Dubai is a real haven for children of all ages and they are catered for extremely well across this modern metropolis. Welcomed pretty much everywhere, there are a whole host of things to do in Dubai to keep kids occupied, whatever the weather… which in case you haven’t heard is hot, hot, hot! It’s also humid in the summer months.
Dubai is a sprawling, expansive city but with good, modern transport links available including the Dubai Metro, tram system (serving the Marina area) and taxis. There is also an Uber/Careem car service, which is slightly more costly, but gives you the option of requesting baby seats.
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Dubai with kids
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Our advice to initially navigate the city and get your bearings would be to take a ride on the Dubai sightseeing open-top bus. With a choice of routes and companies to choose from, you’ll be given an extensive tour of the city as a whole. Whether or not you choose to hop on and off, you can always pick out those areas you’d like to return to and spend a little longer exploring with the family.
Here we have listed our top 10 things to do with kids in Dubai by area so that you can really get the most out of your visit. Once you’ve exhausted this list, make sure to take a look at this post that reveals more things to do in Dubai.
Be wowed at the Palm Jumeirah
One of the ‘modern’ wonders of the world, the Palm Jumeirah is a real feat of human engineering and a must see while you are here. Hop on the monorail at the trunk of the palm and take a leisurely ride right into the heart of the iconic Atlantis resort at the tip of the crescent. Home to Aquaventure Waterpark, one of the most popular places to visit in Dubai for kids, this is where you can spend the day swimming, enjoying the rides or lie back and enjoy the lazy river. Kids LOVE it!
If you don’t fancy the outdoors (particularly in summer), The Lost Chambers, which is the resort’s grand aquarium, is a fun and educational option. Or, simply enjoy lunch at the child friendly Ronda Locatelli pizzeria before making your way back on the monorail.
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Go wild on a desert safari
A trip to Dubai would be incomplete without an ever-popular Desert Safari. This is a great activity to do with the family and a real Dubai experience. Your hotel will usually be able to arrange this for your family and you’ll be collected in a land cruiser and driven out to the red-hued sand dunes for a spot of dune bashing. You’ll then eat a traditional Arabic meal in a camp resembling a Bedouin camp and enjoy shisha, belly dancing and henna if you’re so inclined.
Wrap up warm and ski Dubai
For indoor activities in Dubai head to the Mall of the Emirates where you can go skiing (of course you can go skiing in Dubai!). Get the kids out of the heat for a few hours with a trip to Ski Dubai. Keen skiers can tackle the realistic slopes or if you have little ones in tow, spend some time in the snow park or at the interactive penguin experience.
There are two large food courts as well as other eateries in the mall to grab some lunch and it is also home to a cinema and ‘Magic Planet’ with bowling and rides.
Experience the pop-up markets
Dubai is really embracing the Farmers Market trend and one of our favourites is the Ripe Market in Zabeel Park every Friday from 9am, October to May. Aside from organic local produce and stalls selling handmade arts and crafts, there are children’s activities and even a little petting zoo. For something a bit different to the usual Dubai activities, we would definitely recommend this expat fave.
Explore downtown Dubai
You could easily spend a whole day in this part of Dubai! Enjoy a breakfast down at Souk Al Bahar overlooking the fountains and the mighty Burj Khalifa! Take a walk or trolley bus around the boulevard. Next, venture to ‘At The Top’ where you’ve guessed it – a lift takes you up to the observation gallery on the 124th floor and you can look out over the city. Tip: Book your tickets online in advance and you’ll save up to 50%.
Afterwards you can take in the world’s largest mall which hosts an ice rink, cinema, aquarium, Sega world and our children’s favourite indoor activities Kidzania, which is a wonderful interactive learning experience where children take up different job roles including a pilot, paramedic, supermarket cashier and so much more – it really is where imagination becomes reality!
Visit the old town on the creek
Immerse yourself in the culture and heritage of Dubai and visit the old town on the creek. On one side of the water you can visit the gold and spice souks and haggle for a bargain or two. It’s certainly a vibrant and entertaining experience!
Take an abra boat over to the other side to see the Dubai Museum, textile souk and a lovely little area called Bastakiya with it’s narrow streets and authentic wind-tower buildings. It’s fun to show the children another side of life in the city.
Build sandcastles on the beaches
Dubai has lots of beaches, most are owned by the hotels that line them but there are a few areas of ‘free’ beach such as Palace Beach and the newly developed Kite Beach where you can purchase yummy snacks from food trucks such as Salt, all while watching the kites lining the blue skies – it’s very pretty.
Get wet at the splash park at JBR
A popular expat living area, JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) is a dense collection of 40 sandy coloured towers that illuminate the marina skyline by night. Below them is ‘The Beach’ a beautiful retail area that lines the sandy shores offering al fresco casual dining, shops and a cinema. The beach itself has changing facilities, sun beds to hire and a splash park for the younger kids. For the slightly older children there is a huge inflatable assault course in the sea that father and son will love tackling together (while mum has some well deserved sun time!)
Enjoy the great indoors
If you visit Dubai in the summer and need some indoor activities, your children won’t be disappointed with Bounce, a large trampoline warehouse charged by the hour. Adventure HQ also offers a climbing wall and adventure zone for little thrill seekers and for a more peaceful approach check out The Jam Jar where you can enjoy a coffee while your little Picasso’s paint canvasses or ceramics.
Discover Madinat Jumeirah
Not just for kids but something the whole family will enjoy is the lovely resort of Madinat Jumeirah. This is an authentic modern re-creation of an Arabic marketplace complete with lush landscaping, waterways accessible by abra boat, small boutiques and plenty of dining options from casual to more high-end outlets. It really is stunning and well worth a visit.
For most of the above mentioned Dubai attractions, if you purchase an Entertainer (available as a book or online app) you can take advantage of many buy one get one free options – always good when travelling as a family.
This is a guest post by Jenny & Laura of Mums The World
For more ideas on travelling in the UAE with kids take a look at our friends over at Baby Globetotters and their guide to travelling in the UAE with kids.