As mums, dads and kids return to the city after the summer break, we highlight the best activities and events for clans of all ages, all over town.
From bubbly brunches to epic spa days, mega beach festivals to five-star afternoon teas, there’s a whole lot of fun to be had if you’re over the age of 21 in Dubai. But what about the roughly 300,000 kids living in Dubai, the countless more visiting and the parents running around after them? Sometimes this city can feel like it’s geared more towards the young-at-heart than the plain young, but that simply isn’t so – there’s a huge choice for kids and parents (together and separately) in this city, and we’re on a mission to help you find it.
This September, we’re celebrating the first ever Time Out Dubai Kids Awards on Monday September 29, highlighting the city’s very best family-friendly institutions. To keep you going until then, we’ve pulled together some of the very best family events on the horizon and the fantastic deals you can take advantage of right now. Read on for our top picks of the next couple of months.
Time Out Dubai Kids Awards 2014
The very first Time Out Dubai Kids Awards will take place on Monday September 29 at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina. First launched in 2006 as a free supplement with Time Out Dubai, by 2008 the magazine had become available for purchase as a monthly in its own right, becoming the ultimate guide to keeping kids entertained at home and on holiday.
The event covers 19 categories, and these are: Best Online Kids Store, Best Maternity Store, Best Toy Store, Best High-Street Kids Store, Best Designer Kids Store, Best Kids Entertainment Centre, Best Kids Edutainment Venue, Best Soft Play Venue, Best Theme or Water park, Best Family Breakfast, Best Family Café, Best Family Brunch, Best Family Beach Club, Best Family Hotel, Commitment to Sport, Health and Wellbeing, Parent Blog of 2014, Time Out Kids Family Entrepreneurial Award, Best Safety/Awareness Campaign and Outstanding Contribution.
We see these awards as the parental watchdog for the city, unafraid to tell the truth however hard it is to swallow, and our independence is what makes us so different to many others in the region. Our awards have no advertiser influence, no external nominations and no public vote – simply our resident journalists and parenting experts delivering their verdict on the best Dubai has to offer for families.
For more information, visit www.timeoutdubai.com/kidsawards.
Must-see family shows
Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After
Disney on Ice will make its UAE debut on September 10 for a four-day show at Dubai World Trade Centre. Of the various versions of the show, Rockin’ Ever After, selected for Dubai, will feature stories, songs and characters from Disney films including The Little Mermaid, Tangled, Brave and Beauty and the Beast.
From Dhs175 to Dhs2,000. September 10-13. Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road. www.disneyme.com
Hi-5 House Hits Tour 2014
Hi-5 was launched in Australia in 1998, with five dynamic performers entertaining children with music, movement, problem solving and play. The show will feature Hi-5’s favourite and best-loved songs for families and kids to sing along to.
From Dhs100 to Dhs450. September 12. Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road. www.timeouttickets.com
Sesame Street Live – Elmo Makes Music
The popular children’s TV show Sesame Street will bring its characters to life at Madinat Jumeirah on September 29 to October 4. Big Bird, Abby Cadabby and Elmo will take to the stage to share their love for music with kids and families as part of Elmo Makes Music.
Dhs249. September 29-October 4. Madinat Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim. www.timeouttickets.com
The Stick Man Musical
Families can head to the Madinat Theatre on October 23 to 25 to catch The Stick Man Musical, a witty and touching tale. The show is a fun-filled adventurous story of a stick who gets taken away from his family tree and is used as a snowman’s arm, a flag pole and a cricket bat. As the adventure unfolds, he wonders if he will ever get back to his home and family.
Dhs140. October 23-25. Madinat Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim. www.timeouttickets.com
Based on the famous tale from The Arabian Nights, Aladdin is a musical story for children magically brought to life on stage by the producers of Shakespeare 4 Kidz. Aladdin tells the story of a young street urchin who is tricked by a wicked sorcerer into retrieving a mysterious oil lamp – one that contains a mystical genie. This musical is action-packed, fun-filled and ideal for children of all ages.
Dhs75. 2.30pm and 4.30pm. October 4-6. Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates. www.ductac.org
Crafts and days out
Educational turtle feeding at Madinat Jumeirah
Watch rescued and rehabilitated sea turtles enjoy their lunch and learn fun facts about the different types of species and their rehabilitation process.
Free. Wed 11am; Fri 1pm. Turtle Rehabilitation Pen, between Zheng He’s and Al Muna Restaurant, Mina A’Salam (04 366 8888).
Family Fun Day
Escape the city for the day and head to Al Tamimi Stables Family Fun Day on Friday October 17 and Saturday 18. Families can enjoy pony rides, bouncy castles, magic shows, bird shows, face painting, musical performances, equestrian shows, eco-friendly arts and crafts workshops and pot planting and pottery painting.
Dhs85 for adults and Dhs45 for kids over the age of three with family passes available for two adults and three kids at Dhs250. Free entry for children under the age of three. October 17-18. Al Tamimi Stables, Al Zubair, Sharjah (06 743 1122).
Drawing for All
If you want to spend more time with your family, you can sign them up for a drawing course suitable for all ages. The course gives you guidelines, techniques and a good basic knowledge to enable you to establish your ability to draw.
Dhs660. Ongoing four week course. Monday 9.30am-12.30pm and 5pm-8pm, Tue-Wed 9.30am-12.30pm, Saturday 3pm-6pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates. www.ductac.org
Drop in and drum
Grab the family and join in a group drumming class. Learn the basics and play your favourite songs together.
Dhs50. Monday 7.30pm-8.30pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates. www.ductac.org
MOVELAB Dance Centre
Designed for both kids and adults, beginners and professional performers, MOVELAB’s Creative Movement Labs are an avant-garde dance training for anyone interested in developing himself or herself physically and mentally, starting from the age of four.
Dhs800 for ten sessions. Wednesday 7pm-8pm, MOVELAB Dance Centre, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, www.facebook.com/movelab.dance (056 690 9255).
Get your family involved in a variety of paper crafting such as scrapbooking, creative craft and art classes. Classes vary in their level of difficulty and speciality. Each class only runs for two hours and the actual day will depend on your preference. The price is per person and is already inclusive of the materials to be used in the class.
From Dhs195 to Dhs225. Daily except Monday. Paperlane, Town Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 344 3633).
Kids’ shopping discounts
Back to school deals at Lifestyle
Spend Dhs200 or more on ‘Back to School’ items including colourful backpacks and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a cruise on the Mediterranean for a family of four.
Until September 6. Lifestyle, Oasis Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 515 4302).
Half-price bean bags at Desert River
Reward your little one’s hard work and create a comfortable oasis to inspire creativity and relaxation with colourful Fatboy beanbags for just Dhs525 instead of Dhs999.
Until September 30. Desert River, near Antiques Museum, off Street 8, Al Quoz 1 (04 323 3636).
Last chance big brand sale at Shoe Mart
Pick up kicks for kids and for yourself during this big brand sale, where selected products are offering discounts from 25 to 60 percent off.
Until September 13. Various locations including Centrepoint, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 3090).
Pampering and yoga
Princess pampering package at N.Bar
Enjoy a mummy and me spa day where little girls can enjoy a 40-minute mini mani-pedi for Dhs85 and mums can get an essential mani-pedi for just Dhs150.
Ongoing. N.Bar, various locations including Palm Strip Mall, Jumeirah 1 (04 346 1100).
Braids package at Jetset
Banish bad hair days and book a mum and me hair appointment where you can choose from a selection of braids packages, with a wash and blow-dry from Dhs40 for her, Dhs150 for you.
Ongoing. JetSet, various locations including Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard (04 330 0886).
Chocolate and chakra spa combo at Softtouch Spa
Little ones can enjoy the Chocolate Lover’s Dream, including chocolate body scrub, massage and a body mask, while you can completely relax with the Chakra Balancing Crystal Treatment involving a combination massage.
Dhs999 for both packages. Until September 30. Sofftouch Spa, Kempinski Mall of the Emirates (04 341 0000).
Mum and me yoga at Zen Yoga
Introduce your mini-me to the benefits of yoga from the outset with these fun classes, which encourage bonding and involve post natal yoga postures mixed with baby massage and baby yoga sequences. For babies six weeks to crawling.
Dhs80 per class. Thu noon. Zen Yoga, Emirates Hills (04 367 0435).
Mother and baby yoga at Flow Yoga
Adapted from classic hatha yoga postures, these Mirdif mum and baby yoga classes help the development of your little one’s spine and joints and gives them an immediate sense of well-being.
Dhs60 per class. Flow Yoga, various locations including Mirdif Garden Studio, Villa 44a, Street 38b, Mirdif (050 181 9527).
Animated movie adventure about a frog with an identity crisis. Ribbit is a frog that contradicts his species – he hates jumping, and has an aversion to water. In this sweet tale, Ribbit and his best friend go on a voyage of self-discovery in the Amazon jungle.
Out in cinemas from September 18.
The Hero of Color City
Featuring the voices of Christina Ricci and Rosie Perez, this tale chronicles the adventures of a band of colourful crayons, determined to protect their magical multi-coloured land and the imaginations of children everywhere from a terrifying monster.
Out in cinemas from September 25.
Book of Life
Zoe Saldana and Channing Tatum lend their voices to this family flick, which follows Manolo, a young man who is split between living up to the expectations of his family and following his heart’s desires. He embarks on an adventure that spans three fantasy worlds where he must face his greatest fears.
Out in cinemas from October 16.
Family sports and fitness
First drive at the Autodrome
Don’t want to let your kids get behind the wheel of your car? Then let them learn the driving basics with a qualified instructor at the Dubai Autodrome in a Chevrolet Aveo 5. Book online for a three-hour course.
Dhs400 per person. Ages 12-18, must be accompanied by an adult. Dubai Autodrome, Motor City, www.dubaiautodrome.com (04 367 8700).
Emirates American Football League
Get the whole family involved in American football this season. The EAFL offers youngsters and adults a chance to play for free all season if they take on a club role (president, secretary, treasurer, registrar or equipment manager), or volunteer for any of the game day roles on a regular and committed basis.
Email email@example.com to register. Various training sites including Dubai Sports City, www.eafl.ae (no number).
Learn to ski
Learn to slalom down the slopes at Ski Dubai and enjoy discounts on group classes. They are currently offering the ‘Alpine Package’ of four classes, and until September 30 guests will get a fifth class for free with the possibility of two more free classes if Ski Dubai instructors feel that participants still require coaching.
Alpine Package Dhs800 for 7-13 year olds, Dhs920 for 14 and over. Until September 30. Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, www.skidxb.com (04 409 4000).
Get your kids into martial arts and enjoy the benefits of this fitness centre at the same time. Kids from the age of five can learn the disciplines of wrestling and kickboxing. Members and non-members can also sign up for the Moscow Club, which offers one free Multiclub gym session, one free group training session (MMA or yoga) and a 50 percent discount on a visit to the Multiclub Signature Restaurant.
Free. 7am-10am Sun-Thu, Fri 10am-10pm. Al Shatha Tower, Dubai Media City, www.multiclub.ae (04 452 3388).
New Junior Run Club
This new running club for young athletes starts on Sunday September 21. The course teaches young runners aged nine to 12 efficient running techniques in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. The first five youngsters to register will also receive a goody bag full of sporty accessories.
Dhs850 for 12-week programme, inclusive of entry into two 4km races and a Reebok-branded training/racing t-shirt. Sun, Tue, Wed 4.30pm. Al Barsha Pond Park, Al Barsha 2, www.urbanenergyfitness.com.
Eating out with kids
Head to this wellness and ayurveda influenced café after 5pm for a free treat for your children. When you order an adult main course, you’ll get a complimentary children’s meal too.
Prices vary. Daily 5pm-11pm. Ongoing. Oasis Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 384 7010).
Time Out Dubai’s winner for best family dining venue has keeping both adults and kids happy at the heart of its concept. Now, adult diners can take their children to BookMunch on Saturdays, and while you enjoy your lunch, the children will be engaged with a story reading time session and other fun activities.
Free to attend. Sat from noon. Ongoing. Al Wasl Square (04 388 4006).
The newly refurbished café has just introduced a designated kids’ corner. Here you can let the children draw and play with toys in a supervised area while you enjoy your meal.
Al Manara, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 336 8056).
Creekside Japanese Restaurant
This brand new Friday brunch launch offers a family-friendly twist. While adults enjoy a selection of sushi, sashimi, noodles, teppanyaki, dim sum and more, children under six can eat for free and kids of all ages can enjoy the play area, which offers films, colouring books, popcorn and ice cream.
Dhs209 (soft drinks). Dhs249 (house beverages). Dhs70 (children aged six to 12). Free for children under six. Friday noon-4pm. Ongoing. Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers (04 207 1750).
British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Dubai outpost is pretty family orientated at the best of times, promising a child-friendly service team, kids’ menus and activities such as colouring sheets. And from now until the end of October, diners can claim a free meal for their children when quoting the code ‘JI/KEF’.
Prices vary. Sun-Thu noon-midnight. Until October 31. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 380 8890).
Jones the Grocer
At each of the UAE-based branches of this gourmet grocery-store meets café, children can eat for free. If two adults order main courses, at any time of day, then an accompanying child under twelve can eat for free.
Al Manara, Sheikh Zayad Road (04 346 6886). Other location: Al Safa, Etihad Travel Mall, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 388 1038).
The Saturday brunch at Mazina is something of an institution for family-friendly brunching in Dubai. Activities on offer for the little ones include Wii stations, face painting and even a bouncy castle.
Dhs280 (soft drinks). Dhs395 (house beverages). Sat 12.30pm-3.30pm. Ongoing. The Address Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).
At the Gold & Diamond Park branch of this popular Dutch café, children can take part in complimentary cooking classes, which take place as an added extra when paying for the kids’ brunch on the weekend.
Dhs55 per child (brunch and cooking class). Fri and Sat 11am-4pm. Ongoing. Gold & Diamond Park, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 323 4350).
Reform Social & Grill
This British gastro pub has got family-friendly dining sown up. Treat the kids to a special deal, which allows them one main course from a kids’ menu choice that includes fish fingers or child-sized roast dinners, and they can enjoy a complimentary treat from the ice cream parlour too. The restaurant also boasts a garden and shaded playground area, so the little ones can keep themselves busy after eating as well.
Dhs55 per child. Daily 10am-10pm. Ongoing. The Lakes, Emirates Hills (04 454 2638).
The grandiose looking steakhouse offers a free meal to little ones (when dining early). Two children under twelve per adult can tuck in to specials from the dedicated kids menu, which includes child-sized steaks and burgers.
Prices vary. Daily 5pm-7pm. Ongoing. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).