In 2014, World Travel Awards named Sir Bani Yas Island the ‘World’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination’, and you don’t have to spend long here to see exactly why.
Not only is the environment pristine and peaceful, over 80% of the island is given over to the Arabian Wildlife Park, which means more than 10,000 indigenous African and Arabian animals roam freely here, just as they would in the wild.
Kids can spot giraffes from cleverly designed, viewing platforms made from recycled materials. Purpose-built 4 x 4s are used for low-impact safari experiences in the company of expert local guides. There are immersive tours lasting several hours. And – depending on shyness levels, times of day and keen eyesight – families can observe anything from rare Arabian Oryx to cheetahs and hyenas.
Not only one of the world’s largest mosques, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, is one of the most extraordinary in both concept and construction.
It was designed by a collective of British, Italian and Emirati architects and harmonises architectural styles from different eras of Muslim civilisation with design references from several Islamic countries including Egypt, Morocco and Turkey. The result is an inspiring space where 40,000 people can come together at one time to worship or simply admire the singular beauty of the building.
Visitors are welcome and, unsurprisingly, the mosque is one of the most popular sites in Abu Dhabi. Even if kids aren’t awed by the light filled prayer hall and calligraphy etched domes, they can’t fail to be impressed at the immensity of the world’s largest, hand-knotted carpet or one of the biggest chandeliers in the world.