Stock up on popcorn for the Happy Feet II in 3D premiere At Ibn Battuta IMAX you can watch the penguins strut their stuff on a screen that’s 13m high and 21m wide. The film features the voices of Brad Pitt, Robin Williams, Elijah Wood and Matt Damon.
Dhs55 (adults and children). Grand Megaplex, Ibn Battuta (04 366 9898).
Cheap-and-cheerful fun at Children’s City
Check out the huge Duplo-style centre on Dubai’s creekside: Children’s City is great value and lots of fun for tots with vast amounts of energy to burn. It boasts education zones that will entertain kids from tots to teens, including a discovery section, a physical science zone, a computer and communication gallery and a historical and nature area to keep the inquisitive ones occupied.
Dhs15 (adults), Dhs10 (children). Open Sat-Thu 9am-8.30pm; Fri 10am-6pm. Ongoing. Dubai Creek Park, near Garhoud Bridge, www.childrencity.ae (04 390 5100).
Head to the Sheraton Deira for the SNF family bazaar
Do something for your local community and have fun at the same time at the Special Needs Families annual bazaar. The event, which is held every year by the non-profit Special Needs Families association, raises much-needed funds for children with special needs, and boosts awareness of the cause. The funding is used to run the SNF educational centres, which provide children with an education, regardless of their financial background. Expect activities from prize raffles to face painting, food stalls and entertainment.
Free. 10am-9pm. Sheraton Deira Hotel, Al Mateena Street, www.snfgroup.com (04 334 9818).
Fish tales at Sharjah Aquarium
The Sharjah Aquarium is a fantastic complex of tanks and displays, with a huge central aquarium that kids will love. It’s all supported by computerised displays so that you can identify the fishy residents within. We particularly like the ‘water walk’, a glass-bottomed walkway that provides a brilliant view of the aquarium from above.
Dhs20 (adults); free for children. Open Mon-Thu 8am-8pm, Fri 4pm-8pm, Sat 8am-9pm. Ongoing. Sharjah Aquarium, near Al Qasba, Sharjah, www.sharjahaquarium.ae (06 528 5288).
Brunch at Mazina
We’re huge fans of the very reasonable family brunch at The Address Dubai Mall’s international restaurant. Serving cuisine to suit every palate, there’s also plenty of children’s entertainment: toddlers have their own fenced-off play area, while older kids can head for the supervised play area, where they can get their faces painted, watch a movie or play Wii. Watch out for the special themed brunches at Mazina, held every month at no extra cost.
Dhs195 (adults); Dhs95 (kids aged seven to 12); free for kids under seven. Sat 12.30pm-3.30pm. Ongoing. The Address Dubai Marina (04 888 3444).
Pony up for breakfast at Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club
Horsey families can spend the morning taking a two-hour guided tour around the stables at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club. Meet a lot of furry faces and learn how to look after the horses, then head to Epona Café for a slap-up breakfast.
Dhs195 (adults); Dhs100 (kids aged four to 12). Sat-Thu 8am-10am. Ongoing. Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, Arabian Ranches (04 361 7111).
Nurture their love of reading
at Peekaboo This popular children’s activity centre is collaborating with the Sharjah International Children’s Book Fair to offer fun literary activities laid on until November 26. Enjoy storytelling sessions and plenty of creative classes.
Dhs20-50 per hour (age dependent). Daily 10am-9pm. Until November 26. Ibn Battuta Mall (04 429 7949).
Storytelling sessions at The Old Library
There’s nothing like a well-told story to keep the little monkeys amused. These popular story sessions always get busy, so call ahead to reserve your place. Suitable for kids aged up to six, the tales are also illustrated with handy props, to make the session even more interactive.
Free. 11am-11.45am. Ongoing. The Old Library, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4777).
Get your skates on at the Hyatt Galleria
Try this newly renovated ice rink in Deira, which offers skaters the chance to spend two and a half hours on the ice for Dhs35 per session (including skate hire). After all that exercise, wind down with a sweet treat at Frosty’s Café next door.
Dhs35 per person. Open Sun and Tue 10am-12.30pm, 1pm-4.30pm, 7pm-9.30pm; Mon and Wed-Sat 10am-12.30pm, 1pm-3.30pm, 4pm-6.30pm, 7pm-9.30pm. Ongoing. Hyatt Galleria, Deira (04 209 6000).
Kids eat for free at Spur
Save your dirhams, forgo the washing up and enjoy a great family meal out at Spur at Dubai Festival City. This family-friendly restaurant, which serves a wide range of hearty South African cuisine (think steaks, onion rings and burgers) also has a small kids’ play area and more balloons, crayons and colouring pads than you could shake a pencil at. Best of all, kids eat for free.
Prices vary. Tue 6pm-10pm. Ongoing. Dubai Festival City, www.spur.ae (04 232 8866).
Try Cinnabon’s new cupcakes
Ditch the diet and head to your nearest Cinnabon Cupcake outlet to treat the family by sampling some of the new cupcakes on offer. To cash in on the growing cupcake trend, the popular Seattle bakery has launched its own brand of cakes – it would be rude not to sample one (okay, several).
Ongoing. Various locations including The Dubai Mall, www.cinnabon.com (04 339 8505).