Head to Bowling City at Dubai Festival City
Featuring 12 lanes, kids as young as four are welcome to play –practice lanes with buffers are available to help them boost their confidence and skill. There are no bowling coaches though.
Thu-Sat Dhs20 per person per game. Sun-Wed 10am-4pm Dhs10 per person per game; 4pm-midnight Dhs15 per person per game. Open Sat-Thu 10am-midnight, Fri 10am-1am. Festival Centre, Dubai Festival City, www.dubaifestivalcity.com (04 232 8600).
Party at Build-a-Bear
Workshop with Papa Smurf Pop into any of the city’s Build-a-Bear Workshops this afternoon and, as long as you’re wearing blue, you can join in with the Smurfs party deal for Dhs90 per child. The session offers Smurf fans the chance to stuff and dress their favourite Smurf character from the limited-edition selection. Rumour has it that Papa Smurf will be paying the workshop party a visit too. Reserve your place in advance to avoid disappointment.
Dhs90 per child. 3pm-4.30pm. Today only. Dubai Marina Mall (04 399 7984), Dubai Festival City (04 232 8099), www.buildabear.ae.
Catch a family movie under the stars
A huge floating screen is showing family films every Thursday night at Dubai Festival City Promenade. Cartoons are the order of the day, although film titles are not specified in advance – you’ll just need to turn up on the night. Seating is provided.
Free. Thu 7pm-11pm. Ongoing. Dubai Festival City Marina Promenade, www.dubaifestivalcity.com (no number).
Scale the Sky Trail at Playnation
Kids with heaps of energy will love this daring climbing activity, suspended nine metres in the air above Magic Planet. Using a series of ropes and rope ladders, they have to make their way around the trail, which has various challenges to overcome. Once you’ve tackled that, how about a spot of climbing on the specially designed wall?
Dhs70 (Sky Trail); Dhs50 (climbing wall); Dhs100 (both). Open daily 10am-midnight. Playnation, Mirdif City Centre, www.theplaymania.com (no number).
Cool off at Cine-Splash
Watch a movie under the stars and in the pool at Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club’s Cine-Splash session. Tonight’s line-up is Flushed Away at 7pm, followed by high-velocity action in Transformers at 9pm. Food stations serving hot dogs, popcorn, nuggets and the like are also on hand to feed hungry film buffs.
Dhs25-40 per person. Thu-Fri 7pm-11pm. Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, Arabian Ranches, www.dubaipoloclub.com (04 361 8111).
Have brunch at Mazina
Enjoy a fabulous array of international cuisine and great food for the kids, which is served to your table in the form of freshly-made fish and chicken goujons, sweet potato chips and real onion rings. Better still there’s heaps of entertainment laid on to keep kids occupied, including a large bouncy castle, face painting, movies, games and a Nintendo Wii.
Dhs100-195 (free for kids under six). Sat 12.30-3.30pm. Mazina, The Address Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).
Head to the Ripe kids’ market
Stock up on a wide range of locally grown, organic fresh fruit and veggies at Dubai Garden Centre today, while the kids enjoy an arts-and-crafts session laid on for free by the Ripe organisers.
Free. Sat 9am-1pm. Ongoing. Dubai Garden Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.ripeme.com (04 340 4440).
Arabian Wildlife Centre
Situated just off Al Dhaid Road, the Arabian Wildlife Centre is a fantastic indoor facility located in the middle of the animal enclosures. Observation windows mean you can get up close to the big cats, oryx, gazelles, ostriches and more. Once you’ve looked at the animals, pop along to the petting farm next door to make friends with camels, ponies, cows, sheep and donkeys.
Dhs15 per person; free for kids under 12. Open Sun-Thu 9am-5.30pm (closed Tue), Fri 2pm-5.30pm, Sat 11am-5.30pm. Ongoing. www.breedingcentresharjah.com (06 531 1999).
Cinema morning for mums
Treat yourself to a blockbuster movie while the kids are at school or nursery. For Dhs60, mums get a well-earned coffee and a muffin, plus at 20 percent discount voucher for either The Spa or Mazina at The Address Dubai Marina. It’s the perfect way to wind down after the weekend.
Dhs60. Mon from 11am. Reel Cinemas, Dubai Marina Mall, www.reelcinemas.ae (04 449 1903).
Hands-on play at the Sharjah Discovery Centre
A great morning out for the whole family, the centre has seven themed interactive play areas that include water, travel, building, a children’s supermarket and even becoming a star on TV. There’s a coffee shop too, so flaked-out parents can let the little ones run wild while they enjoy a decent coffee.
Dhs5-10. Open Sun-Thu 8am-2pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-8pm. Sharjah Discovery Centre, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 558 6577).