On our Second day in Dubai we wanted to to explore Burj Khalifa and attached Dubai mall. So when we reached there we found out that due to holiday rush (we reached there between Good Friday & Easter holidays) the observatory at 124th floor was packed with tourists. So abandoning to see the world from top I went around exploring Burj from its outside. We were so lucky that we caught hold of the window washers at work at the Burj. Burj Khalifa also known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is the tallest man-made structure in the world, at 829.8 m Burj Khalifa is so tall that you can watch the sunset from the base of the building, get into an elevator right to the top, and watch the sunset all over again. It is about three minutes between the time of the sunset on the ground and the sunset on the top.
Construction began on 21 September 2004, officially opened on 4 January 2010, and is part of the new 2 km2 development called Downtown Dubai at the ‘First Interchange’ along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai’s main business district. The tower’s architecture and engineering were performed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago, with Adrian Smith as chief architect, and Bill Baker as chief structural engineer. The primary contractor was Samsung C&T of South Korea. The project’s completion coincided with the global financial crisis of 2007–2012, and with vast overbuilding in the country; this led to high vacancies and foreclosures. With Dubai mired in debt from its huge ambitions, the government was forced to seek multi-billion dollar bailouts from its oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi. Subsequently, in a surprise move at its opening ceremony, the tower was renamed Burj Khalifa, said to honor the UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his crucial support. Burj Khalifa was designed to be the centerpiece of a large-scale, mixed-use development that would include 30,000 homes, nine hotels (including The Address, Downtown Dubai), 3 hectares ) of parkland, at least 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and the 12-hectare man-made Burj Khalifa Lake. The design architect, Adrian Smith, has said the triple lobed footprint of the building was inspired by the flower Hymenocallis. The tower is composed of three elements arranged around a central core. As the tower rises from the flat desert base, setbacks occur at each element in a spiraling pattern, decreasing the cross section of the tower as it reaches toward the sky. There are 27 terraces in Burj Khalifa. At the top, the central core emerges and is sculpted to form a finishing spire. A Y-shaped floor plan maximizes views of the Persian Gulf. Viewed from above or from the base, the form also evokes the onion domes of Islamic architecture. At its tallest point, the tower sways a total of 1.5 m.
The exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa consists of 142,000 m2 of reflective glazing, and aluminum and textured stainless steel spandrel panels with vertical tubular fins. The cladding system is designed to withstand Dubai’s extreme summer temperatures. Additionally, the exterior temperature at the top of the building is thought to be 6°C cooler than at its base. Over 26,000 glass panels were used in the exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa. To wash the 24,348 windows, totaling 120,000 m2 of glass, a horizontal track has been installed on the exterior of Burj Khalifa at levels 40, 73, and 109. Each track holds a 1,500 kg bucket machine which moves horizontally and then vertically using heavy cables. Above level 109, up to tier 27 traditional cradles from davits are used. The top of the spire, however, is reserved for specialist window cleaners, who brave the heights and high winds dangling by ropes to clean and inspect the top of the pinnacle. Under normal conditions, when all building maintenance units will be operational, it will take 36 workers three to four months to clean the entire exterior facade. Unmanned machines will clean the top 27 additional tiers and the glass spire.
Our next destination was Dubai Mall next door. My daughter had found company with my friend’s daughter and both wanted to explore KidZania a Role playing edutainment. KidZania is a Mexican chain of family entertainment center, where kids try out professions that have been downsized, simplified, and made fun. At these soccer field-size franchises in Dubai Mall, children play at being adults. Children can play surgeon, detective, journalist, courier, radio host, and dozens more jobs. They can buy and sell goods at the KidZania supermarket, take KidZania currency that they earn to an operational bank staffed with adult tellers, and be security guards escorting KidZania currency around the park. They can assemble burgers and pizzas, which they can then eat, or give makeovers to other paying children. KidZania may seem like a Disneyland of child labor, but the photos and videos that parents have shared online show just how much fun everyone is having in the scaled down cityscape. Joy, wonder, and deep concentration are evident on these kids’ faces, whether they’re operating on robot dogs or constructing a 25-foot tower using hoists and harnesses—very appropriate for KidZania Dubai. The marketing for KidZania Dubai calls the whole concept “Learn while you play.” The franchise claims that the “diverse learning experiences of KidZania will benefit children in their life at school, home, or when they are out with friends.”
And kids aren’t just migrant laborers in KidZania. They are KidZanians, citizens of the nation of KidZania. There is a national anthem and a red and yellow flag, the colors split by the letter K. The KidZania logo itself is that same fluttering flag. Each child receives a bank account, an ATM card, a wallet, and a check for 50 KidZos (the park’s currency). At the park’s bank, which is staffed by adult tellers, kids can withdraw or deposit money they’ve earned through completing activities—and the account remains even when they go home at the end of the day. A lot of effort goes into making the children repeat visitors of this Lilliputian city-state.
Leaving the kids to enjoy the Role playing life of KidZania we headed to explore the vast Dubai Mall. The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall based on total area and sixth largest by gross leasable area. It is part of the 20-billion-dollar Downtown Dubai complex, and includes 1,200 shops. Access to the mall is provided via Doha Street, rebuilt as a double-decker road in April 2009.
Equivalent in size to more than 50 football pitches the Dubai Mall has a total internal floor area of 5.9 million square feet. It also has a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens plus 120 restaurants and cafes. The Mall has over 14,000 parking spaces across 3 car parks, with valet services and a car locator ticketing system.
The Waterfall of Dubai Mall is impressive to say the least. The Waterfall runs through the entire height of the mall, traversing all four levels, and is adorned with art sculptures of human divers made of fiberglass to create a dynamic visual spectrum that complements the rhythmic flow of water. For me it looked like Falling Angels from the sky. The Waterfall stretches over all four floors of Dubai Mall and is patterned with numerous identical statues of human divers made of fiberglass. The Waterfall is well-lit from huge windows and a skylight near by.
The Mall’s Dubai Ice Rink multi-purpose venue, uses refrigeration plant technology by developing 38 mm of ice bed, 2 times the thickness of an NHL ice rink for Olympic-sized attraction. Dubai Ice Rink can host a capacity of up to 2,000 guests, when converted into a multi-functional hall with world-class multimedia system including a 20 m × 10 m LED screen. Dubai Ice Rink in itself is an exciting facility, bringing the first-ever Olympic-sized ice rink to Dubai. A top-class facility offering the best of, including over 1,800 pairs of skates imported from a leading manufacturer in Italy to fit children and adults of all ages and sizes, the Dubai Ice Rink will host themed nights, Learn-to-Skate programs, figure skating lessons and hockey matches. The advanced technology used at the Dubai Ice Rink ensures that the consistency of the ice-bed is maintained at all times. By incorporating the refrigerator technology of pushing in glycol through a network of pipes, and monitoring the cooling over a period of five to six days, the 38 mm ice-bed is tailored to withstand multiple activities in a safe environment.
SEGA Republic, a 76,000 sq ft indoor theme park, where visitors can enjoy over 150 amusement games; The Redemption Zone hosts one of the region’s largest selection of redemption games as well as a huge selection of winnable merchandise for all ages. It is a park that is mainly dedicated to SEGA’s icon Sonic the Hedgehog. The entrance to Sega Republic is located on the second floor of The Dubai Mall. Reel Cinema is a 22 screen megaplex with more than 2,800 seats. All screens are currently open. It is the largest cinema in the region. Of the 22 screens present, there are both 2D and 3D screens available. A new movie starts at the Reel Cinemas every 10 minutes.
Later in the evening kids left their Kidzania Den with lots of Kidzo money. They seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed being adults. I wish there is one such Role playing area for adults so that we can become child all over again. In Dubai Mall there were two such areas. Dubai Aquarium and Candylicious.
The Mall’s Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre, developed and operated by Oceanis Australia Group, officially earned the Guinness World Record for the world’s “Largest Acrylic Panel” (32.88 m wide × 8.3 m high × 750 mm thick and weighing 245,614 kg). Its 750 mm thick acrylic viewing panel can withstand pressure of 10 million litres of water used in the aquarium, but its transparency gives visitors clear views of over 33,000 marine animals on display.
Stand under the lollipop tree, guzzle a root beer float at the soda fountain or soak up the tempting aroma of Garretts’ gourmet popcorn at this colorful candy emporium. Candylicious is the 1000th store to open in Dubai Mall, it’s stocked to the rafters with everything from humble jelly beans to gourmet chocolate from France and Switzerland. Pure bliss. Just don’t tell your dentist.
Candylicious is world’s largest candy shop in Dubai Mall, it’s a sweet paradise situated right opposite the aquarium in the ground floor. It is definitely a haven for all chocoholics ! Every chocolate or candy possible can be found there. From the conventional chocolates to bubble gum popping candy. A Pick and Mix is also available with different containers such as heart shaped containers, tin containers or even a miniature version of the containers used to hold the pick & mix sweets. The pick and mix also come in chocolates, sweets, jelly beans of M&Ms- something for everybody!
I never understood the sentence “kid in a candy store” until I set foot in this capricious store. When you enter you feel as though you are Alice in wonderland, but the Candylicious version of it. Candy and chocolate everywhere, it is a dream for a chocolate lover with a sweet tooth for every delight that this store offers. This is every kid’s dream, I remember when I was younger dreaming of such place were all you can buy and mesmerize at every kind of candy one only imagine seeing. The design of the store is so fascinating that it invites curiosity to every by passer which creates this desire to consume every candy one can lay his/her hand on. They offer candy and chocolate that one cannot find in other stores, and some candy that I never knew where available or existed. Its Almost Like The Set Of The Film ” Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
After all these candies and window shopping we had too many shops at food court to satiate our hunger. We tried out many samples cuisines from different countries in that sprawling food court which holds over 120 cafes. Roaming around the mall we never realized we spent over 13 hours until our legs started aching. Then we returned back to our room, late at night for a good night sleep. Next day was booked for Wild Wadi water park and story of which you can see in my next blog.