The 119-hectare wildlife park is home to 2,500 animals…

Alongside the Dubai Frame, Dubai Safari is one of the city’s most eagerly anticipated new attractions.

The animal sanctuary finally threw open its gates on Tuesday, in what it is describing as a ‘soft opening’. The grand opening of Dubai Safari is set for January 2018.

Here’s what it currently looks like inside…

Home to 2,500 animals in its first phase, representing more than 250 species, guests can check out four villages: African, Arabian, Asian and an Open Safari village (although Asian Village isn’t open yet).

It is also home to the world’s first drive-thru crocodile exhibit, UAE’s largest aviary exhibit, and the UAE’s only drive-thru hippo and tiger exhibit.

While the Arabian Village and Open Safari Village are both experienced by bus, you’re welcome to wander around the African and Asian Village enclosures, which are home to chimpanzees, lions, lemur and flamingos.

The park is also going to have a zoo keeping course, and will be the first place in the UAE to offer it.

So who can you expect to find there?

The 250 animal species include lions, tigers, gazelles, hippos, buffalo, hyena, flamingos, gorillas, chimpanzees and plenty more. Plus, there’s elephants, zebra and cheetahs still to arrive.

How much will it cost?

Once the park is fully open, tickets can be bought separately for the African, Arabian and Asian villages or for the Open Safari village for Dhs20 for children and Dhs50 for adults. Or guests can purchase an all-access ticket to all four parks for the discounted rate of Dhs30 for children and Dhs85 for adults.

Children under three, adults over 60 and those with special needs (people of determination) will be granted free entry.

The park’s opening hours during the soft opening phase will be from 9am to 9pm, with the Safari Village Trip operating from 9am to 6pm.

Dubai Safari, Al Warquaa 5 district, opposite The Farm, near Dragon Mart, daily 9am to 5pm during soft opening, 9am to 9pm from January, free during soft opening, from Dhs20 to Dhs85.

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Images: Dubai Media Office