Entertaining kids in Dubai is child’s play, with all sorts of fun diversions available for everyone from toddlers to teens. The only downside is the often hefty entrance charges – taking a family of four out to many of the city’s headline attractions lack leave a serious black hole in your wallet. As well as the places listed below, you might also fancy a trip to the spectacular Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, easily do-able as a day-trip from Dubai.
It’s useful to know that many of the larger malls have dedicated play areas with a mix of amusements suitable for toddlers and older children – anything from soft play areas to arcade games. There are also plenty of cinemas around the city, while good shops for the children include the Camel Company, the Dubai Mall branch of London’s famous Hamley’s toy store, and the Toy Store chain, with branches in the Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Marina Mall.
Spend half a day – or longer – at Wild Wadi, Dubai’s most popular waterpark, with a great array of attractions for anyone and everyone from splashing toddlers to adult adrenaline junkies.
The top family resort in the city, Atlantis boasts a huge beach and great water-based attractions including the chance to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Bay, the state of the art Aquaventure waterpark, and the spectacular Lost Chambers aquarium. Even if you’re not staying here you could easily bring the family and make a day of it – just don’t expect to leave with much change out of at least a couple of hundred dollars in your pocket.
The daily shows at the Dubai Dolphinarium offer classic family fun, particularlly for younger kids, and you can also swim with the dolphins here at rates significantly lower than those at Atlantis
You can’t go wrong with a beach, especially if it’s as big – and as free – as the one in the Dubai Marina, where you’ll also find plenty of watersports on offer, plus eating and shopping outlets galore.
Let your kids run the world for a while at the novel and very enjoyable KidZania in the Dubai Mall.
Chill out with your kids on the surreal snow-clad slopes of Ski Dubai – you don’t even have to ski if you just want to go in and build a snowman or chuck a few snowballs. There are also regular shows featuring the centres resident penguins, while small-group interactions give your kids the chance to get right up close to your cute new flippered friends.
Adults often find the dated Dubai Zoo a bit depressing, although kids generally love it, with plenty of Arabian and international wildlife on view. And it’s blessedly inexpensive, too – sweet relief for long-suffering wallets.
Take your kids on the memorable boat ride by abra over the Creek – the most fun you can have in five minutes anywhere in Dubai, and probably the cheapest too. Or charter your own abra for longer trips up and down the waters of old Dubai.
Al Ain in 1 Day … Explore the oases, mudbrick forts and markets of the UAE’s only major inland city
Dubai Skycrapers on Sheikh Zayed Road … Where signature skyscrapers reach for the clouds
Dubai Walking Tour … The oldest part of the city is Bur Dubai, great to explore on foot
Dubai’s Upmarket Jumeirah District … Suburban heaven, local style
Sharjah in 1 Day … A taste of the traditional Gulf
Shopping in Dubai: Souks and The City … Crunch your credit-rating in Dubai’s stupendous array of old-school souks and dazzling modern malls
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