Kids' Hot 50

The top 50 things to do with your family in Dubai

1 Eat Dubai’s best burger: While listening to a juke box in a ’50s-style diner at Johnny Rockets, Marina Walk (04 368 2339); other branches throughout Dubai (www.johnnyrockets.com).

2 Bounce around: On Sezzam’s bouncy castle (preferably before eating from its international menu), at Mall of the Emirates (04 341 3600; www.sezzam.com).

3 Ride a mouse: A computer mouse that is, at Children’s City, Creekside Park (04 334 0808). There’s also a theatre for little stars and a planetarium for those who would rather stare up at them.

4 Have a history lesson: By checking out the historical exhibition at Dubai Heritage and Diving Village, Al Shindagha, Bur Dubai (04 393 7151).

5 Make a creative mess: In a four-hour DIY painting session at The Jamjar, Street 17a, Al Quoz, behind Dubai Garden Centre (04 341 7303; www.thejamjardubai.com), or with a course at Dubai International Art Centre, Villa 27, Street 75b (04 344 4398; www.artdubai.com).

6 Go to school: An Islamic school, on display at the Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Fort, Bastakiya (04 353 1862; www.dubaitourism.co.ae).

7 Say cheese: With fantastic games and grub at Chuck E Cheese, Dubai Outlet Mall (04 425 3530).

8 Make a racket: At Jumeirah Music Centre, Jumeirah Plaza, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 396 3888; www.jumeirahmusic.com). Your whole family can take music classes together here.

9 Don a tutu: Or some white PJs (they also teach taekwondo) at The Ballet Centre, Near Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 344 977; www.theballetcentre.com).

10 Make a mug: Or a plate, or bowl, or whatever takes your fancy, really, at Café Ceramique, Town Centre Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 344 7331).

11 Go to Sharjah: To do all sorts of stuff! From Al Qasba (06 556 0777; www.alqasba.ae), with its Ferris wheel-style Eye of the Emirates, fairground rides and abras, to Sharjah Aquarium (06 528 5288), the Desert Park and Arabian Wildlife Centre (06 531 1999), and much more.

12 Learn to surf: On the flowrider (a fake wave to you and me) at Wild Wadi, next to the Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel (04 348 4444; www.wildwadi.com).

13 Gorge on carrot cake: And many other tasty treats at the Lime Tree Café, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 349 8498). Also at Ibn Battuta (www.thelimetreecafe.com).

14 Meet dolphins: And watch them play at the Dolphinarium, Creekside Park (04 336 9773; www.dolphinarium.ae) and Dolphin Bay at Atlantis, the Palm (04 426 1030; www.atlantisthepalm.com).

15 Take to the stage: With courses and performances organised by Kids Theatre Works! at Ductac, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4747; www.kidstheatreworks.com).

16 Have a family day: At Umm Suqeim Park. This small green oasis allows families only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

17 Race around: In a go-kart at Dubai Autodrome, Emirates Road (04 367 8700; www.dubaiautodrome.com). You can also play at being Bond in its laser dome.

18 Ride an abra: At Dubai Creek, Bur Dubai, for a mere Dhs1, or charter your own for Dhs50-100.

19 Chill out: At the Olympic-size ice rink at The Dubai Mall (04 437 3111; www.thedubaimall.com).

20 Ride a train: Around the surprisingly green spot straddling Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Safa Park (04 349 2111).

21 See the world: At Global Village, Dubailand (04 362 4114; www.globalvillage.ae), with its kitschy stage-set-like ‘countries’, stalls, shows and fairground rides.

22 Gawp at fish: At the Lost Chambers, Atlantis, the Palm (www.atlantisthepalm.com; 04 426 0000), and Dubai Aquarium at The Dubai Mall (04 437 3111; www.thedubaimall.com).

23 Get active: At Satwa park, behind Crowne Plaza Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 329 0989). You can choose between playing footie on its full-size grass pitch, shooting hoops on its basketball courts, swinging rackets on the tennis court, or going for a jog on its rubber running surface.

24 Go 4-D: At Magic Planet, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4444; www.malloftheemirates.com), with the XD simulator. You can also go crazy on the bumper cars, endless video games and bowling.

25 Take in a show: At The Madinat Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6546; www.madinattheatre.com), with its all-year-round, kid-friendly performance programme.


26 Play in the snow: At Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates (04 409 4000; www.skidxb.com) by skiing, snowboarding, or just frolicking around in the snow park.

27 Take a leap of faith: On the ride that whizzes you through a tunnel in shark-infested waters at Aquaventure, Atlantis, the Palm (www.atlantisthepalm.com; 04 426 0000).

28 Be a skater dude: At the Desert Extreme skate park in Wonderland Theme and Waterpark, next to Creekside Park (04 324 1222; www.wonderlanduae.com), or you can have a go on its wet and dry rides.

29 Ride a cable car: At Creekside Park, between Maktoum and Garhoud Bridges (04 336 7633), then settle for a picnic on the grass, ride a four-person bike and check out its botanical gardens and amphitheatre.

30 Have a spend up: At one of Dubai’s many massive malls, like Deira City Centre (04 295 1010; www.deiracitycentre.com), Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4747; www.malloftheemirates.com), Dubai Festival City (04 232 5444; www.dubaifestivalcity.com), Ibn Battuta (04 368 5542; www.ibnbattutamall.com) and Dubai Mall (800 382 246 255; www.thedubaimall.com). Most have play centres so drop before you shop.

31 Climb the walls: At the Pharaoh’s Club, Wafi (04 324 4555; www.wafi.com), where you can also have a go on the lazy river, virtual rides and games.

32 Hire a boat: To row around the large lake in the sprawling Za’abeel Park, creek-end of Sheikh Zayed Road (04 398 6888). There’s also an amphitheatre, jogging track, cricket pitch and adventure playground.

33 Meet Modhesh: At Dubai Summer Surprises (www.mydsf.com) from June 11 to August 14. His friendly/annoying yellow face will pop up everywhere, and we mean everywhere. But there’s no denying, this festival of fun, kid-friendly events across Dubai is a life saver for families through the sweltering summer months.

34 Ride a camel: At Jumeirah Beach, parallel to Jumeirah Beach Walk, where a man and his two humpy friends lollop up and down the beach regularly, so go and hop on for a traditional experience – with a modern twist thanks to the views of the manmade Palm Jumeirah and Atlantis.

35 Have a barbie: At Jumeirah Beach Park, Beach Road (04 349 2555). With tables, barbecue pits and children’s play area, it’s a great way to cook up a different kind of dinner.

36 Beat a drum: In the middle of the desert under a full moon. An incredible, if surreal, and pretty hilarious experience (050 659 2874; www.dubaidrums.com).

37 Make furry friends: At The Animal Sanctuary and Petting Farm, past Dragon Mart on the Dubai bypass road (E611), heading towards Ajman (050 273 0973; poshpawsdubai@yahoo.co.uk). Kids can look at, stroke and learn all about an array of rescued, unwanted or donated animals. Cats, dogs and bunnies, as well as birds, snakes, horses and turtles are available for playdates.

38 Ride your bike: In peace and with a lovely view of the sea at Al Mamzar Park, near the Sharjah border (04 296 6201). You can even go for a dip if you get too hot.

39 Have a boogy: With Baby’s Carnivale, where kids and their parents get to shake there thangs on the dancefloor, with loads of kid-friendly entertainment like face painters and a bouncy castle. Held at various venues, get your tickets at www.babylovesdisco.ae or call 04 390 2060 for a list of places that sell tickets.

40 Perfect your swing: By playing crazy golf, target golf, putting challenge junior and more with E-Sports Fun Golf (050 320 5016; www.esportsdubai.com; golf@esportsdubai.com). Most Dubai golf clubs also offer golf training courses for any budding Tiger Woods.

41 Meet Barney and Barbie: At Hamleys in The Dubai Mall (800 382 246 255; www.thedubaimall.com), before having a wander around the kids’ paradise and hearing, ‘Muuuuum, I want it!’ a hundred times.

42 Ride an open-top bus: And see the sites of Dubai such as Atlantis, the Burj Dubai and Jumeirah Mosque with the Big Bus Company (04 340 7709; www.bigbustours.com).

43 Make a pizza: In the kitchens at Pizza Express (04 324 7324). Go behind the scenes and get shown how to make this traditional Italian dish – always a popular one with kids as they get to eat it afterwards.

44 Catch a 3-D film: At the Imax cinema in Ibn Battuta Mall (04 368 5542; www.ibnbattutamall.com). While you’re there catch a balloon ride and meet the friendly cartoon characters from Freej (bar the scary red-eyed one).

45 Have a polished party: With manis and pedis for little princesses at Color Nail (04 341 8848), at Times Square Centre, and other nail and beauty salons across the city.

46 Get dressed up: At Favourite Things, Marina Mall (04 436 1000), in one of its 70 costumes in its fancy dress room, then little ones can frolic in the soft play area, bigger ones can play on the PlayStations and you can have a cuppa in the coffee shop, then have a wander in the boutique.

47 Horse around: With Hoofbeatz (050 673 1335) at Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, where you can watch the ‘equine extravaganza’ that is the Al Saheel show, or take the ‘learning through horses’ programme.

48 Read a book: At Kinokuniya, Dubai Mall (800 382 246 255; www.thedubaimall.com), with more than 20,000 kids’ titles to choose from.

49 Get up close and personal: With the life-sized elephants, giraffes and woolly mammoths at the Toy Store, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4444; www.malloftheemirates.com).

50 Meet Elliot the Teddy Bear: At Time Out Kids Teddy Bears’ picnic, joining him for fun, games and food. Keep an eye on www.timeouttickets.com for the next one.

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