Family fun in Dubai

Free food, Barney the Dinosaur, SpongeBob Squarepants and more

Thursday 22

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

Cine-Splash at Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club
Cool movie buffs should get their rears over to the polo club near Arabian Ranches for a poolside screening. Tonight’s film is Cheaper by the Dozen, and you can tuck into pasta dishes, pizza and plenty of popcorn while you float on a lilo. The movie starts at 7pm and costs Dhs30 per person.
(04 361 8111)

Friday 23

Barney Brunch at InterContinental Dubai Festival City
Welcoming a VIP (that’s ‘very important purple’) guest this weekend is the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Barney will be performing live at the family-themed ‘Purple Brunch’, which costs Dhs150 for kids and just Dhs75 for mums and dads. Dress up in your favourite costume to enter the draw to win a ‘purple ticket’ to meet Barney in person. The brunch runs from 12.30pm to 4pm.
(04 701 1128;

Big Apple Circus in Abu Dhabi

Roll up! Roll up! New York’s Big Apple Circus is making its way to Abu Dhabi for 10 days only. We’re excited about seeing New York’s finest big-top performers, and we’re certain that even little ones will be chuckling at the antics of Bello the Daredevil Clown – named ‘America’s Best Clown’ by Time magazine. It’s worth a visit to the capital, so book your seats now to avoid disappointment. Curtain-up is at 8pm, and tickets are Dhs200 for adults and Dhs75 for kids under 12.

Saturday 24

Free! Stories of SpongeBob
If you haven’t had your fill of enthusiastic yellow fellows this summer, catch SpongeBob in his rigid pants as he joins his friends at Dubai Festival City to re-enact favourite stories from the TV series. Shows start at 4.30pm and 6.30pm Saturday to Wednesday (no show on Monday), with an extra 8.30pm performance on Thursday and Friday.

Pediatric first aid course at Synergy
Get up to speed on all the essentials at this practical and potentially life-saving first aid course at the Synergy Integrated Medical Centre in Jumeirah. A bargain Dhs250 per person, the session runs from 9.30am until 12.30pm.
(04 348 5452)

Kids’ summer fun at Magrudy’s

Head down to the Jumeirah branch of Magrudy’s book store for an afternoon of colouring, face painting and bookmark-making. The fun runs from 2pm to 4pm.

Sunday 25

Free! Kids’ Olympic Games
Are your little ones driving you bananas? Are they climbing the walls with all the enthusiasm of an Olympian abseiler? Why not channel their energy by involving them in some healthy local competition? Mirdif City Centre is running a Kids’ Olympic Games, providing budding young hopefuls with a week of intense fun, starting today. Activities include the crawling race and three-legged runs. We admit it’s not your traditional Olympics, but as an outlet for their energy (and with prizes to boot), we give it a gold medal. Suitable for kids aged nine months to 10 years – and parents too, of course.

Monday 26

Modhesh World at Airport Expo
The biggest indoor play area in Dubai, Modhesh World is stupendous. Not only can your little monkeys run off steam in the massive jungle gym and soft play area, but they can also burn rubber on the scooter track, watch a movie at the 4D cinema, take part in all sorts of arts and craft activities, and even ride a pony or a camel and pet little furry critters at the indoor zoo. There’s a sanity-saving coffee shop for mum and dad too, and the venue is open from 10am to 10pm Saturday to Wednesday, 10am to midnight on Thursdays, and 3pm to midnight on Fridays. Entry is Dhs10 for adults and Dhs15 for kids, although you pay extra for many of the activities.

Tuesday 27

Boogie Babies at The Lakes Club
These jiggly-wiggly classes are ideal for little ones with way too much pent-up energy. Boogie Babies run sessions for toddlers at 10am, and babies at 10.30am.

Free! Meet Modhesh
The little yellow critter is set to roll up to Wafi in his new wheels at 6pm and 8pm, bringing with him a bunch of performers and acrobats. Even if you can’t stand him, it’s worth saying hello – you could get a free gift. Funnily enough, he’s also due to appear at The Dubai Mall at the same time (well, he’s Modhesh – he can do these things).

Wednesday 28

Movies and Munchies at Desert Palm
Lounge in the pool while you check out this week’s movie, emerging to taste burgers from the barbecue or munch your way through a bucket of popcorn. This week’s pick at the outdoor cinema is Night at the Museum 2, a family comedy starring Ben Stiller. The movie starts at 7pm, and entry is Dhs30 per person.
(03 323 8888)

Baby care for nannies at Infinity Clinic
Make sure your home helps are fully versed in their baby-handling techniques by enrolling them in the nannies’ course at Infinity Clinic, from 7pm to 9.30pm. The cost is Dhs400 per person – expensive, yet priceless.
(04 394 8994)

Thursday 29

Cool summer nights at Aquaventure
Get down to Aquaventure and join in the carnival fun, with stilt-walkers, street entertainers, stalls and delectable Latin street food, plus great rates on the dolphin show and ray-feeding sessions. Of course, kids can experience the usual thrills and spills of the waterpark’s slides and attractions, topped off with laser shows and fireworks. Entry is Dhs200 for adults and Dhs165 for guests less than 1.2 metres tall.
(04 426 2200;

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