We know it’s all too easy to get stressed out during the summer months. With the threat of boredom always lurking around the corner, it’s hard not to end up feeling the heat from restless little ones eager for something new to do during their long break from the classroom routine. But never fret, fear or feel frazzled, the holiday season offers up a great chance to enjoy some precious family time and, luckily for us, we live in a city that’s jam-packed with activities and attractions that will appeal to all of the kids in your brood (big and small).
Whether you want to make a splash at the water park, learn about the planet at an indoor rainforest or even hit the open road to check out the excellent attractions in another emirate, you won’t be short of things to do while school is out. So take a load off and let us help you to create your very own sizzling summer schedule that is sure to keep the whole family enthralled.
Get active Adventure HQ
Youngsters with a real sense of adventure can take fun to fresh heights at this massive indoor attraction. Get the adrenaline pumping by clambering up the nine metre-high climbing pinnacle, made to resemble a real rock face, or try out the cable climb course before tackling one of a dozen themed climbing walls, featuring an array of dazzling designs such as a fireman’s wall, two techno walls and a dinosaur skeleton and a castle façade. With a zip line, skate park and a caving zone to dive into, this action-packed spot is a hub of thrilling activity.
From Dhs65 (30 minute session), Dhs250 (all-day pass). Various locations, including: Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Times Square Center, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 346 6909).
Aventura Nature Adventure Park
Swing on by to unleash your inner Indiana Jones or leap from tree-to-tree like a modern-day Tarzan. Aventura Nature Adventure Park – which is set in a vast 35,000-square metre forest in the heart of Mushrif Park – is helping to nurture a life-long love of nature that spans the generations. The fun-packed park offers more than 80 exhilarating challenges across five different levels off the ground and between the trees to cater for thrill-seekers of all ages, from zip-lining and wall climbing, through to thrilling tree top surfing and exciting rope
Dhs150 (general access), Dhs125 (kids under 1.35 metres). Open daily 9.30am-6pm. Mushrif Park, Mirdif (052 178 7616).
Energetic kids will be jumping for joy if you take them for a visit here. The ever-popular venue in Al Quoz mixes plenty of fun with fitness for all ages. The free-jumping space is a great place to try out some tricks, soaring as high as you can with a soft landing assured. There’s also the dodgeball pit, the slam dunk (a blend of trampolining and basketball that’s every bit as cool as it sounds), plus a chance to run up walls after propelling yourself on a super-springy trampoline.
Dhs70 (junior jumpers aged three years and over and under 110cm in height), Dhs80 (general access for anyone over 110cm). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu 10am-midnight, Fri 9am-midnight, Sat 9am-8pm. Al Quoz (04 321 1400).
Okay, so the idea of hitting the slopes in the height of a blazing summer might not immediately make sense, but it’s “snow joke” for the team at Ski Dubai. The world’s largest indoor snow park – and the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East – is a winter wonderland whatever the weather. Taking pride of place in The Mall of the Emirates, in Al Barsha, it is home to a staggering 3,000 square metres of the white stuff, and little ski lovers are able to jump on a chairlift for a bird’s eye view of the entire park before trying out a twin- tracked bobsled run and going snowboarding and tobogganing.The family won’t get cold feet if you put this on the itinerary.
Dhs200 (adult ticket), Dhs180 (kids aged two and above). Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thu 10am-midnight, Fri 9am-midnight, Sat 9am-11pm. The Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (800 386).
Love to learn Kidzania
Sending your children off to work may seem a bit harsh (especially after a tiring term at school), but they really won’t mind if they’re clocking in at KidZania. The innovative education environment provides role play at its finest, with little worker bees able to try out life as a fireman, a doctor, a policeman and much more, all inside a self-contained city complete with its own hospital, fire station, bank, radio station, pizzeria and beauty salon and even its very own currency, kidZos.
From Dhs150. Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-11pm. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 448 5222).
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
A day out at the gigantic Dubai Mall is like an adventure all in itself, so throw in an aquarium and underwater zoo and you will really have the makings of a boredom-busting plan. Even if you are just in the market for a spot of retail therapy, you can put down your shopping bags for a minute or two in order to gaze in awe at the ten-million litre aquarium tank, filled with more than 140 colourful sea creatures. But if you want to explore further, try out the underwater zoo which gives you a chance to brush up close with some of nature’s most interesting creations, including otters, piranhas and penguins. There is also a chance to see the zoo’s resident sharks and king crocs, from a safe viewing area.
From Dhs100. Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 448 5200).
Have a blast with the past at this culture spot celebrating the city’s rich heritage. Taking a step back in time at the impressive Al Fahidi Fort is a great way to educate your children about the roots of the city. The building itself is a slice of history having been constructed back in 1787 (making it the oldest existing building in the emirate). The museum boasts a thought-provoking exhibit on the city’s pearl diving past as well as authentic recreations of everyday life in the days before the discovery of oil. A must-visit for those keen to embrace Dubai’s intriguing narrative from desert land to world power.
Dhs3. Open daily 10am-8pm. Al Fahidi Fort, Bur Dubai (04 353 1862).
The Green Planet
The saying “only in Dubai” was pretty much made for places like this. A tropical rainforest inside a giant 45-metre, cube-like structure isn’t something you see every day. But this is far from being a flashy gimmick. The Green Planet is a living, breathing tool to educate future generations on the importance of caring for the world. The unique enclosed eco-system is home to more than 3,000 plants and animals – from sloths and exotic parrots to swarms of bees, turtles and tarantulas – and has the world’s largest indoor man-made and life-sustaining tree at its heart. This is educational and entertaining for all ages.
Dhs95 (adults), Dhs70 (kids aged three-12). Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. City Walk, Al Safa (800 637 227).
Mattel Play! Town
The City Walk attraction is centred around the concept of eduplay, a play-based education theory that focuses on the importance of stimulating children’s imaginations and encouraging their flair for fantasy. Plus, to cut to the chase, Barney, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Fireman Sam and Angelina Ballerina are involved. Each beloved Mattel character has its own themed-zone. The Bob the Builder zone features interactive games that instil in kids the importance of problem solving and team work, while the Barney zone has its own reading corner for children and there is more fun at your feet in the form of interactive flooring, as well as access to tricks and crafts and musical instruments.
Dhs95 (kids aged 2-10), Dhs55 (adults). Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. City Walk, Al Safa (04 317 3999).
Theme park fun IMG Worlds of Adventure
The little superheroes in your life will marvel at the attractions on offer at this larger-than-life theme park. Launched last year, IMG Worlds of Adventure is home to a host of rides based around Marvel’s most iconic characters, including Captain America, Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man and Thor. Visitors can also get up close and personal with prehistoric dinosaurs brought roaring back to life in the Lost Valley and catch up with the colourful stars of the Cartoon Network. This is sure-fire fun for all of
Dhs245 (general admission), Dhs225 (kids under 1.2m in height), Dhs150 (visitors over 60), free (kids under 1.05m in height). Open Sun-Wed 1pm-10pm, Thu-Sat 1pm-11pm. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (04 403 8888).
LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Water Park
Let’s be honest, this will be just as much fun for the parents as it is for the kids. The beloved building block has provided countless hours of fun for several generations and has proved such a global hit that it has spawned its own series of blockbuster movies. The LEGOLAND extravaganza at the city’s Dubai Parks and Resorts has successfully brought LEGO to life with more than 40 rides, shows and attractions on six themed lands crammed with 15,000 LEGO models and more than 60,000 LEGO bricks.
Dhs335 (LEGOLAND Dubai and Water Park pass). Open daily 10am-6pm. Dubai Parks and Resorts, Jebel Ali (04 820 0000).
Wild Wadi Waterpark
Ride the crest of a wave at Wild Wadi water park. The exciting spot has 30 rides and attractions, themed around the tale of Juha, a character from Arabian folklore. Thrilling rides to enjoy include the 120-metre Jumeirah Sceirah, which reaches speeds of 80 kilometres, and the adrenaline-pumping Burj Surge, to toddler-friendly activities in Breakers Bay. It’s not just the kids who will go wild here, there are hours of fun for all ages.
Dhs295 (1.1m in height and above), Dhs230 (below 1.1m in height). Open daily 10am-7pm. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 348 4444).
Road trip Al Ain Zoo
No summer holiday is complete without a day out at the zoo. Travel over to the beautiful Garden City of Al Ain to brush up close with nature at this 900 hectare park, which is home to more than 4,000 animals and 180 species (around 30 percent of which are considered endangered). Conservation and animal welfare is taking seriously here , too, so this is a top destination for little animal-lovers. The wide variety of attractions include giraffe feeding, camel riding and a petting zoo featuring llamas, chickens, ducks, sheep and goats. The popular zoo is complemented by the Al Ain Safari, one of the world’s largest man-made African safaris, which is host to a range of native African animals and more than 2,500 diverse plants.
From Dhs80 (adult), Dhs40 (kids aged three-12), free (kids under three). Open daily 9am-8pm (5pm-11pm during Ramadan). Nahyan The First Street, Al Ain (03 799 2000).
Make a big splash at one of the best water parks in the world over the road in Abu Dhabi. With tornado waterslides, high-intensity freefall drops and hydromagnetic rollercoasters, dry land will never be the same again. With its snake fang exit pools, LED light shows, lazy rivers and children’s pools, there are rides for all thrill levels, plus regular promotions and temporary attractions to get stuck into.
From Dhs250 (adults), Dhs210 (children, under 1.1m), free (children under three years old). Yas Island (02 414 2000).
Despite already having the world’s fastest roller coaster as a star attraction, Ferrari World shows no sign of slowing down. A new thrill ride, Turbo Track, opened this year, making Abu Dhabi’s premier theme park even bigger and better than ever. The fantastic Ferrari museum is another hugely popular spot in this terrific tribute to one of the most enduring names in the automotive industry. Whether you are into red cars or white-knuckle rides, you will find plenty to keep you entertained here. It is also fully air-conditioned, making this an all-year-round mega-attraction. Live life in the fast lane by taking an exhilarating trip to the UAE capital.
From Dhs275 (adults), Dhs230 (children under 1.1m), free (children under three years old). Yas Island, www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com (02 496 8000).