Searing summers are nothing new in Dubai, which is why the city is stacked with loads of indoor entertainment to keep us active through the hotter months. But the nature of said indoor entertainment is by no means small-scale.
From indoor skydiving to elevated obstacle courses, karting and paintballing, we take a closer look at some alternative indoor activities that will keep you occupied until October.
Too scared to throw yourself out of a plane? No problem – iFly at Mirdif’s Playnation is the perfect way to experience the sensation of skydiving without having to go more than a few metres off the ground. iFly consists of two skydiving tunnels, each situated inside the mall, with ‘skydivers’ propelled into the air by a 400bhp fan, measuring three metres in diameter. On hand to help you learn the basics is Ahmad Hassan Belal Al Muri, the first Emirati IBA International Bodyflight Association) accredited instructor. Ahmad will help you control your movements inside the wind tunnel and ensure your indoor experience lasts far longer than actual free-fall skydiving (and doesn’t involve a bumpy landing).
Dhs195 for first-time flyers. iFly, Mirdif City Centre (04 231 6292)
As its name suggests, this indoor Gladiators-style obstacle course is elevated 13 metres above the ground and incorporates ladders, cargo netting, and rope bridges, centred around a climbing wall. According to its creators, the Sky Trail facility will test your physical and mental abilities and help you deal with your fear of heights, as well as push yourself to your physical max. The obstacles force adventurers to launch themselves from platform to cargo net, navigate their way across platforms and poles, and swing across from one platform to a suspended bridge. Of course, there’s no danger of tumbling to the ground – you’re attached by a safety harness. If you’d rather concentrate on climbing, the climbing wall is eight metres high and features 21 varying sections. Beginners can enjoy the auto-belay system, which allows you to climb without a partner and will slowly lower you to the ground as you kick away from the wall.
Dhs70 (Sky Trail), Dhs50 (climbing wall), Dhs100 (both). Playnation, Mirdif City Centre, www.playnationme.com.
While it’s still possible to kart outside during the summer, the combination of overalls, helmet and a hot engine makes the experience rather sweaty. To ensure you can live out your F1 aspirations all year round, Dubai Kartdrome features a huge warehouse-style structure housing a 500m indoor track on which up to 20 drivers can race in cooled conditions. If shooting rather than steering is your thing, the Kartdrome complex also features a Laserdrome – a 400sq m medieval castle complete with dry ice and neon decor, where teams of 10 can fight to the death (or until the allocated time is up).
Karting Dhs100 for 15 minutes; laser tag Dhs80 for 15 minutes (plus Dhs10 registration for first-timers). Dubai Kartdrome, Motor City (04 367 8700)
Based at Wafi, DN Indoor Paintball is the UAE’s biggest indoor paintball centre, measuring 4,000 sq m. The two-storey industrial-themed arena is fully air-conditioned and offers a range of paintballing missions, including ‘Night Fire’ – a style of paintball played in the dark, illuminated only by atmospheric UV lights. In order to see where you’re shooting and who you’ve shot, guns are loaded with fluorescent paintballs. Unfortunately the fairer sex can’t take part. Sorry, girls – DN Paintball is a boys-only club.
Basic package from Dhs75 per person. Night Fire game costs Dhs90. DN Paintball, Wafi (050 187 7557)
Who’d ever have thought you’d be able to ski and snowboard all year round – in the desert? And that’s not all: you can also zorb all year round too. For those unacquainted with the art of zorbing, it involves taking to the slopes of Ski Dubai, climbing into a zorb (a big see-through ball full of air) and tumbling down a hill. Very silly, but very fun.
Zorbing is free, but an hour-long slope pass costs Dhs120 (adults), Dhs110 (kids). Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates (04 409 4333)