erratic in front of Dubai landscape celebrating Union Day

Let’s Go Outside: 6 Exciting & Sustainable Ways to Celebrate The Union Day Weekend

6 mins

Celebrate the UAE’s 52nd Union Day in the beauty of the nation’s great outdoors

As far as weekends go, the upcoming one couldn’t be bigger or better. The three-day Union Day celebrations kick off on December 2 to commemorate 52 years since the formation of the United Arab Emirates, but this year all eyes are also on Dubai as the host of COP28, the global climate summit which began today.  

The official celebrations to mark the Spirit of the Union, when six emirates bound together in 1971 to form the UAE – with Ras Al Khaimah joining the following year to complete the nation – are even taking place at Expo City where the summit is being held.

emirati kid celebrating union day by waving flag in the desert

So it makes sense that the Emirates’ sustainable vision will take centre stage. New innovative technology and projections, which are rumoured to be breathtaking, will showcase the official 52nd festivities, where Emirati culture and heritage will be highlighted in a stunning visual performance.

Union Day Celebrations 

this year is 52nd Union day celebrations

Part of the sustainability-themed show will include the UAE’s pledge to continue its efforts to tackle the climate crisis as we move towards a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable future through innovation and collective action. 

And this year, to showcase the eco-efforts of the Emirates, Union Day will ‘recognise the actionists of today while honouring the sustainable legacy of our ancestors.’ 

With an extra day off work in which to celebrate, why not get outside, enjoy the official celebrations or get closer to nature? Just remember to participate consciously – recycle or upcycle flags, eschew plastic, make, don’t buy, a national costume, and keep paper or fabric decorations to reuse next Union Day. 

we love the uae - hands in the union day and uae flag

And if you still need inspiration here at The Ethicalist we have rounded up six sustainable ways to get outside and celebrate the 52nd Union Day. 

Go To Expo City

The Green Zone at COP28 opens to the public on December 3rd and is a great way to enjoy the Union Day weekend, especially for those looking to learn more about environmental initiatives. 

Here you’ll find the Extreme Hangout, a place in which workshops, exhibitions and panels along with live entertainment are taking place with sustainability at the forefront of it all. 

There’s also the Expo City farm within the Green Zone with delicious organic produce being served in the on-site café. If you fancy getting even more involved, join the cooking masterclass with a sustainability-inspired chef. Register your interest ahead of time by applying for a Green Zone pass here. 

Tackle The Bear Grylls Survival Experience

hiking is part of the Bear Gryllis experience in the UAE

If you’re a real fan of the outdoors a challenging adventure weekend is the ideal way to get among the UAE’s landscape. The Bear Grylls Explorers Camp in RAK is a unique experience where you get to challenge yourself with daring outdoor activities unlike anything else in the region. 

New for this year has been the addition of a large camping ground and enhanced facilities, such as the cinema screen and projector for movies under the stars, along with a dedicated barbeque pit. 

The camp also has specially designed accessible tents and is powered by solar lighting. As the site is located around an hour’s drive from Dubai, you’ll also get to enjoy a mountainous road trip before your adventure truly begins. Book here

Smell The Roses At Dubai Miracle Garden

One of Dubai’s most popular attractions for both residents and tourists is the world’s largest natural flower garden. Dubai Miracle Garden is home to millions of flowers, carefully arranged to create dazzling exhibitions in the form of iconic buildings, pathways, animals and other colourful arrangements. 

The Smurfs Village proves a hit with the little ones and spans four different zones so there’s plenty to see and do. As you walk through the walkways you’ll be greeted by street performers, parades and other family-friendly entertainment. Ticket prices start at 95 AED for adults and 80 AED for children aged 12 and under. Kids under three enter free. Book here

Visit The Eco-friendly Sonara Camp

star gazing is one of the workshops available at Sonera Camp where you can celebrate the uae Union Day

You don’t need to be surrounded by crowds and fireworks to celebrate Union Day. For a quieter, yet authentic, Arabian experience take the family for a getaway at the stunning eco-friendly Sonara Camp. 

The open-air kitchen serves delicious vegan and vegetarian food, while boasting panoramic views of nature. Plenty of outdoor activities will keep the kids entertained, from sandboarding to archery. And once it gets dark, there’s a mini astronomy lesson where you’ll learn how the Bedouin tribes navigated their way through the desert using nature’s GPS – the stars in the night sky –  for directions. Book here

Play Golf at Jumeirah Golf Estates

Tee off while caring for the planet over the Union Day weekend at these golf courses where the creators have scored a hole in one as far as sustainability is concerned.

The golf courses incorporate innovative technology that saves and reuses water, harnesses the energy of solar panels and has eco-friendly rubbish collection. There are water stations to refill bottles to cut down on plastic usage and waste. The courses are championship quality and are a fantastic way to get outside and take advantage of the extra day off. Book here

Flock To Snap Wildlife at Ras Al Khor Flamingo Sanctuary

In the shadow of the Burj Khalifa lies one of Dubai’s best kept secrets. Located between Downtown and Dubai Creek Harbour is the unmistakable Ras Al Khor Flamingo Sanctuary. Hundreds of birds create a stunning wave of pink in the discreet wetlands, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Standing proudly in the shallow waters, the flamingos are undoubtably the star of the show but there are also fish, crab, herons and a plethora of other wildlife to enjoy. The reserve is a breeding ground for several species this time of year so have the camera ready as you’re likely to see a lot of wildlife. Book here

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