Discover in Sharjah
Check out the Sharjah Discovery Centre (www.sharjahmuseums.ae, 06 559 6577). This huge indoor playspace is packed with fun activities for the kids, including a driving track, and is laid out in educational zones, so that children can pick an activity, learn through play, and then move onto the next section. Themes include science and technology, building and construction, the dynamics of water and the five human senses. There’s even a climbing wall for especially active sprogs. Grown-ups have to pay to get in (Dhs10 each) but kids aged three to 17 years cost just Dhs5 a head. There’s a café onsite. It serves simple grub and snacks (think the usual nugget stuff (Dhs12 for a kid’s meal) and sarnies (Dhs6 each). You can get coffee and tea too (Dhs5-12). But just be aware of the quirky opening hours. 8am-2pm Sat to Thurs and 4-8pm
Jumeirah Public Beach
Head to the Jumeirah Public Beach. There are plenty of hidden bays behind the Beach Road villas. Simply explore the many side streets until you find one that has near-sand parking. We think the main beach area up by the Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa has a lot to offer. There are playground facilities, loos and showers, a cycling track and running track, so dad can jog along while the kids enjoy their scooters and bikes etc. An alternative blading/cycling area is the pier. Mum and dad can take a gentle stroll or take some games counters and enjoy a game of drafts on the tables at the end of the pier. Then head to The Chalet (04 348 7557) around a kilometre from Jumeirah Beach Hotel. A family of four can chow down on a whole grilled chicken, Arabic bread and hummus (Dhs45) and drinks (Dhs4 per small bottle of water) for a fabulously tasty wallet-friendly meal.
One of our very favourite municipal parks, Creek Park is only Dhs5 per person and tots under three go free. Once you’re inside, the well maintained a play areas are clean and numerous. Kids can take their bikes in and enjoy the many winding paths and cycle areas. Creek Park is ideal for picnickers, with lots of shady areas to spread out a blanket as well as barbecue spots. And should the nippers wish for some extra perks, there’s the cable car ride (Dhs25 per person) which takes 30 minutes and offers amazing views of the Creek and some city landmarks, and the miniature train (Dhs5 per person) which will take you on a circuit of the park If you haven’t packed a picnic don’t panic. Good old Malik Burger serves up kids meals (nuggets or burgers with fries, a drink and a toy) for just Dhs12 per sprog, while grown-ups can grab a cup of tea for Dhs3 or a meal for Dhs15.