A unique festival offers an urban escape with live music, fun-filled activities, street food delights, rides, movies, animal safari and more in the lush surroundings of Al Ain Zoo.

The DAZ Festival, the new identity of the Dar Al Zein Festival, celebrates life’s natural beauty through an adventurous set of activities catering, especially to families. Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT – Abu Dhabi) in partnership with event conceptualiser and producer Brag, the 10-day festival will see a big bang ending this weekend.

What’s special about this festival?

A few steps into the DAZ Festival arena, which has a separate entrance from Al Ain Zoo, visitors are first welcomed by the pleasant sight of Arabian oryx and gazelles. Visitors of all ages can immerse themselves in the heart of Al Ain’s natural beauty as the festival transforms the wildlife park into a lively ‘Farm Meets Safari’ experience. Visitors can revel in the wonders of nature and the wild while deepening their understanding of the environment and ecosystems, all just a short 90 minutes away from the Capital. Those coming to the festival can visit the zoo through a connected pathway.

What are the major highlights?

First up is a curated farm-themed space named ‘The Barn’ with sustainability and upcycling workshops for children and the ‘DAZ Market’ with sustainable kids’ retail brands. There will also be heritage pods showcasing the vibrant Emirati culture with Safafa, Talli, Al Leekh, Al Khoos, calligraphy, and henna demonstrations. In between, visitors can also catch friendly toon characters roaming around.

A play area with the first-of-its-kind ‘Hay Maze’ in Al Ain crafted entirely from hay. There are massive inflatable bouncy Zorb balls, carnival rides, and skills games for plenty of Instagrammable moments with the family.

A must-visit place is the ‘adventure park’ with zip lines, an obstacle course, a climbing wall, and laser tag games. There is an ‘archaeology zone’ with hands-on kids workshops on geology.

There are also animal shows and safaris with unique activities like giraffe feeding, lemur walks, pony rides and zookeeper talks. One can also get personal with reptiles and shake hands with a chameleon.

Visitors can enjoy movies with family favourites, including ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘Jumanji’ and ‘Zootopia’ to match the wild theme every evening from 8pm.

There are 17 food and beverage outlets, including sustainably sourced international street food delights and homegrown concepts. There are also dance performances and, other entrainment and interactive activities. The festival is set for a big bang end with Emirati singer Mohamed Al Shehhi and Syrian star Nassif Zeytoun performing today and back-to-back shows by the Ninja Kidz today and tomorrow. Concert tickets start at Dh145.

Operating hours and tickets: The festival is open from 2 pm to 10 pm. A general admission ticket starts at Dh35, there is a DAZ Pass at Dh115, and a friends and family bundle of Dh345 offers a free ticket with 3 DAZ passes. Tickets are on sale through the DAZ Festival official ticketing partner at ticketmaster.ae.

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