Family fun in Dubai

Free circus workshops, Aquaplay, Bucket Boys and more Dubai fun

Thursday 1

FREE! Circus workshops at Mercato
Learn to juggle, pick up some clown antics, perform magic tricks and amaze your school friends. Mercato is running circus workshops throughout July at its Porto Vecchio Village. And if that doesn’t appeal, why not get creative at the interactive workshops and create your own T-shirt? Paints, brushes and the white, cotton shirt costs just Dhs15 per child.
(04 344 4161;

Aquaplay at Mirdif City Centre
Aquaplay provides lots of fun water rides, including bumper boats (instead of cars), a mini log flume and a stand-and-play area wet area called Murial’s Aquatraptions for little ones who love the wet stuff. For a more exuberant session, you can book them into the fishing village-themed jungle gym, or they can try their hands at the various arcade style water games and rides. At between Dhs5 and Dhs30 per activity, it won’t break the bank either. Open from 10am until 11pm daily.

Friday 2

FREE! Bucket Boys at Dubai Festival City
This energetic duo from Chicago have just finished a tour of India and are guaranteed to get your toes tapping. Using all sorts of household instruments, including dustbin lids, buckets, road signs and the like, they specialise in creating a hilarious show. No doubt your kids will be inspired by the whole shebang – and will want to try their hands at some bin-bashing at home.

FREE! Make your own cinnamon buns at Mercato
Little ones will love getting stuck into these deliciously sticky cinnamon rolls at the Bake Your Own Cinnabon classes at Mercato. The yummy sessions run from 5pm to 9pm, and are suitable for little chefs aged four and up.
(04 344 4161;

Saturday 3

Modhesh World at the Airport Expo
It doesn’t get much bigger – or better value – than Modhesh World this summer. Little monkeys can run off their energy in the giant jungle gym and soft play area. Once they’re fed up with that, there’s an indoor scooter track, as well as a mini zoo where they can pet small animals and ride a pony and a camel. And don’t forget Modhesh’s Magic Forest, which offers all sorts of games and activities, and loads of space for them to run around. It’s great value too, at Dhs10 for adults and Dhs15 for kids.

Sunday 4

Indoor beach soccer at Dubai Festival City
Check out the indoor beach soccer pitch as well as all the other football-related shenanigans around the mall. Not only are there shopping promotions for mum, but the little tykes can try their hands at all sorts of activities in a specially set-up soccer tent. Games, arts, crafts and more are all being laid on for free – and are perfect for kids aged three and up.

FREE! American Independence Day
Enjoy a sticky afternoon in the kitchen making Uncle Sam cookies decorated in stars and stripes. All you need is red, white and blue icing – and a sweet tooth.

Monday 5

FREE! Dora the Explorer at Mirdif City Centre
Join the adorable Dora – a Latino heroine who travels the world with her trusty companion Boots the monkey – live on stage. The show will deliver the usual catchy songs and little lessons in English and Spanish, as Dora learns to communicate with her new-found friends. Check the mall website for timings.

Tuesday 6

FREE! Meals for kids at Spur Steakhouse Dubai Festival City
Tuck into some hearty grub at this South African family restaurant, which serves burgers that are to die for and has its own kids’ entertainment area. Balloons, colouring sheets and crayons are doled out too, so mum and dad can enjoy their meals in peace. Hooray!
(04 232 8866)

Water Magic Show at Dubai Dolphinarium
A show with a difference, this one will be fun for mum and dad too. Described as a breathtaking performance where dolphins and seals show off their acrobatic and comedic skills with aplomb, it includes professional acrobats performing a variety of amazing tricks both in and out of the water, as well as pyrotechnics and lots of laughs and wow-moments. The shows run every day (except Sunday) at 3pm and 6pm. VIP tickets cost Dhs140 for adults and Dhs12 for kids, while regular tickets are Dhs100 for adults and Dhs70 for kids.
(04 336 9774;;

Wednesday 7

Movies and Munchies at Desert Palm
Lounge in the pool, stuff yourselves with burgers from the barbecue and crunch your way through a bucket of popcorn while watching the outdoor cinema at Desert Palm. This week’s pick is Hotel for Dogs, a family comedy about three youngsters in foster care who transform an unused building into a hotel for the city’s stray dogs, starring Lisa Kudrow and Don Cheadle. The movie starts at 7pm, and entry is Dhs30 per person.
(03 323 8888)

Thursday 8

FREE! Kids’ nosh at Toscana Madinat Jumeirah
Take the family for an Italian treat at Toscana. This easy-going, tasty restaurant with an outdoor terrace is perfect for dining with the nippers – and cheap too, considering they eat for free.
(04 366 6730)

Cine Splash at Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club
If you missed yesterday’s movie at Desert Palm, don’t despair – just get your rears over to Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club for tonight’s movie in the pool – which is the seriously catchy and watchable Happy Feet. Edible treats on offer include pasta dishes, pizza and loadsa popcorn. The movie starts at 7pm and entry is Dhs30 per person.
(04 361 8111)

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