Have a barbecue on a doughnut
If you’re looking for a family meal out with a difference, don’t miss the ‘BBQ Donuts’ on offer at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s Boardwalk – they bring a whole new meaning to ‘surf and turf’. Suitable for up to eight people, these doughnut-shaped vessels come complete with a barbecue on board, so you can float around the creek as you cook up a storm. Choose from one of the set menus –you can also have a captain steer for you, and can even choose an onboard chef.
Set menus from Dhs1,600 for six people; afternoon tea Dhs900 for six. Ongoing. The Boardwalk, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira, www.dubaigolf.com (04 295 6000).
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 park’s nature reserve will help blow away the cobwebs. You can also try the pony or camel rides, or check out the miniature model village.
Dhs10 per car. Open daily 8am-10pm (Wednesdays women and children only). Ongoing. Al Awir Road, Mirdif (04 288 3624).
Don’t miss the marvellous mayhem at Dubai Pet Show
Last year more than 30,000 visitors walked through the gates, and they’re expecting even more for 2012. It’s not surprising that this is one of the most fun-filled family events of the year, whether you have a pet or not. Expect dog shows for all types of pooches, plus fancy dress, expert advice, entertainment, food and drinks, plus more activities than you can wag a tail at.
Free entry for spectators. From 8am. The Sevens stadium, Dubai-Al Ain Road, www.dubaipetshow.com (no number).
Get ready for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Tickets for this year’s festival, which takes place between March 6 and 10, are on sale now. There’s a fantastic, family-friendly line-up: 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. Tickets on sale from today, the festival takes place March 6-10. Al Mamzar & InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, www.eaifl.com (04 353 4002).
Take the family on a day trip to Al Ain
Two of the emirate’s top attractions, Al Ain Zoo and Hili Fun City, have joined forces to offer a special ‘combo ticket’ for fantastic discounts when you visit both venues. As well as mixing the thrills and spills of the high-adrenaline rides at Hili Fun City, and the jaw-dropping array of exotic wildlife on show at the zoo, visitors can also take advantage of the zoo’s shuttle service to ferry them between the two locations.
Combo tickets Dhs70 (adults), Dhs40 (children). Al Ain Zoo, open daily 9am-8pm, www.awpr.ae (03 782 8188). Hili Fun City, open Mon-Thu 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat noon-10pm (closed Sundays; ladies only Wednesdays). Al Ain, www.hilifuncity.ae (03 784 5542).
Bag a bargain at Dubai Flea Market
The famous flea market strikes again today at Safa Park, offering a great family morning out. It’s perfect for a rummage, with stalls selling everything from second-hand kids’ clothes to random knick-knacks – after all, they do say that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Be prepared to get there early to nab the top buys, although the best discounts are often to be had during the last half hour, when stallholders knock down their prices to get rid of remaining goods.
Dhs3 for park entry. 8am-3pm. Safa Park, gate 5, Jumeirah, www.dubai-fleamarket.com (055 452 6030).
It’s the last chance to make the most of all of those savings (not to mention the fireworks displays at Festival City), because Dubai Shopping Festival ends today. Don’t miss the final fireworks display at 8pm tonight – the best seat in the house is on Al Seef Street in Bur Dubai.
Until February 5. www.mydsf.ae.
Get hands-on at Sharjah’s Discovery Centre
The kids will love this huge indoor play area that’s filled with seven different learning zones, packed full of hands-on activities and plenty of fun for all ages. 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 parents can relax with a coffee.
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).
Go wild after dark
If you want to get up close to some exotic creatures, check out the new night safaris that are being held at The Dubai Mall’s underwater zoo. Strap on your headlamp and follow the jungle guides to see how rainforest animals – from carpet pythons to Chinese water dragons – live at night.
Dhs50 (included in regular entry ticket price to the aquarium). Daily 10am-midnight. Until February 29. Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, The Dubai Mall, www.thedubaiaquarium.com (04 448 5200).
Support a charity for furry friends
The latest Dubai Animal Rescue Centre (DARC) calendar is now on sale, with all proceeds supporting the work that’s going on at the centre. DARC looks after nearly 250 lost, abandoned and injured animals, including exotics, birds, tortoises, equine, rodents and many more. The calendars are also available at the DARC office in Barsha.
Dhs35, available from Choithrams, The Green Community and Umm Suqeim, www.facebook.com/darcuae (050 858 7844).