9 places in the UAE you can perfect Zombie apocalypse skills
Equipping you with the right tool kit to win at Z-Day…
In all probability, everything will be fine. The chances of a tsunami of the undead rising up at any given moment, and chasing the remainder of humanity into a bleak forever-on-the-run existence, are extremely low. But they are not non-existent.
And if all the talk of variants and viral mutations sounds suspiciously like the prologue to a zombie thriller to you, then it surely wouldn’t hurt to do a little preparation. You know, just in case.
Rule 1: Know your weapons
If you want to get to grips with a range of useful impromptu mele weapons (that’s ‘bashing sticks’ to the uninitiated), Dubai’s The Smash Room understands the assignment. Set up as an alternative form of rage-therapy, this house of controlled carnage allows visitors to select a weapon (baseball bats, golf clubs, crowbars, hammers etc) in order to get medieval on a bunch of inanimate objects in an enclosed room. We highly recommend printers. Oh there’s a jam in tray two is there? JAM THIS. Sorry, that was the noughties office work trauma speaking.
The Smash Room, Umm Suqeim St, Al Quoz Industrial Area 4, Dubai, Sun to Wed 12.30pm to 10pm, Thurs to Sat 12.30pm to 11pm, packages from Dhs99. Tel: (058) 198 2323. thesmashroom.ae
When it comes to ranged weapons, everyone knows you need to double-tap. Just to be safe. There’s no more frustrating or needless death in a zombie movie, than the one that comes directly after somebody thinking they’ve put a zombie down for good, turning their back to celebrate with the team, and then nom — the very much not down-for-good zombie has taken a sizeable chunk out of their neck fat. The groundbreaking Virtual Reality (VR) experience, Zero Latency has literally just opened its doors at Abu Dhabi’s The Galleria Al Maryah Island and it features a game called ‘Undead Arena’. The free-roam multiplayer experience allows Z-Units of up to eight mates to fight off waves of brain-nibbling zombies. And we cannot emphasise enough… there’s a reason why it’s ‘pew pew’, and not just ‘pew’… Always double-tap.
The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi. Opens July 27. Tel:(0)2 493 7400, from Dhs150. @zerolatencyvrae
Drive it like you hotwired it
Petrol would almost certainly be a prized and limited resource in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, but in those early few months — the ability to drive like a getaway driver that’s late for a job, could be a lifeline. Karting is massively popular in the UAE, with locations like EKart at The Dubai Mall, and Kartdrome in Motor City offering big ‘blue shell’ lols. The Al Ain Raceway is our top pick, packed as it is with challenging twists and turns and offering some great deals to help get your dystopian driving skills bang on track.
Al Ain Raceway, Al Ain Sportplex, Al Ain, summer hours, Mon to Sat, 6pm to 10pm.Tel: (03) 768 6662 or alainraceway.com
Get to high ground
Zombie stories are traditionally split into two distinct camps, according to how athletic their undead are. In some worlds, such as that of The Walking Dead — your Z foes are limited to, well, walking. In other sagas, for example — The Dawn of the Dead franchise, the zombies are a bit more spritely, clocking in with respectable 100m dash times. They are, however, rarely seen climbing things. Maybe it’s the performance impact of moldy cruciate ligaments or the delicate coordination needed for nimble ascents, but if you can master your overhangs and boulder like a boss, you’re likely to give yourself a big advantage in any sort of brave new world. Abu Dhabi’s Clymb offers challenging vertical obstacle training for all ability levels and is home to the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall (128ft).
Clymb, Yas Mall (by Ferrari World entrance), Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Sunday to Thursday 11am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday noon to 11pm, basic climb package Dhs120 for 60 minutes, Combo tickets from Dhs315. Tel: (600) 511115, clymbabudhabi.com
Stay on high ground
Once you’ve made it to high ground, the smart money is on staying there. Congratulations, you live in the trees now. On the plus side, who doesn’t want a treehouse for a home? There are a few aerial obstacle courses across the UAE, we love the ones at Kite Beach in Dubai and Circuit X on Hudayriyat in Abu Dhabi, but one of our all time favourite places to zipline and make like a spider monkey, is Aventura. Set in a natural Ghaf tree forest, it has more than 85 challenges that take place over five different level, helping you truly embrace your la vie in the canopy.
Aventura Parks, Mushrif Park, Gate 1, Dubai, open 5pm to midnight daily. Dhs185.Tel: (052) 178 7616. aventuraparks.com
Keep your friends close
There’s always one isn’t there? That member of the group that gets bitten and doesn’t tell anyone. It all comes out in the end of course — the profuse sweating, nervous twitches and zoning in and out, although initially indistinguishable from Gen Z over-caffeination, eventually rats out the clearly infected. To help you nip this sort of situation in the bud, it makes sense to train yourselves at spotting the gestures and ‘tells’ that somebody, and we’re looking at you Susan, is perhaps not being completely honest about the suspicious throbbing wound on their forearm. We present to you, the murder mystery evening. What better way to train your inbuilt lie detector than by playing Poirot on a room full of strangers. Flashback Speakeasy Bar & Lounge at the Paramount Hotel in Dubai is holding weekly 1920s-themed theatrical ‘who-dunnits?’ With several special dinner drinks packages available. Because PI-ing ain’t easy.
Flashback Speakeasy, Paramount Hotel, every Wed 8pm, from Dhs299. Tel: (04) 246 6641, paramounthotelsdubai.com
Modern life can be kind of coddling. Seriously. What are we all going to do when the WiFi network drops out, Deliveroo won’t deliver and we never find out if the new series of Prison Break is any good? Thankfully, you can get yourself a crash course in a whole range of survival skills and bushcraft techniques, including tracking, fire-starting, foraging, knot and knife skills, water-sourcing, basic first aid and other apocalypse-relevant handicraft — that need not necessarily include necking dodgy looking liquids, at the Bear Grylls Explorers Camp in Ras Al Khaimah.
Bear Grylls Explorers Camp, Ras Al Khaimah, half day experience Dhs450, 24 hour experience available at Dhs1,300. Tel: (056) 317 3958, beargryllscamp.ae
Something else zombies (fictionally) traditionally don’t fare well at, is sea fairing. They are yet to transfer their ground-crawling finesse to frontcrawling, so if you’ve got a fear of heights — the water would be a great second choice for putting some distance between you and the ravenous marauding hordes. Ideally, you’d want to nab yourself one of the abandoned billionaire yachts in the marina, but if they’ve all been previously swiped or have sunk, a kayak might be the best resolution in an ‘either oar’ situtaion. Abu Dhabi’s Sea-Hawk.ae offers some genuinely cool places to practice your paddling, and as an added bonus, sculpt the guns *kisses biceps*. They offer daytime, sunrise and sunset water tours of Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Eastern Mangroves, with special glow and full moon night sessions available periodically.
Prices from Dhs126. Tel: (02) 673 6688, sea-hawk.ae
Making a quick exit
There will be times, in this hypothetical future, that you’ll be backed into a corner and nothing less than Russian daredevil-level parkour is going to save you. Ladies and gentlemen of the hypothetical zombie resistance force, we present to you the nerve centre of UAE escape training, JBR’s TEPfactor. This action-packed adventuretainment hub, offers a replica cavern full of individual challenge rooms that require physical strength and dexterity, mental agility, and sometimes dumb luck. It’s the best place we can think of to help you dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge your way into elite zombie-avoiding form.
Bahar Plaza, JBR, Dubai, Sun, Tues, Wed 4pm to 10pm, Thurs to Sat 12pm to 12am, Mon closed, one hour pass Dhs99 adults, Dhs79 children aged 8 to 12. Tel: (056) 404 0802. tepfactor.ae