Family fun in Dubai

Wildlife picnics, farmer's markets, bargain hunting and more stuff to do

Thursday 6

EDITOR’S PICK Pack a picnic & head for the hills
Little green fingers will love the new children’s garden at Al Ain Wildlife Park. Designed to inspire kids of all ages, the 2,000sq m space features a pretty flower garden, native plant section showcasing plants indigenous to the UAE, a veggie area and a recycled garden, providing a back-to-nature learning experience for little ones. An educational attraction and a breath of fresh air, pack a picnic and head on down for some good green fun – nippers will love running around the hills.
Dhs15 adults, Dhs5 kids. Open daily 9am-8pm. Al Ain Wildlife Park, Al Ain, (03 782 8188).

Friday 7

EDITOR’S PICK Veg out at a farmer’s market
Imagine lovely local veggies of the season, fresh fruits from the Middle East, baked-that-day artisanal bread and (our particular favourite) fresh eggs. We’re huge fans of the farmer’s market, held outdoors at Baker & Spice at Souk Al Bahar. With delicious local produce brought in from Al Ain and Abu Dhabi farms, including a livestock section (which doubles as a mini petting zoo for kids), all proceeds go direct to the farmers. Rest assured, a visit here will motivate you to get more healthy stuff in your family’s diet.
Free. Every Friday 10am-5pm. Baker & Spice, Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Burj Khalifa (04 425 2240).

Saturday 8

Hunt down a bargain at the flea market
Take advantage of the fabulous weather (dare we say it’s almost nippy?) and head to Safa Park’s monthly flea market. Not only will the kids thank you for it (think plenty of green space for ball games, a zip line, loads of play areas and a boating lake), but you’ll get to mooch around the myriad of second-hand stalls, stocking everything from books and DVDs to kids clothes and fine art.
Dhs3 per person. Open 9am-3pm. Safa Park gate 5, Jumeirah,

Sunday 9

Sign up your sprogs for a host of activities
Starting today are tons of activities for kids of all ages. Limelight-loving little ones (aged five to eight) can get their groove on at Kadomz Dance Studio with a 12-week hip hop class combining cool beats with dance moves.
Dhs780 per term. Sun or Mon, 3.30pm-4.30pm. Kadomz, Favourite Things, Dubai Marina Mall (04 434 1984).

EDITOR’S PICK Get creative
Try Expressive Art for Kids, for those aged three to 12 with no background in art. It covers the basics of drawing, painting, collage and storytelling.
Dhs440 for five sessions (age three to seven) or five sessions (age eight to 12). Various timings. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4777).

Let them learn new skills
Kidville’s winter programme starts today, with classes for kids aged five and under, from ballet and basketball to art and scientific discovery.
Call for prices and timings. Kidville, JBR, (04 440 1220).

Monday 10

Check out Dubai’s latest soft play area
Head down to Dubai’s hottest hangout for little people. The brand new Mini Monsters play centre, just down the road from Times Square Mall, claims to be the largest indoor soft play area in the UAE – it’s four storeys high, in fact – with tons of tunnels, big slides, spider webs and balls. There’s also a fantastic arts/crafts studio and café, where tykes can dip into the artistic materials and get stuck into creative free play, while mum sips a latte and surfs the web thanks to the free Wi-Fi. Bliss.
Dhs40 for the first hour, Dhs20 for subsequent hours. Open daily 9am-9pm. Mini Monsters, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 325 5331).

Tuesday 11

See Shakespeare 4 Kidz’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Most kids (and many grown-ups for that matter) believe Shakespeare is a little like broccoli – something to be approached with reluctance, and avoided if at all possible. However, UK company Shakespeare 4 Kidz has made a name for itself by transforming the Bard’s works into something entertaining and enjoyable, not to mention understandable, for even the youngest theatre-goers. This year, they’re bringing their own magical, musical version of Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the UAE. Bursting with rousing tunes, magical scenery and plenty of jokes and tomfoolery, kids will love it.
Dhs150. January 10-13, 8.45am and 11.45am. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, (04 341 4777).

Wednesday 12

Pamper your little princess at Favourite Things
Girly girls rejoice! The latest offering from Favourite Things is pampering for pint-sized princesses aged four to eight. Your lovely little one will have her hair primped, nails polished and face prettified, before donning her favourite princess costume (think dazzling ball gown and sparkling tiara) and starring in her very own photoshoot, so she (and you) can cherish the memory forever. Invite friends and turn the experience
into a princess play date. A one-hour free play session is included in this two-hour package.
Dhs300. Daily 9am-9pm. Favourite Things, Dubai Marina Mall, (04 434 1984).

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