Dubai Shopping Festival is an excellent time to stock up on toys. Whether you are buying for your kids or trying to make your own pocket money stretch further there are bargains to be had.
Time Out selects 10 of the best toy shops in Dubai.
B Avenue: An ultra-girly pink store, which used to be solely dedicated to Barbie, but now incorporates brands such as Disney and Bratz. One half of the shop is still all about Barbie, with a range so extensive it would drive most enthusiasts into a frenzy. The Bratz dolls and additional Action Man, Lego and Disney merchandise, including Winnie the Pooh toys, is pleasing enough to placate any non- Barbie fanatics.
B Avenue 04 349 3490 Mercato Mall. Open Sat-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri 2pm-10pm.
Early Learning Centre: With a focus on educational play, the wholesome Early Learning Centre is the perfect place to stock up on ‘sensible’ toys. Aimed at the under fives, the ELC has a range of items that will stimulate imagination and develop your child’s key skills.
Early Learning Centre 04 359 7709 BurJuman Centre. Open Sat-Thu 10am-11pm; Fri 2pm-10pm. Other locations: Al Ghurair City 04 228 1873; Deira City Centre 04 295 1548; Mercato Mall 04 344 8463; Souk Madinat Jumeirah 04 368 6519; Spinneys Umm Suqeim 04 394 1204; Wafi City 04 324 0230/2730.
Geekay: Remember loading your cyan and magenta-coloured game and having a frustrating 10-minute wait accompanied by a shrill cacophony of annoying electrical noise? Well today’s techno-tot has a variety of gaming platforms with which to facilitate their transformation into an overweight, attention-deficient troublemaker. This little store, located just outside the far left end of Carrefour, has all the latest in virtual fun, including the Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. You’ll also find joysticks, steering wheels and kiddie karaoke kits.
Geekay, 04 295 2140 City Centre. Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Other location: Mall of the Emirates 04 340 7755.
Hamleys: Visiting this iconic British store is an experience in itself, with more than 100,000 toys, gifts and gadgets spread over a whopping 32,000 square feet. Much-loved brands find shelf space alongside beautifully crafted wooden toys and quirky treasures. All products bear the Hamleys stamp of creativity, fun, quality and safety as well as educational play value.
Hamleys 04 339 8889; www.hamleys.com. Dubai Mall, 2nd level, near the ice rink. Open daily 10am-midnight.
Happy Kidz:Happy Kidz has a variety of toys for babies, young boys and girls, as well as furniture and outdoor playgrounds. Busy boys will love their remote control cranes and trucks, while girly girls are amply catered for with their large Barbie selection. There are also coloured, wooden toys suitable for both genders.
Happy Kidz 04 883 2883; www.simba-dickie.com. Near roundabout eight, Jebel Ali Free Zone. Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight.
Hobby Centre:It’s not really a tough choice: you can either go to a department store to buy a bogstandard remote-controlled car or you can go to the Hobby Centre in Deira and choose from an r/c tank, jet ski or F1 beast. The best shop in the city for all your miniature motoring needs, it caters for budding petrol heads of all ages.
Hobby Centre 04 295 5512 Airport Road, Deira. Open daily 9am-1.30pm; 4.30pm-9pm.
Imaginarium:Unlike most children’s shops, Imaginarium treats its clientele as equals. The best example of this is the entrance, which has one lilac door for adults and a mini entrance next to it for the kids. Inside, the shop peddles expensive educational own-brand toys like microscopes, DIY benches and kids’ gardening sets. But it’s not adverse to the odd frivolous toy either, like its excellent stand-up pinball machine.
Imaginarium 04 324 8055 Wafi City. Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight.
The Toy Store:Taking full advantage of its location near Ski Dubai, this toy store has devoted its ground floor space to the animals of the Arctic. Upstairs you’ll be amazed at the range of toys, from Power Rangers and Transformers to Barbie and Bratz, plus trampolines and sports equipment.
The Toy Store 04 341 2472 Mall of the Emirates. Open Sat-Tue 10am-11pm; Wed-Thu 10am-midnight; Fri 2pmmidnight.
Toys R Us:The flagship Festival City store simply dwarfs the competition. The huge warehouse stocks an unrivalled range of toys, games, sporting goods, electronics, software, baby products, children’s apparel and juvenile furniture all under one roof. Split into sections, there’s a huge Babies R Us store, a very pink girls’ area dominated by Bratz and Barbie, an educational toys area, a boys’ section stuffed with robots and plastic guns, and a great outdoor area packed with trampolines, bikes and the like. If you’re struggling to get hold of a specific toy in Dubai, you’ll probably find it here.
Toys R Us 04 206 6564 Dubai Festival City. Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Credit Amex, MC, V. Other locations: Times Square Centre Mall; Sheikh Zayed Road 04 3418383; Al Futtaim Centre, Salahuddin Road, Deira 04 224 0000.
Wizz: This quirky chain stocks gadgets and gizmos galore, and its costumes, games and magic sets make it a great place to buy fun presents for big kids as well as youngsters.
Wizz 04 341 1592 Mall of the Emirates. Open daily 9am-midnight. Other locations: Dubai Festival City 04 232 3044; Deira City Centre 04 295 7476; Ibn Battuta 04 338 4646; Souk Madinat 04 295 6942; Dubai International Airport 04 224 5004