Tour Global Village
Head to Dubai’s biggest open-air cultural fairground and exhibition for a raft of international acts, in town this month only as part of Dubai Shopping Festival. We’re promised shows including the Lion Dance and Pole Balancing. If these visual treats aren’t enough for you, the world-famous Imbayakunas and their South American melodies will be a treat for the ears. Experience the sounds of the Andes, Peru and Bolivia, delivered on traditional instruments and Spanish guitars.
Dhs10 per person; free for kids under three. Daily 4pm to midnight. Until January 31. Global Village, Emirates Road, www.globalvillage.ae (04 362 4114).
Catch a movie at the cinema
Family blockbuster Monsters Inc has been re-released in 3D ahead of the Monsters University sequel, scheduled to land in cinemas in June 2013. Meanwhile, tweens will love Life of Pi, which was adapted for screen from the award-winning book of the same name, while teens can catch Middle Earth adventure The Hobbit – it’s a bit too scary for younger nippers, but will satisfy older kids’ appetites for adventure, heroics and bloodthirsty battles.
At cinemas across Dubai.
Try great food at Nomad’s brunch
Garhoud’s newest kiddie-friendly venue, Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, has thrown open its doors (and its gorgeous landscaped gardens) for family brunchers every Friday. The extensive menu hails from almost every continent, including a knockout salad bar, elegant Chinese dishes and plenty of desserts. Kids can decorate cookies and can even feed the ducks on the ornamental lake, as well as working off their lunch on the bouncy castle while mum and dad relax and take in the views.
Dhs395 (house beverages); free for children under 12. Fri noon-4pm. Ongoing. Nomad, Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Garhoud, www.jumierah.com (04 230 8555).
Go skating at The Dubai Mall
Still feeling Christmassy? Get your skates on at Dubai Ice Rink: nothing keeps the festive feeling alive like a bit of nose-chilling frosty fun. Little ones who are a bit wobbly can rent a penguin pal for Dhs25 an hour – they can then scoot around the ice holding onto their penguin friend for support. There are also instructors on hand to give you a few tips. Afterwards you can all grab a hot chocolate to help you warm up.
Dhs55 per person for two hours, including skate hire. Open daily 10am-10pm. Ongoing. Dubai Ice Rink, The Dubai Mall, www.dubaiicerink.com (04 448 5111).
Enjoy brunch at Mazina
Sample one of the most family-friendly brunches in town at The Address Dubai Marina. Serving an enormous array of international cuisines from sushi to the full roast, there’s something for the pickiest of eaters. And don’t forget the bouncy castle, face painting, Wii and ‘play leaders’, who take care of the kids so you can sit down and enjoy a peaceful lunch.
Dh195 (adults); Dhs100 for kids aged six to 12; free for kids under six. Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Ongoing. The Address Dubai Marina, www.theaddress.com (04 436 7777).
Stake out some dinosaurs at Dino Live
Little history buffs and budding paleontologists will love this animatronic exhibition of lifelike dinosaurs. Hear the T-Rex roar and watch out for the swishing tail of the diplodocus as your tour the exhibits – there’s even a dinosaur ride to try.
Dhs50 per person; free for kids under three. Open daily 10am-10pm. Ongoing. Dubai Festival City, www.dino-live.com (055 949 5787).
Go wild at Funky Monkeys
The new Funky Monkeys play centre on Sheikh Zayed Road has plenty to keep the kids occupied. This new facility, which opened in November 2012, has a huge jungle-themed jungle gym supervised by qualified staff. Kids can run wild up the tubes and down the slides, or go batty in the ball pools, while the soft play area is suitable for toddlers. Meanwhile, parents can enjoy a hot drink and a spot of relaxation in the café, which sells kids’ snacks as well as good-quality coffee.
Dhs25 per child per hour. Open daily 10am-8pm. Ongoing. Safestway Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.funkymonkeysuae.com (04 388 4114).
Kids eat for free at Spur
Chow down every Tuesday evening from 6pm on some seriously hearty South African grub at this family-oriented restaurant in Festival City. There’s a range of steaks and burgers to tuck into, while little ones can choose from a variety of kid-sized portions for free. Better still, there’s a mini play area and more crayons, colouring sheets and balloons than you can fling a flip-flop at.
Prices vary. Tue 6pm-10pm. Ongoing. Dubai Festival City. www.spur.ae (04 232 8866).