apple seeds: Inspired by the kind of experience you’d expect in New York’s most cosmopolitan venues, this new family-friendly centre recently opened its doors in the Gold and Diamond Park. Launched by (you guessed it) two New York natives who couldn’t find any of the neighbourhood hang-outs that they so loved back home, apple seeds covers 7,500-foot of space that’s just waiting to be discovered. With replica sky scrapers, NYC taxis and iconic brownstone buildings, the indoor play area has everything to keep kids from bubs to age five occupied, including an obstacle course, lego table and even a mini-New York deli. There’s also over 40 classes each week that kids can try out for size, whether it’s art, cookery, science, ballet, ‘songs for seeds’ or gym and movement (and heaps more too). And because apple seeds is all about that ‘New York vibe’, the ultra-cool design will appeal to kids and parents alike – expect mini Pantone chairs, Magis chairs and La Corbeille tables. Very swish indeed!
Membership starts from Dhs195 per month. www.appleseedsdubai.com (04 380 6064).
Zebra Crossing: With its great location on Sheikh Zayed Road, right next door to Noor Islamic Bank Metro station, this new kids’ play area is already attracting a loyal following. There’s a large soft-play style area, complete with ball pool, trampolines, slides galore and even a mini-laser tag zone. On top of that, they’ve got more chilled-out areas for dressing up, arts and crafts, reading and a mini kitchen. There’s even a healthy cafe that overlooks the soft play area, perfect for mums to chill out, and to feed the kids once they’ve burned off all that energy, too. Upstairs, large party rooms cater to every whim, from pedicures to arts and crafts. What more could you want!
www.zebra-crossing.com (050 559 4903).
Kidz Venture: Bridging the gap between play areas and community centres, Kidz Venture opened its doors in Ibn Battuta Mall earlier this year. They have a whole programme of fun activities to sign up for, from sporty stuff to arts and crafts, but it’s the parent-friendly, one-on-one babysitting service that really impressed us. Costing Dhs60 for one hour, they’ll even try to team your child with the same carer if you’re a regular visitor, and are open during mall hours through the week. Dhs30 for one-hour regular drop in.
www.kidzventure.ae (04 361 9315).
Cheeky Monkeys: Not to be confused with the fab party organisers of the same name, this new play centre has filled a much-needed niche at the family-centric Al Barsha shopping mall. They’ve got all sorts of activities, including arts and crafts, a mini salon and general soft play zone, plus an interesting calendar of classes, including Urdu and ‘Emotion Commotion’.
Dhs45 for first hour. www.cheekymonkeys.ae (04 385 0875).