Mums and dads, we’ve been with you since 2006 and we just know – once the weather gets better, the kids will want to be everywhere, all at once. Luckily, the UAE is the perfect place to do so. Despite only having a few months of no scorch, we’re all set with outdoor play areas, eateries, theme parks, water parks and more.
This month, we’re stepping outside to smell the flowers and catch some butterflies, but we’re also packing (extra) wet wipes, gummies, lollies and nappies. Ah, now it’s time to really enjoy the great outdoors.
Build blocks at LEGOLAND Dubai
Let’s be honest, this will be just as much fun for parents as it is for kids. Start off at the factory, where you’ll get a guided tour and find out how LEGO bricks are made, before moving on to LEGO City, where you can learn to drive an electric car and fly a LEGO plane. From there, it’s onto the various kingdoms and imagination zones, before taking a turn on some rides at the Adventure Zone, then heading to Miniland, where you’ll be able to marvel at 20 miles of LEGO bricks.
From Dhs235 (adults), free (kids under three). Open Sat-Wed 10am-6pm, Thur-Fri 10am-8pm. Dubai Parks And Resorts, Jebel Ali, Dubai, www.legoland.com/dubai (04 820 0000).
Catch the latest blockbuster at Habtoor Grand
The Urban Outdoor Cinema shows a variety of family-friendly classic films three times a week on a Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Kids can munch on pizza from the hotel’s restaurant and there’s a pop-up serving popcorn and bites too.
Dhs75. Habtoor Grand Resort Autograph Collection, Dubai Marina. Sat-Mon, 7.30pm onwards, www.urbanoutdoorcinema.com (056 895 6280).
Chill at Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa
You can kick back and relax in the sunshine at Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa while enjoying acres of green grass and beautiful beaches. Dive into one of the hotel’s multiple temperature-controlled swimming pools and cool off from the summer heat, or hang out at Le Méridien’s Family Kids Club where little ones get to explore and learn with games, special menus and more. And, who knows, a single day can turn into a full-on staycation.
Dhs200 (adult), Dhs100 (kids aged four to 12). Open daily 8am-8pm. Dubai Marina, Dubai, www.leroyalmeridien-dubai.com (04 316 5305).
Explore the dunes with a desert safari
If you’re looking to get a true sense of the deserts of Dubai, Platinum Heritage desert safari is your best bet. There’s a plethora of activities the company has packed into each of its various safari packages, such as its signature Heritage Desert Safari, where explorers will drive around in vintage Land Rovers as they check out the local wildlife in their natural habitat. The Bedouin Culture Safari is even better for little ones as they get to interact with local farm animals and meet a traditional saluki dog too.
Dhs595 (adults), from Dhs495 (kids aged five to 12) for Heritage Desert Safari, Dhs495 (adults), Dhs395 (kids aged five to 12) for Bedouin Culture Safari. Open daily, 6.30am onwards. Office: Control Tower, Motor City, www.platinum-heritage.com (04 440 9827).
Feel the rush at Aventura Parks
Set amid Mushrif Park’s natural ghaf tree forest, this 35,000 sq m adventure playground offers intrepid visitors around 80 activities, including rope walks, log balancing, ladders and zip lines, the largest of which is a toe-tingling 160m long and 10m high. The whole space is split into six circuits, designed to accommodate any level of Indiana Jones, Spider-Man or Tarzan wannabe.
From Dhs141 (including gloves). Open Mon Oct 1 onwards. Open Tue-Sat 3.30pm-11pm. Mushrif Park, Mirdif, www.aventuraparks.com (052 178 7616).
Fly kites at Kite Beach
We’re kidding, there’s so much to do for all ages in there. Apart from all the kites, little ones will have no trouble burning off energy on the outdoor trampolines and at the skate park, making this beach a one-stop destination for family activities. Don’t forget to pop into XPark Jr., located right behind the skate park, which has plenty of spaces for free play and water-based fun. Kids can conquer and climb wooden forts, cross streams of water and marvel at birds, bugs and creatures who share our world. Top it all off with some snacks fro mone of the many food trucks.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-midnight, Thu-Sat 10am-1am. Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim, near Jumeirah Beach Hotel, www.kitebeach.ae (04 317 3999).
Get fished at Wild Wadi Waterpark
In total, there are 30 rides and attractions for the whole family to enjoy at Wild Wadi Waterpark, whether you’re a fan of the hair-raising, or prefer something a little more relaxed, like the 360-metre long lazy river. You can also get your toes nibbled by toothless garra rufa fish at the Fisho Spa, where the helpful sea creatures eat dead skin from the feet, leaving them exfoliated and impossibly smooth. So if you’re after waterslides or a unique pedi, you know where to go.
Dhs270 (adults), Dhs220 (kids under 1.1m). Open Sun-Thurs 10am-7pm, Fri 10am-10pm. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim, Dubai, www.jumeirah.com (04 348 4444).
Just go to The Beach
It’s one of Dubai’s hottest shopping and dining districts, and remains a favourite until now despite the opening of many new similar venues. Located on JBR Beach, you’ll find everything at The Beach. From a splash zone for kiddies, to jogging beach side, paddle-boarding, or working out in an outdoor gym, this spot offers so much more than just food and a public beach.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thu-Sat 10am-12am. Jumeirah Beach Road, www.thebeach.ae (04 317 3999).
Hang out La Mer
If you have a penchant for top-quality grub by the beach, a bit of beachside shopping, waterparks or lazing the day away on the sand, La Mer is for you. The beachfront destination is a sprawling 13.4 million sq ft development in Dubai’s Jumeirah 1 with more than 130 restaurants, cafés and shops, plus a cinema. Places well worth your time include organic café The Slab, Italian pizza joint Alice Pizza, popular burger bar SALT and several ice cream parlours. There’s loads to eat, see and do at La Mer, making it the perfect place to spend a full day with the whole gang.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Jumeirah 1, www.lamerdubai.ae (800 637 227).
Have a picnic at the new North Park
Dubai Silicon Oasis now has a lovely public park. North Park, located near Cedar Villas, spans an impressive 35,000 square metres of landscaped gardens and is home to a kids’ play area, water fountains, barbeque pits, an outdoor gym, jogging and cycling tracks, a football pitch, tennis court, volleyball court and skate park.
Open Sun-Thu 8am-11pm, Fri & Sat 8am-11.30pm. North Park, Dubai Silicon Oasis, www.dsoa.ae.
Have fun in the sun at Fairmont The Palm
In terms of hotels and beach clubs, there are plenty of options among the Palm’s trunk, 16 fronds and surrounding crescent. Fairmont offers plenty for adults and youngsters alike, from four swimming pools and a private beach, to the Fairmont Falcons Kids’ Club. All in all, if you’re looking for a chilled-out day with the family, this one of the best places on the Palm for that.
Dhs270 (adults, Sun-Thu), Dhs320 (adults, Fri-Sat), Dhs160 (kids aged three-12). Open daily 6.30am-8pm. Palm Jumeirah, www.fairmont.com
/palm-dubai (04 457 3388).
Live the movie at Bollywood Parks
Bollywood Parks is a family-friendly theme park in the style of a Bollywood set. Highlights include the Sholay, a 3D interactive dark ride in which you are armed with laser guns to take out villains from the hit movie of the same name. Meanwhile, the Dabangg stunt show is an explosive spectacle you won’t forget. A favourite among adults and kids alike, it’s easy to let time get away from you here with vivacious dance shows, 16 rides and attractions and stupendous sets.
Dhs195 (adults and kids) Dhs170 (UAE residents), Free (kids under three). Open daily 4pm-midnight. Dubai Parks And Resorts, Jebel Ali, www.bollywoodparksdubai.com (800 2629464).
Make a splash at Aquaventure
If you like waterparks, you’ll love Aquaventure. The big attraction here is the Leap of Faith, which shoots riders through an enclosed shark tank (not exactly kid-friendly). Luckily, there’s the new Splashers, an area specially designed for the little ones under 1.2 metres where there’s a mountain with huge tipping buckets and climbing frames, as well as seven waterslides. The park also boasts a huge beach, aquarium, plenty of cafés and restaurants, a kids’ area, dolphin experiences and even diving.
From Dhs195 (adults, residents), Dhs170 (kids less than 1.2m tall, UAE residents), free (kids under two). Open daily 10am-sundown. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, www.atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 0000).
Meet Papa Smurf at motiongate Dubai
The Hollywood-inspired theme park showcases different areas and attractions, including everything from The Smurfs to Kung Fu Panda and features immersive motion simulators, family rides, rollercoasters, live shows and even water rides. There’s live entertainment and the chance to meet and greet some of your favourite characters including Shrek, the animals from Madagascar and even the cast of Hotel Transylvania if you dare. There’s also plenty of feasting to be done at seven cafés and restaurants, plus any number of gift shops for a spot of retail therapy for mum and dad.
Dhs235 (day ticket) Dhs165 (UAE residents). Open daily 11am-10pm. Dubai Parks And Resorts, Jebel Ali, Dubai, www.motiongatedubai.com (800 2629464).
Slide down at Laguna Waterpark
With four distinct zones, half a dozen standalone rides, flumes and slides, a lazy river, an infinity pool and the region’s first 180-degree surf park, Laguna is not just another waterpark adding to the city’s already impressive selection. So whether you’re after family rafts that drop you four metres into the water, lazy river rides or you fancy learning to surf, you’ve got Laguna to explore.
From Dhs99 (UAE residents booking online), Dhs125 (residents, on the door), Dhs159 (non-residents). Open daily 10am-sunset. La Mer, Jumeirah 1, www.lagunawaterpark.com (800 637227).
Swish about at LEGOLAND Water Park
LEGOLAND is the only UAE waterpark designed specifically for kids aged two to 12 and their families – not that this place is small. There’s a lazy Build-A-Raft River, Joker Soaker playground water shooters, a wave bowl and any number of slides for both little ones and the thrill seekers. Make sure you don’t miss the Wave Pool to get swished around a bit (in the safest way possible).
Dhs165 (adults), free (kids under three). Open daily 10am-6pm. Dubai Parks And Resorts, Jebel Ali, www.legoland.com/dubai (04 820 3123).
Travel the world at Global Village
Global Village went into its 23rd season last month and we must say it’s been pretty exciting. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it at this spot – which boasts shopping, food and shows. Add to that firework displays, parades and fairground rides, it’s an action-packed day out for all the family. Housed in the huge outdoor shopping complex are pavilions selling goods from all around the world, including Oman, Bosnia and Bangladesh. Visitors can also expect heaps of restaurants and street food kiosks offering up cuisines from all around the world.
Dhs15 (standard tickets). Open Sat-Wed 4pm-midnight; Thu-Fri 4pm-1am (open October-April). Mon ladies and families only. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, www.globalvillage.ae (04 362 4114).