| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Mall play areas

Escape the heat and check out Dubai's top mall play areas

Chuck E Cheese

There are loads of games here: hockey, soccer, horse riding and more are all represented in some shape or CGI form. There’s also bowling and a mini ice rink, ideal for tots making their skating debut.

We say: A big thumbs up for the mini ice rink but very little for young tots
Dubai Outlet Mall (04 425 3430). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-12 midnight. Free entry, rides cost from Dhs3 to Dhs20 for ice skating and bowling.

Cool Times

Dark, dingy and slightly whiffy. Divided into age-appropriate areas, there’s a swing, see-saw, ball pit, foreboding jungle gym, space hoppers and soft play steps, but it’s still not enough to keep your average tot amused for more than five seconds. The face-painting area was unstaffed on our visit but the art shop lets kids loose with paint with no risk of it ruining your carpet.

We say: Don’t bother. There’s better value in IKEA or Toys R Us
Festival Centre (04 344 9020). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-12 midnight. Dhs40 for one hour, Dhs20 thereafter.

Encounter Zone

Teenagers will enjoy the Galactica area for its network of games, skate park, House of Horror, 3D cinema and the Crystal Maze. Younger visitors will prefer the huge soft areas of Lunarland.

We say: Fabulous fun for all ages, and there’s a food court too
Wafi Mall (04 324 7747). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-12 midnight. Dhs35 for two hours. Some games require a Dhs2 card that you top up with credit.

Favourite Things

Certainly one of our favourite things, this members-only club boasts a café and boutique so it’s worth a visit even minus kids. All ages are catered for with a large soft play area, books, toys, fancy dress room, sandy beach and a slide. There’s a mini-race track plus an art/cooking/science room. The jungle gym is great for older tots while the tweens’ lounge includes PlayStations, air hockey and karaoke.

We say: Immaculate and lots of fun, but you pay for it
Dubai Marina Mall (04 434 1984). Open 9am-9pm daily. Annual membership costs Dhs300, discounts for siblings. Dhs30 per hour for kids under 19 months, Dhs10 thereafter. For 19 months plus, Dhs45 and Dhs15 thereafter.

Fun City

Has a Fun & Learn section with slides, climbing frames, balls, ride-on toys and a reading area. The Play Zone is for over-fours, with longer, bumpier slides and a more challenging soft play area, plus arcade games, a river ride, kids’ hairdressers, party room and art studio.

We say: Great value for little ones
Ibn Battuta Mall (04 366 9819). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-12 midnight. Entry to the Fun & Learn section Dhs18 per hour (Sun-Wed), Dhs20 (Thu-Sat), the Play Zone Dhs20 (Sun-Wed), Dhs24 (Thu-Sat). Buy a Fun City Card for Dhs2 on first visit. Games and rides Dhs6-10. Other locations: Arabian Centre (04 284 5679), BurJuman (04 359 3336), Mercato (04 349 9976), Reef Mall (04 222 2405).

Fun Corner

Fun Corner will get the kids’ blood pumping – and yours when you see the entry fee. Popular for parties and balloon stpos, the soft-play section and near-vertical slide are big hits, but there are better play areas around.

We say: Fine for a quick pitstop – if junior needs to let off Dhs50 worth of steam
Spinneys Centre, Umm Suqeim (04 394 0315). Open 9am-10pm daily. Dhs50 for two hours. Other locations: Bin Sougat Centre (04 286 2848), Jumeirah Plaza (04 349 9119), Al Ghurair (04 227 6620).

Time Out Dubai,

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