Family fun in Dubai: Jan 23-29

Dubai fun run, circus workshop, dim sum at Ping Pong and more

Wednesday 23

Get your tickets for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Tickets for the fifth Dubai litfest are officially on sale, giving you the chance to meet top kids’ authors including Debi Gliori and Korky Paul, as well as grown-up writers such as Lynda La Plante, Jeffrey Archer and Willie Harcourt-Cooze. The five-day festival, from Tuesday March 5, includes plenty of activities for kids (check out the Time Out Kids zone, where all activities are free), as well as author workshops and talks.
Prices and timings vary. March 5-9. InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. Tickets available at Kinokuniya and at (04 353 4002).

Thursday 24

Snowflake the White Gorilla
Head to the movies after school, stock up on popcorn and enjoy the heart-warming CGI story of Snowflake – the only white gorilla in the world. He’s the zoo’s main attraction and children love him, but the other gorillas don’t see what’s so charming about him being the centre of attention. With the help of Ailur, a Buddhist black panther reincarnated into the body of a red panda, and Paula, a smart little girl, Snowflake plans a sneak visit to the witch at the circus. Can she help him become a normal gorilla?
At cinemas across Dubai.

Friday 25

Get your trainers on for the Dubai Marathon Fun Run
The annual Standard Chartered 3k Fun Run takes place in Downtown Dubai, from Executive Towers to The Dubai Mall. All ages are welcome, and the event enjoys a festival atmosphere as runners don fancy dress to raise cash for charity. You don’t have to be too fit to join in, or get up too early – the run starts at 10.30am.
Dhs55 per runner. From 10.30am. Downtown Dubai, (no number).

Full-moon drumming
Get your dose of primal pounding at the Dubai Drums desert encampment under the light of a full moon. The family-friendly event is suitable for all ages: expect an evening of rhythmical fun under the stars, with a barbecue included in the package.
Dhs200 (adults), Dhs100 (kids aged six to 13), free for kids under six. 6.30pm-midnight. Gulf Ventures Desert Camp, (04 347 4790).

Dubai Shopping Festival circus workshop
Learn a trick or five from the big top at this circus workshop, held as part of Dubai Comedy Carnival and the Dubai Shopping Festival celebrations. Little ones can learn how to juggle, spin plates, do acrobatic tricks and perform magic.
Dhs400. 10am-noon. Until January 26. Dubai Festival City, (no number).

Saturday 26

Enjoy brunch at Mazina
Enjoy one of the most family-friendly brunches in town. Serving a range of international cuisines from sushi to roast dinners, there’s something here for the pickiest of eaters. Kids will love the bouncy castle, face painting and Wii games, with dedicated child carers on hand to keep an eye on them while you enjoy your food.
Dhs195 (adults), Dhs100 for kids aged six to 12; free for kids under six. 12.30pm-3.30pm. Ongoing. The Address Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).

Makaton workshop for parents
Learn the basics of makaton – a novel method of communication – at this new beginners’ workshop, which finishes on February 2. Makaton is great for encouraging language development in young children, and is most often used to help people with learning difficulties to establish better communication.
Dhs1,000 for a two-day course. 9am-4pm. Also on February 2. KidsFIRST Medical Centre, Al Wasl Road. (050 774 0734).

Sunday 27

Discount dim sum at Ping Pong
The dim sum venue is running an all-day Sunday meal deal in which a selection of baskets cost just Dhs15 each, and selected drinks cost Dhs10. The discount menu changes every two weeks, so keep an eye on the website. Guests can also play a selection of cool family games, including Monopoly, Cluedo, Scrabble and Pictureka.
Prices vary. Sun 10am-midnight. Ping Pong, The Dubai Mall (800 7464 7664).

Monday 28

A fun day out at Fun City
Take the little monsters for a session at Fun City’s Lou Lou Al Dugongs – an edutainment centre featuring water play, sand play, a jungle gym, soft play, a mini supermarket, library and free kids’ cooking classes
laid on every hour. It’s brilliant value for parents who want their kids entertained all afternoon – and there’s a sanity-saving café where mum and dad can relax for the day. Suitable for children aged two to ten.
Dhs40 per child for all-day play. Open daily 10am-10.30pm. Ongoing. Fun City, Lamcy Plaza, Oud Metha, (04 335 2700).

Tuesday 29

Have a fun-filled play date at Caboodle
Every Tuesday afternoon, Caboodle and Mamavents bring kids and parents together for organised sessions that include a two-hour slot in the play area plus entry for one parent and two kids. Coffee is included for adults.
Dhs70. Tue 3pm-5pm. Ongoing. Caboodle Pamper and Play, The Dubai Mall, (04 325 3367).

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