The cold snap happening right now in Australia with snow falling as far north as SE Queensland, is something I didn’t think would ever happen here, but on my recent visit to Dubai, I experienced things I thought I would never experience, but experience them I did, including going on a ski lift, watching colleagues ski down a massive snow covered ski slope and meeting penguins, yes I did say penguins and even kissing a penguin!
Amazingly, no, actually surreally, all this happens in the setting of the incredible Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, with Ski Dubai described as the ultimate indoor snow resort and the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, a mountain-themed winter landscape offering skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, rolling downhill in the Giant Ball run, jumping a 10ft ramp, tube slides, sightseeing in the chairlift, or just relaxing over a hot chocolate at minus 4 degrees, yes 4 degrees, when often is it in the 40’s and 50s centigrade outside!
Ski Dubai’s newest residents; the Snow Penguins, King and Gentoo Penguins live at Mall of the Emirates’ Snow Penguins, in what is described as the most sophisticated habitat in the UAE, with their ice and snow covered enclosure consisting of several areas including a private pool, an area with rocks, where guests doing the Penguin Encounter can see the penguins through a glass wall in their private pool or on a deck, with the penguins free to move around the private pool, top deck and their private holding area. The operators also say that they have a kitchen fully equipped to provide daily fish banquets for the Penguins, and if needed, there is a hospital facility is available.
Gentoo Penguins are the third largest penguins, following the Emperor and King Penguins with more than half a million Gentoo penguins living in the wild, they grow to around 94cms/37ins, weigh between 13.5kgs/30lbs to 16kgs/35lbs, live around 15 to 20 years old and eat mainly fish and squid.
King Penguins are the second largest penguins, following the Emperor Penguins, with their total population estimated to be around 2.23 million pairs and increasing and they walk slowly and do not hop.
So what an amazing and yes incredible, actually, surreal experience, including kissing a penguin, but all very Dubai, where everything appears possible!
Join me in my Dubai snow and ice experience by checking out the video below!
Written by John Alwyn-Jones