When I think of Dubai I immediately imagine record-breaking skyscrapers, ultramodern architecture, and of course, the Burj Al Arab in the shape of a sail off the country's coast. What I don't picture are flowers.
Yet, Dubai never fails to surprise me, and in fact, they have the world's largest flower garden. Miracle Gardens house more than 100 million flowers, covering 780,000 square feet large, and attract countless tourists every winter (it's too hot to stay open in the summer).
Dubai's Miracle Garden maintains the ambitious spirit of Dubai, housing two Guinness world record sculptures. But it also offers tourists a break from the city-centric metropolis, offering people a place to literally slow down and smell the flowers in a city otherwise moving at hyper speed.
Of course the city is spectacular, but we'd go as far as to say Dubai's Miracle Garden may offer some of Dubai's best views and sights. If you don't believe us, here are 20 photos to prove it!
20 Every inch is photo worthy
The gardens are massive, and every area offers visitors something new to explore. Whether you're interested in the minute details of various plant species, or you prefer the wow factor of massive sprawling fields and structures, Miracle Garden has some of the most elaborate and beautiful floral arrangements and displays in the world. Not to mention more to see than any other Botanical Garden in the world.
An aerial view of the gardens shows just how much there is to see and how many colours and flowers make up this incredible park.
19 Super romantic tunnel of love
This is no second-rate wedding arch or tacky tunnel-of-love boat ride at the fair. Miracle Garden first opened on Valentine’s Day in 2013, and it's safe to say that love and romance were the central themes.
In Dubai's version of a tunnel of love, you'll find yourself walking through a row of enormous heart-shaped arches, that lead towards more romantic heart-shaped arrangements. Start the plane, because these flowers stole my heart and I need to see them, live!
18 The floral skyline mimics the real one
In case you've been living under a rock, Dubai is home to the world's tallest building, and it's something out of The Jetsons! The building, called Burj Khalifa, stands 2717 feet high, and has maintained its rank as the tallest building for the last ten years.
While the gardens give visitors a welcome break from the city skyline, their floral replica of the Burj Khalifa is a nice reminder of what makes Dubai so attractive and awe-inspiring.
17 Adorable flower village
The gardens bring together all different styles and scenes, with countless artists collaborating to make the park unique. The park is full of whimsy, from upside down cars to adorable life-size fairytale houses adorned with flower-covered roofs. They even have flowerpot people to live in the homes!
What makes these little homes a highlight is that you feel as if you've been transported to a storybook village. Taking photos with flowers is nice and all, but getting to walk through a fairytale fantasy is basically a dream come true. Sign me up!
16 Even the tickets are cute
For 40 AED, or approximately 12$ US, you can get access to the gardens, a day full of memories, and a cute souvenir ticket too.
I'm not a scrapbooker, but I can appreciate a keepsake when I see one. I can just image couples savings this little stub of paper to commemorate their anniversary, or maybe even a proposal.
The only downside, to the park in general, is that it's only open seasonally. Because Dubai has two seasons, hot and hotter, it's not possible to keep the park open in the scolding heat of summer. Instead, they open their doors only from November to April.
15 It makes you feel like a life-size Barbie
I'm a Barbie girl, but I hadn't found the Barbie world...until now! This place is right out of a young girl's fantasy. Pink flower cars, better than the Barbie convertible, and gorgeous roads adorned with pink, red, purple and white flowers in every direction.
There's a feeling you get when you set foot in an amusement park. The rides are big, the smells strong, and the sights incredible. At Miracle Garden, it seems like every turn you take, you're hit with a new rush of excitement, and this real-life Barbie fantasy is no exception.
14 The best backdrop
We all know that modern vacations are all about taking the best photo you can to perfectly capture that moment's memory. That perfect shot that captures the beauty of the destination with all the happiness and excitement you feel to be there. Well, if you visit Miracle Garden, you can bet you'll get a dozen shots like that, at least.
It's not just about the photo, it's about enjoying the moment. But in decades, when we look back at our younger selves, these crazy perfect photos in world's biggest and most over the top gorgeous garden will bring us so much joy.
13 Life-size floral replica of an Emirates plane
The pièce de résistance at Miracle Garden is the record-breaking scale model of an Emirates Airbus A380 completely covered in flowers. This life-sized airplane snagged the garden a Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest floral installation.
The airplane is covered in more than 5,000,000 flowers, which together weigh 100 tons (that's more than 40 elephants). More than 200 people worked on this installation full time for six months before it was finally completed. Was it worth adding another world record to Dubai's already impressive list (tallest building, biggest shopping mall, largest indoor amusement park...)? You'll have to see it for yourself to properly judge.
12 The world's largest Mickey Mouse floral sculpture
One Guinness World Record wasn't enough, as it rarely seems to be in Dubai. Of course Miracle Garden broke another record, this time for the World’s Tallest Supported Topiary Sculpture, which just happens to be in the shape of a Mickey Mouse! The structure includes more than 100,000 flowers and is almost 60 feet high.
As a collaboration with Disney, the giant Mickey Mouse was added in 2018, to celebrate the character's 90th anniversary. We can expect more Disney inspired projects and displays in the coming years according to park officials.
11 It's Candyland come to life
Candyland was one of my favourite board games as a kid, and I tried everything to make it come to life. I played cheesy computer games where the characters were animated, I used chalk to attempt to make a life-sized version of the rainbow path on my street, but alas, nothing fulfilled my Candyland dreams.
Sitting on this park bench, dripping with rainbow ice cream, and smelling the millions of flowers around me, feels like the closest thing I'll get to living out my Candyland fantasies. I can only imagine how excited I'd be if I visited Miracle Gardens as a child.
10 Tut Tut, it doesn't matter if it rains!
"Tut tut, it looks like rain," said Christopher Robin from under his umbrella, while Winnie the Pooh dangled from a balloon dripping in mud, dangerously close to a beehive up in a tree. While the Disney duo used an umbrella to pretend it was raining, the makers of Miracle Garden used hundreds to create this memorable umbrella pathway.
It doesn't matter if it rains or shines, the umbrella display is always a highlight for tourists, both because it offers shade (there isn't much rain in the desert) and because it's gloriously colourful and fun.
9 Call Alice, because we found Wonderland
Call Miracle Garden whatever you like, a Barbie fantasy fulfilled, a real-life Candyland, or better yet, call it Wonderland! The theme of the park may be love and romance, but that still leaves a lot of room for fun, silly and whimsical.
These mushroom houses are right out of the scene from Alice in Wonderland and it's easy to fall in love with them. Wherever you turn there's something fun for kids and nostalgic for adults. All in all, the park can be whatever you want it to be. In Dubai, just like in Wonderland, everything is larger than life and hard to believe. You just have to remind yourself that "imagination is the only weapon in our war against reality" just like the Cheshire cat once said.
8 The gardens even wish you a happy birthday
A very merry un-birthday to you, and you! Oh wait, are we still in Wonderland? The floral clock centrepiece is part of the pulse of Miracle Garden. I'm sure it's a reminder to some that it's time to head home, but for others, who visit the garden on their special day, there's a Happy Birthday message that can brighten up their festivities.
"Happy 06 Feb Birthday" reads the sign in front of the windmill, and for anyone celebrating their birthday at the park on that day, it's a very happy day indeed. There's nothing better than spending your birthday surrounded by the smells and sights of flowers, and it's a touch better just to be recognized.
7 Call Noah, I found his ark
Normally it's hard to combine so many different stories into one cohesive experience, but miraculously, Miracle Garden manages to bring together the likes of Disney, a giant aircraft replica, and a gorgeous wooden ark, and they still make it all work together somehow!
All that's missing from this sunset scene are the animals, walking on two by two.
6 Social media perfection
Make sure your phone is charged, because you'll be taking a lot of pictures. The umbrella exhibit, composed of hundreds of colourful umbrellas backed together to form a roof, is definitely one of the highlights in an already jam-packed over the top beautiful garden.
The aerial view of the pathway is stunning, but it's even more magical to stand underneath the umbrellas, within the rows of bushes and fresh flowers, letting your senses become immersed by sight and smell.
To call it 'gram perfection is an understatement!
5 Not your average botanical garden
Where I live we have a fairly popular Botanical Garden. It's home to quite a few flowers, they often have special exhibits with sculptures or arrangements, and you can see some Koi fish swimming around in the Japanese exhibit. But it's nothing compared to the grandeur that is Miracle Garden!
Where I'm from we have to bend down and smell the flowers, but at Miracle Garden, I can almost smell the roses just by looking at a picture! There's something to see everywhere. It's massive. It's record-breaking. It's immersive. It's beautiful. There aren't enough positive things to say about this place. You'll just have to see for yourself.
4 It's a work of art
Sometimes it's not about being the biggest or the flashiest, it's about making a person feel something powerful and moving, and it's about inspiring others.
Miracle Garden has inspiring down to a science, and that's thanks to the many artists, botanists and florists who worked tirelessly to create and maintain the garden.
Maybe it's the angel, maybe it's the light but there's something about this floral structure that makes me believe in fresh beginnings and second chances, and I find that more inspiring than any Guinness World Record.
3 Fields and fields of flowers
Most botanical gardens have fields of flowers, but nobody does it like Dubai. Reminiscent of the rice fields in Southeast Asia, these rows of colourful fields make all the blooms truly pop. The sheer number of flowers planted to make these fields is mind boggling.
With all the structures and arrangements throughout the park, your neck will hurt from swivelling so much. It's nice to look out over the fields and just appreciate each of the tiny beautiful flowers that together make up this awe-inspiring field.
2 Kick back and relax in the shade
Dubai is hot! Deadly hot. It's hard or downright impossible to stay in the sun all day, even for something as beautiful as the world's largest garden exhibit. That's one of the main reasons the garden is only open half the year, during winter. In the cooler winter months it's more manageable to walk around and appreciate the sights.
Even if it's cooler, you'll still be desperate for shade after walking around the massive gardens. Luckily, an adorable and practical umbrella exhibit is set up to provide visitors some much-needed rest and shade. I can only imagine what it must smell like to sit at one of those blue and white tables sipping a drink.
1 See the neighbouring Butterfly Garden
If and when you feel ready to leave Miracle Garden, you can walk a few steps over to Dubai's Butterfly Garden and continue to immerse your senses with the butterfly exhibit. Don't worry you won't need to buy another ticket, the two parks are connected.
The Butterfly Garden building is in the shape of a giant butterfly (of course it is!) and the indoor oasis is packed with more than 15,000 species of butterflies.
Before shopping at the world's biggest shopping centre, or riding rides inside the biggest indoor amusement park, appreciate the beauty and nature of the world's largest garden, and don't forget to see the small beauties that make up the big picture.