing facilities are located within the barn.
Occasionally special events are run in collaboration with Emirates Park Zoo and Al Ain Zoo with other animals bring brought into the park for interactive experiences.
There are two large event lawns and a smaller ‘green’ area where various events occur. Before COVID, the Ripe Market used to take place in the park. One of the lawns would be home to several food stalls and cantina trucks every Saturday afternoon in the cooler months. There have also been various festivals and fitness events held on the lawns at the park.
When there are no events taking place, the lawns are great places to play football (there are strict rules about who can play football and when) and have picnics.
A small motorised train takes visitors around the park for a small fee.
Cafes and restaurants at Umm Al Emarat Park
There are several places to buy food and drinks in Umm Al Emarat Park. As you enter the park, there is a cafe on the right hand side, serving the most deliciously decadent cakes.
To the left you will find, Parkers restaurant which serves up a variety of modern favourites including burgers and tacos.
There’s also the brand new ‘Farmers Bistro’ right by the entrance, serving up tasty, healthy fayre including a variety of salads and sushi as well as some delicious (and expensive) steaks!
Green for life can be found at the other side of the playing field next close to the second playground. Here you can buy delicious fresh coconuts and a variety of healthy salads, sandwiches and wraps.
If ice-cream is what you’re looking for, you can buy it at Green for life, or at the Moevenpick chalet in the children’s park. You can also find Yamanote Japanese bakery adjacent to the splash pad with a variety of tasty Japanese desserts and novelty character buns.
If you’re still peckish when you leave the park, get a takeaway burger from Salt just outside the park gates.
Clean toilets at Umm Al Emarat Park
There are three toilet blocks in the park as well as toilets at the entrance. These are clean and monitored by cleaners constantly.
For those in the park to exercise, showers can also be found in the toilet buildings by the circular fountains at either end of the park. These are free to use, but you need to take your own soap and towel.
Seasonal Extras at Umm Al Emarat Park
There’s always plenty going on at Umm Al Emarat Park, no matter the time of year it’s still an urban oasis, even in the summer.
Winter, of course, brings more opportunities for families to pleasantly spend time outdoors but being floodlit at night, the park continues to appeal even into the hottest months.
Cinema in the Park
Starting on 1 October 2021 and expected to run until 30 April 2022, Cinema in the Park has an exciting line-up of back-to-back movies for the whole family. You can catch a movie on Friday and Saturday evenings at 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM.
Movies screening will include Moana, The Croods 2, Frozen 2, The Incredibles, Big Hero 6 and Harry Potter.
Note that the movie screening is free but you still need to pay park entry.
Bounce in the park
One of Abu Dhabi’s most popular indoor attractions Bounce operates a pop up experience in the park, adjacent to the wadi/splash park. This is an additional paid activity for kids with climbing walls and trampolines.
The Park Market
A weekend feature during the cooler winter months, the Park Market brings together handy crafts, organic fruit and veg to lively family entertainment and crafting stations to a background of jazz music.
Saturday and Sundays during winter 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
What Does it Cost to enter Umm Al Emarat Park
Entry to the park has crept up from just a few dirhams to now 10 AED per person over 3 years of age. Under 3’s and people of Determination and their career are free to enter.
Regulars to the park will benefit from a season pass which costs giving unlimited entry to the park for 12 months
Where can I find Umm Al Emarat Park?
It’s pretty easy to spot Umm Al Emarat Park on a map of Abu Dhabi. the large green space occupies the very centre of Abu Dhabi island, between 17th and 19th streets and Airport Road and Karama Street.
Entry and car parking is from 15th street. There’s ample parking but it does get surprisingly full in evenings and weekends.
The park is serviced by several nearby bus routes sitting 4 blocks from the central bus station. You will be able to hail taxies and ride share sevrice to and from the park too.
When is Umm al Emarat Park open?
Open 365 days a year, from 8:00 AM until midnight.
Frequently Asked Questions About Umm Al Emarat Park
No, there is a small cover charge to enter the park, which is currently 10AED for children over 3 years old. and adults.
Yes, the park was renamed in 2016 but many old-timers in Abu Dhabi will still refer to it as Mushrif Park.
(Not to be confused with another much larger Mushrif Park in Dubai!)
No. They are relatively strict about this but rules seem to change frequently. Children under five have been allowed in with scooters in the past, but no guarantees if you tur up with your scooter it will be allowed in.
No, there’s no BBQ allowed but small picnics are acceptable (although this does seem to be at the discretion of the security staff on any given day!)
You need to clear this with the park first. Areas cannot be reserved so it’s first come first served.
You are allowed to bring in cake and decorations.
Any further queries on parties and events should be discussed with park management
No, not unless it is a service animal, no pets are allowed in Umm Al Emarat Park.
Smoking is not allowed. If you are caught smoking you risk a 500 AED fine and removal from the park.
You can play football if it is before 5pm. After 5pm only children under 10 can play football.
No, al Hosn has been abolished for all public spaces in Abu Dhabi.
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Some images in this post supplied by Umm Al Emarat Park.