| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Outdoor family fun in Dubai

Pack away the DVDs and take your kids to the park or beach

If Time Out Kids had to name one thing we love about Dubai, it’s that glorious weather we enjoy for three quarters of the year. So why waste it being stuck indoors? While it might be common sense that a bit of fresh air can do us all some good, there’s plenty of research to show that getting back to nature can have profound mental and physical effects on our kids, too. Environmental psycholgists at Cornell University discovered that even a view of nature can protect children against the impact of stress; researchers at the University of Illinois showed that direct exposure to the great outdoors has a positive effect on kids suffering from attention deficit disorders; Swedish scientists found that kids that were exposed to nature for at least six hours each week were less likely to be absent from school due to illnesses; and a US study found that greener neighbourhoods may also help to reduce childhood obesity levels.

So, now that autumn’s arriving, with cooler days and clear blue skies, what better time to make the most of Dubai’s wealth of parks, green spaces and outdoor areas? From the Marina to the city centre to Mirdif and beyond, it’s just waiting to be explored.

Marina, Al Barsha & Umm Suqeim

Al Barsha Pond Park: It’s one of Dubai’s newest parks, but Al Barsha Pond Park is already proving a hit with the area’s many families. Expect a huge pond, surrounded by green landscaped areas, kids’ play area, cycle paths, a cushioned jogging track, plus basketball and volleyball courts and a football field.
Free. Located near Al Mawakeb School and Al Barsha Mall.

Marina Promenade: Now that much of the construction has nearly finished, the Marina Promenade is one of New Dubai’s most picturesque places to amble away a few hours in the winter sunshine. Ogle at the superyachts at the Marina, book a trip on a water taxi (call 800 9090 to book), or simply have a splash around in the open fountains to beat the heat. Make the most of the café culture at one of Marina Promenade’s many al fresco eateries, including Infernos, Bateel and Starbucks.

Umm Suqeim Park: Ten minutes’ drive along Al Sufouh, and you’ll reach the family friendly haven of Umm Suqeim Park. A hop across from the public beach, and in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab, it’s only open to women and children during the week (dads welcome at the weekends, when it can get overcrowded), but there’s a great kids’ play area and climbing frame, plus a café for drinks and ice cream treats.
Free. Open Sun-Wed 8am-11pm; Thu-Sat 8am-11.30pm. Beach Road (near Jumeirah Beach Hotel), Jumeirah (no number).

The Barsha Pond Park has a beautiful landscape and a lovely walking path surrounded by trees and flowers :)
Shillpi via Facebook

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