Head to Bowling City
This fun ten-pin-bowling venue features 12 lanes, and kids as young as four are welcome to play: practice lanes with buffers are available to help them boost their confidence and skill.
From Dhs10 per person per game. Open Sat-Thu 10am-midnight, Fri 10am-1am. Ongoing. Festival Centre, Dubai Festival City, www.dubaifestivalcity.com (04 232 8600).
A treat for Twi-hards
The perfect end-of-week treat for teens (and mums), stock up on popcorn and get your tickets for the final instalment of the Twilight saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two. Tween heartthrob vampire Edward and his wife Bella are facing their toughest challenge yet. When Bella nearly died giving birth to their daughter, Renesmee, Edward opted to turn her into a vampire to save her life – but the rest of the vampire community are convinced Renesmee is evil and must be destroyed.
At cinemas across Dubai.
Editor’s pick Full-moon drumming in the desert
Head out to the desert with the kids for a fun-filled evening of African drumming in the desert with the full moon to light your way. The fun starts at 6pm with a brief drive over the dunes to the desert encampment, where you can fill your boots from the barbecue and kids can exhaust themselves by running up and down the sand dunes. Of course, there’s the percussive entertainment too – everyone gets to have a bash on the drums. The fun continues until midnight.
Dhs200 (adults), Dhs100 (children aged six to 13), free for kids under six. From 6.30pm. Gulf Ventures Al Awir Desert Camp, www.dubaidrums.com (no number).
Kick back and enjoy the Rugby Sevens finals
If you’re a family of sports fans, or if you just want to experience one of the most exciting sporting events on Dubai’s annual calendar, this is the place for you. The Dubai Rugby Sevens boasts one of the best atmospheres in town, and the families’ section, with heaps of activities laid on for kids, will keep them happy all day. This year the Air BP children’s stand and the main kids’ area are bigger than ever, with bouncy castles, and inflatables, as well as face painting and temporary tattoo artists. It’s a great way to introduce your kids to the world of competitive sports.
Dhs240 (adults); free for kids under 12. From 10am. The Sevens, Dubai-Al Ain Road, www.dubairugby7s.com (no number).
Enjoy the National Day celebrations at Ductac…
This year marks the 41st anniversary of the formation of the UAE, and the party atmosphere is likely to be evident in most public spaces. Learn a little more about the formation of the UAE by taking the family to Ductac, at Mall of the Emirates, for a raft of National Day-inspired performances. There’s a National Day concert, a special Freej folklore family screening, poetry readings and a documentary screening.
Dhs150-175. From 8pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, www.ductac.org (04 341 4777)
…and watch the parade at Downtown Dubai
The National Day parade in Downtown looks set to delight little ones and grown-ups alike. Held on Emaar Boulevard, look out for floats, acrobats, performers, heritage displays, horses, camels and lots of festival music. Make sure you join in the fun by picking up a few UAE flags to wave – or some stickers to decorate your car. Failing that, a spot of face painting in the national colours will do fine.
Free. From 11am; parade starts 3pm. Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaicalendar.ae (no number).
Feeding time at Dubai Aquarium
Pop along to Dubai Mall’s Underwater Zoo and witness all sorts of gourmet shenanigans as the slippery residents enjoy their meals. The feeding time presentations happen every two hours from 10am to 10pm, and provide the perfect opportunity to teach little ones a bit of marine biology. The shark feeding time is a big favourite and happens every day at 4pm. You can also take a trip on the glass-bottomed boat and actually feed the fish yourself.
Dhs50-100 per person. Open daily 10am-10pm. Ongoing. Dubai Aquarium, The Dubai Mall, www.thedubaiaquarium.com (04 448 5200).
Try the Brain Gym at Safa Park
Get their grey matter working at the outdoor Brain Gym classes at Safa Park, every afternoon. Run by Anja Hamouda of ABCDE Games, the sessions aim to get children thinking, working together and exercising those left- and right-hand cortexes too.
Dhs60 per session. Daily 4pm-5pm. Safa Park, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah (050 550 2632).