Witness some local culture at the camel racetrack
Take the kids out for an excursion with a difference at the camel racetrack, on Al Ain Road past Dubai Outlet Mall (take the right hand exit to Al Lisali and the track is on your right). Here they can witness up to 70 sleek racing camels at a time (some carrying robot jockeys) as they pound around the 10km track. Get up with the larks to catch the early-morning races, which kick off at 7.30am. Or you can wander down there after lunch for the 2.30pm sessions.
Free. Various days, 7.30am and 2.30pm (call to confirm race days). Ongoing. Al Lisali, Al Ain Road (04 338 8170).
Enjoy the fresh air at Mushrif Park
The weather couldn’t be more perfect, so pack those bikes in the car and motor over to Mushrif Park, where the 2.5km cycle track through the nature reserve will help blow away all those New Year cobwebs. You can also have a go on the pony or camel rides, or check out the miniature model village.
Dhs10 per car, Dhs3 per person. Open daily 8am-10pm (Wednesdays are for women and children only). Ongoing. Al Awir Road (04 288 3624).
Get hands-on at Sharjah’s Discovery Centre
The kids will love this huge indoor play area, filled with seven different learning zones packed full of hands-on activities. If you’re after action and entertainment, you’ll enter a colourful arena exploring the dynamics of water, the five senses, the art of travel and the mechanisms of building. You can also become a star on TV, climb the wall and shop ’til you drop in the kids’ supermarket. There’s even a café where mums and dads can relax over a coffee while the kids go wild. Dhs10 (adults) Dhs5 (children), free for kids under three. Open Sun-Thu 8am-2pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-8pm. Ongoing.
Al Dhaid Road, Sharjah, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 558 6577).
Join a makaton workshop at KidsFirst
Learn the basics of makaton, the unique signs-and-symbols language that can support the speech of kids with learning difficulties, as well as being used by schools to help children develop their communications skills. KidsFirst is holding a four-week course for parents and carers from today.
Dhs875 per adult for a four-week course. Sat 9am-12.30pm. Until February 11. KidsFirst, Al Wasl Road, www.parentingdubai.com (04 348 5437).
Enjoy a stable tour at Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club
Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a working stable? Let the tour guide show you the superb facilities at Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club and watch in awe as the horses train each morning, as you
learn more about looking after and feeding these majestic animals. Finish the morning with a relaxing breakfast in Epona Lounge overlooking the riding arena.
Dhs100 (children), Dhs195 (adults) for a two-hour tour. Ongoing. Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, Arabian Ranches, www.poloclubdubai.com (04 361 8111).
Read all about it at a storytelling session
Head to The Old Library at Ductac for a pre-school story session. Free to library members, places are limited to a maximum of 20 per session, so call ahead to reserve yours. Free for library members; annual membership Dhs150.
Sun 10.30am-11.15am. Ongoing. The Old Library, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, www.ductac.org (04 341 4777 ext 207).
Go wild for art at Al Ain Zoo
Don’t miss the huge art tent that’s hosted by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation. It will be running art workshops for kids aged four to 15 from today until February, to encourage kidsto develop an artistic link with the natural world.
Free for zoo ticketholders. Mon-Thu 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm; Fri-Sat 11am-7pm (visit the website for ongoing schedule). Until February 29. Al Ain Zoo, www.awpr.ae (03 782 8188).
Have a mum-and-daughter day out
Why not pamper your princess at the Tickles and Giggles spa and salon at Jumeirah Beach Residence? Take your pick from the list of pampering treatments, including a mani-pedi, facial or a chic new hairdo. The spa also offers special activities such as baby yoga and etiquette classes.
Prices vary according to treatment. Open daily 10am-9pm. Sadaf 1, plaza level, JBR, www.ticklesandgiggles.com (800 82634).
Get ready for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Tickets for this year’s festival, which takes place on March 6-10, go on sale today. There’s a fantastic, family-friendly line-up this year: food guru Annabel Karmel will be giving advice, Jacqueline Wilson (the creator of Tracy Beaker) will be presenting her latest book, Willie Harcourt-Cooze will be talking chocolate, and Emirati author Maitha Al-Khayat (author of I Love My Dad’s Long Beard) will be talking culture and customs. There’s so much more, including a special Time Out Kids zone. Not to be missed.
Ticket prices vary. March 6-10. Various locations including Al Mamzar & InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, www.eaifl.com (04 353 4002).
Pat a pet at Posh Paws Animal Sanctuary & Petting Farm
Nearly all the furry and feathered residents at this desert sanctuary are donated, unwanted or rescued. The non-profit organisation, run by a team of volunteers and animal lovers, also relies on donations, so although there is no entrance fee, a donation is always appreciated. Children can feed, hold and pet various animals while learning some fun facts about each one and how to care for the animals correctly. Residents currently include a sloth, porcupines, cockatoos, ponies, deer, llamas, guinea pigs, rabbits, kinkajou, ferrets, goats, cows, flamingoes, baboons, ducks and many more.
Free (donations welcome). Open daily 9am-6pm daily. E88 near Al Dhaid, www.poshpawsdubai.com (050 273 0973).