|Watch out for the whiskers!|
I'm dubious about zoos in the region - Dubai Zoo is notorious for being cramped, dirty and just plain cruel. Emirates Park Zoo doesn't score too badly on this scale, the animals in the main have space and seem well cared for. It did pain me to see a lone Capybara - they are such sociable animals and love a mate.
But the real fun starts when you check into the resort itself. This is attached to the zoo, and there's a very limited number of 'Executive Suites', which are in fact chalets that look directly onto the giraffe enclosure.
Manage your expectations: The Burj Al Arab this is not. If you're old enough to remember the UK show "Hi-De-Hi" then you can imagine the scene. But the chalets are spacious (lounge as well as bedroom), with a kitchenette, and best of all, a small terrace to sit and watch the world and the giraffes go by. And watch them we did!
We were fore-armed with carrots aplenty which meant that we were extremely popular with the two giraffes, two zebra and small deer. The squeaks of joy from Baby Britney on first sighting the giraffe beauties, plus her throaty giggle when getting tickled by their whiskers, still fills my heart with joy, weeks on from the visit.
The resort is well set-up for children, providing a comfy cot bed at no extra charge. Once BB had retired for the night we cracked open the vino, lit a small disposable barbecue on the terrace, read books, chewed the fat. A treat!
Given that small people tend to wake up at the crack of dawn, we opened the curtains early the next morning. It was the most magical foggy UAE morning, and the animals moving slowly through the mist was a sight to behold. As everyone else slept, we crept outside, carrots in our collective grasp, and communed with the giraffes one last peaceful time.
Without children, I would have enjoyed this trip. With a small person, it was truly wonderful. I can't recommend this weekend enough. Yallah, before the temperatures rise!
We booked through www.agoda.com and paid around 750 for an executive suite.
Resort information is here: http://www.emiratesparkresort.com/
The drive is about an hour and ten minutes from Dubai.
Don't forget your carrots!