Knock down those pins at Yalla Bowling in Mirdif City Centre. (Playnation, www.theplaymania.com, 800-FUN). If you go after school on a weekday, it will cost Dhs20 per child (don’t forget some socks, as these cost Dhs5 extra!). After burning off some energy making all those strikes, re-fuel with a (slightly) healthier fast food option at New York Fries over in the mall’s food court (04 284 0144). Topped with tasty chili, or choices such as butter chicken, sour cream and crispy beef bacon, their potatoes are cooked in hydrogenated vegetable oil, with no trans-fats or cholesterol (Dhs15 each for three small servings).
Start off by packing your own picnic (approx. Dhs30 for water, hummous, baguette, cheese, beef salami, and sliced veggies for dipping), then pile into the car to head to Mushrif Park on the outskirts of Mirdif (Al Khawaneej Road, 04 288 3624). As Dubai’s oldest and largest park, it costs just Dhs10 per car and there’s heaps for kids to see and do, including acres of ghaf forest to run around in, a petting zoo, mini train, bike tracks and even a miniature village (perfect for stomping around like a giant). You can also cool down in one of the swimming pools (Dhs10 adults, Dhs5 children) – but be aware that they are segregated.
Fun City’s Lou Lou Al Dugongs at Lamcy Plaza (www.funcity.ae, 04 335 2700) is a cheap and cheerful option for a playdate with younger kids. The Dhs40 entry fee means they can stay for the full day, and there’s all manner of fun activities for them to try, including soft play, a mini super-market, dressing up, face painting, a library and puppet show and kid-friendly rides. There’s also a fab coffee shop inside the play area (which is hugely popular for mums, as you can relax while they play safely nearby). Grab yourself a coffee for just Dhs8, then two fruit juices for the kids, which are Dhs3 each.