1 Have an adventure with the family
Need to entertain the offspring? Kid-friendly attraction Magic Planet is spread over two floors at Mall of the Emirates, and houses rides and activities for all ages. Famously, it’s home to the XD Theatre, which was the first 4D cinema in the UAE. There’s also a massive soft-play area for the little ones, and pool tables for the not-so-little ones (hello, mum and dad). Fancy some bowling? There are 12 ten-pin lanes for that, too, plus plenty of food outlets to refuel in, after some arcade games. Gravity, a trampolining area, is ideal for budding acrobats, plus there’s a merry-go-round, bumper cars and more. Phew.
From Dhs55. Open daily 10am-2am (until Jul 1); Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight (thereafter). Magic Planet, Mall of the Emirates, www.theplaymania.com/magicplanet
2 Play some retro arcades
Admittedly, Stereo Arcade isn’t exactly on the scale of some of the big-hitters on this list, nor is it as family-friendly, but it does house some pretty decent arcade games. Sonic the Hedgehog while you have a chat with your mates? Sounds okay to us.
Free entry. Open daily 6pm-3am. Stereo Arcade, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai – Jumeirah Beach, JBR (052 618 2424).
3 Take a road trip…
If hair-raising rides and fast cars are your thing, head to Abu Dhabi. Ferrari World on Yas Island is mostly housed inside a striking red dome, with rides, cafés and, of course, Ferraris. As well as learning more about these supercars, you’ll also find the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa. Modelled on a real Ferrari F1 car, put on your goggles and get ready to reach a speed of 240kph in just 4.9 seconds. Meanwhile, Flying Aces has the highest roller coaster loop on the planet. The brand-new Turbo Track is open now, too, which has zero gravity falls. There are karting and simulator rides, too.
Free entry and pay per ride (throughout Ramadan; from Dhs275 (thereafter). Open daily 11am-8pm. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com.
4 …Then tackle The Big One
Head back to Dubai to take on the world’s largest indoor theme park. The 1.5-million-square-foot IMG Worlds of Adventure opened in summer last year, and is fully temperature-controlled. It’s also home to some pretty epic rides and is certainly not just for kids (although there is a dedicated area for the sprogs, too, with some tamer attractions). Even the seemingly innocuous Powerpuff Girls – Mojo’s Robot Rampage ride packs a punch. Highlights of the park include the high-speed Velociraptor roller coaster in the Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure Zone, which reaches 100kph in 2.5 seconds. Also in this zone – which is home to 69 animatronic dinosaurs – is the gravity-defying Predator, featuring a 35-metre “beyond vertical” drop. Two more stomach-churners are the Spider-Man Doc Ock’s Revenge and Thor, which are both high-intensity, spinny, rides. Take a breather on the Dino Carousel or grab a snack at one of the 28 food outlets. If you’re feeling brave enough there’s also The Haunted Hotel. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
Dhs245 (adults), Dhs225 (kids under 1.2m), free (kids under 1.05m). Open daily 7am-11pm. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, www.imgworlds.com.
5 Take on a gamer’s dream
The 18,000-square-metre Hub Zero is fully state-of-the-art, using the latest technologies. Set up in collaboration with gaming companies Electronic Arts, Capcom, Konami, Microsoft and Square Enix Space, this centre has activities for all ages. It houses 3D and 4D cinema experiences, and for a retro take on things, you can even indulge in some pinball. Or there’s a full-on laser tag battle to take part in if you’re feeling active. For more serious gamers there’s a LAN (or Local Area Network to novices) gaming area, with 70 stations. If you’re more into Pac-Man and Space Invaders, don’t worry, you’ll be well-catered for, too.
From Dhs160. Open Sun-Thu 5pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 3pm-midnight. City Walk, Al Safa Street, www.hubzerodubai.com.
6 Try out three theme parks in one
Billed as “the coolest place this summer”, Dubai Parks And Resorts has more than 40 indoor rides and attractions across its motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and Legoland Dubai complexes. motiongate, which is based on Hollywood motion picture companies DreamWorks Animation, Columbia Pictures and Lionsgate, has plenty of high-octane rides and attractions include Madagascar Mad Pursuit, Hotel Transylvania and Underworld 4D cinema show. Legoland’s indoor draws include factory tours and 4D cinemas, while Bollywood Parks has live action shows.
From Dhs85. Open daily 4pm-midnight. Jebel Ali, www.dubaiparksandresorts.com.
7 Unearth The Void
Put on your ghost-busting backpack and get on down to The Beach. US “hyper-reality” company The Void has teamed up with Meraas to set up a full-on virtual reality experience allowing you to bust some ghosts. Dubai is the first city outside of the US to have this attraction, which uses real-time effects to wow you. As well as the backpack, you’ll pop on a vest with haptic feedback, which simulates the feeling and velocity of force, so you’ll be totally immersed in the experience. (You just have to try it.)
Dhs110. Open daily noon-midnight. The Beach, JBR, www.thevoid.com/dubai.
The amount of ground, in million square feet, covered by Dubai Parks And Resorts in Jebel Ali.
The distance in metres you’ll plummet on Predator at IMG Worlds of Adventure.
The size in inches of the three screens that fully wrap you up for the Hyper Drive motorsport simulator at Hub Zero.
The speed in kph reached in 4.9 seconds by Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster, at Ferrari World.