Free! Story-telling at Mercato The Porto Vecchio Village on the first floor of Mercato Mall has been transformed into a wonderful story-telling area for little ones. Children can look forward to The Parable of The Two Brothers and reflect on the moral behind the story. Shows take place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm, 8.30pm, 9pm and 10pm. The story is narrated in both English and Arabic. While you’re there, listen to Arabic tunes and visit the ‘Glimpses of Ramadan around the world’ exhibition.
Dubai Dolphinarium (04 336 9773; www.dubaidolphinarium.ae) The dolphins and seals are back from their extended summer break and are welcoming back the punters with a nine-day ‘dophin spectacular’ where they’ll be showing off all the new tricks they’ve learned over the holidays. Dubai Dolphinarium aims to create an enriching family fun experience while also promoting the protection of the precious environment and marine life conservation. Please check the website for timings and prices
Free! Sharjah workshops (www.sharjahmuseums.ae) Head north for a bit of culture with the kids this weekend. In the morning, the Sharjah Archaeology Museum will tell kids aged six to 11 years all about the many ancient uses of soft stone (11am) while in the afternoon, youngsters aged five to 12 years can discover all sorts of fascinating facts about sharks at the fabulous Sharjah Aquarium (3pm). Accompanied by a parent, places are limited, so it is best to arrive early. The workshops are free, but normal museum admission charges apply. Sharjah Archaeology Museum Dhs5 per adult, free for kids; Sharjah Aquarium Dhs20, free for under-fives.
Little Chef’s Eid Camp (050 458 3015; firstname.lastname@example.org) After proving so popular over the summer, the Little Chef’s cooking camp is back for Eid. Run by foodie mum Tina, the kids get to try out recipes from around the world, discover where food comes from, and learn all about kitchen safety and basic cooking techniques. Putting all this into practise, they make (and hopefully eat) their own lunch, and foodie field trips can also be arranged. Classes run until September 24 and cost Dhs125 per day or Dhs500 per week, 9am-1.30pm.
Eid Al Fitr at Bab al Shams (04 809 6194) Celebrate the end of Ramadan with a lavish traditional buffet at the Al Hadheerah Desert Restaurant at Bab Al Shams. Running over the three days of Eid Al Fitr, from 7pm to 10pm, guests can enjoy traditional Arabic food and music from the local band, as well as spectacular dancing performances. The surrounding dunes at Bab Al Shams will form a stunning backdrop for a magnificent camel and horse show with the evening concluded by a grand fireworks display, while kids (and adults) can enjoy a free camel or horse ride plus exciting games to entertain the little ones. The cost is Dhs495 with kids under 12 years half price and under-fives free.
Favourite Things Mother and Child (04 434 1984) This Dubai Marina haunt was an absolute life-saver for those of us marooned here over the summer, but just because the kids are back at school, doesn’t mean we’re not willing to take advantage of all it has to offer. Play areas for babies, tots and kids, plus a funky lounge for older kids and teens, mean the entire family is catered for. Add to that an arts and crafts room, dress-up area, party room and dance studio, as well as a café and boutique store, Favourite Things is a gem for mums, dads and kids.
Monsters, Inc at Movies & Munchies (Desert Palm, 04 323 8888) This glorious computer-animated rumpus from the geniuses at Pixar is a must-see for the entire family. Billy Crystal and John Goodman partner up with hilarious effect as the two main monsters who, as employees of Monsters, Inc, are charged with harvesting the screams of small children and turning them into energy. Only, it appears they are more spooked by the kids. Catch this stunner for just Dhs30, including towel and popcorn, while lounging around in the pool at Desert Palm. Other snacks and drinks are available at an extra charge.
Sega Republic (04 448 8484) If you haven’t already checked out the latest indoor theme park to hit Dubai, what on earth have you been doing? Sega Republic at Dubai Mall has got nine great, adrenaline-pumping rides where you can flip 180 degrees on a skateboard, loop 360 degrees on a bobsled and plunge and twist nine metres on the Sonic Hopper (and that’s before we even mention the 150-plus arcade games). Dubai’s newest indoor entertainment centre is certainly worth checking out. Zip down before the end of the month to take advantage of the Power Pass which, for Dhs100, gives you unlimited access to the rides.