The United Arab Emirates is often called a playground for the rich and famous. But if you’re moving to the UAE with kids, you’ll be more interested in the actual playgrounds in your new home. And that isn’t all the kids can look forward to, either. From sandboarding and ski slopes, to Bollywood and beyond, we check out the best things to do with kids in the UAE.
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Warner Bros. World
Whether they want to fly like Superman or drive like Fred Flintstone, your little ones will love a visit to Warner Bros. World. Although this sprawling amusement park only opened in 2018, it has already established itself as one of the best things to do with kids in the UAE. Located on Yas Island, the fully-indoor park has six different zones and almost 30 attractions for all ages; from immersive 5D rides to superhero assault courses. The kids will also be able to meet their favorite characters, so get your camera ready in case you run into the Dark Knight himself, Batman.
Warner Bros. World, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
Kayaking in the mangroves
Take your kids back to nature with an unforgettable visit to Abu Dhabi’s mangroves. Your little ones will see a whole different side to the UAE from their kayak as they tour the vast mangrove forests that define the city’s coastline. They’ll also catch a glimpse of local wildlife in their natural habitat and learn to appreciate the complexities of this precious ecosystem. Tours generally last a couple of hours, however, if your family is a little more adventurous, why not take an overnight tour? This extra paddling will be rewarded with a night under the stars on a desert island.
Noukhada Adventure Tours, Eastern Mangroves Promenade, Abu Dhabi
Who knew little plastic bricks could build a whole world of fun? Well, the folks at Lego did, because back in 2016 they opened the world’s seventh Legoland Park, in the UAE. Kids in the UAE will love the ever-popular driving school, while there are rollercoasters and boat rides for the whole family to enjoy. And if you’ve got little ones, there’s plenty to keep them entertained at Duplo Valley. If that wasn’t enough, next door is the Legoland Water Park. Hit the water slides or float down the lazy river on your own handmade raft built – yes, you guessed it – with Lego bricks.
Legoland Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Explore the wonders of the deep at Dubai’s Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Whether their favorites are the clownfish or the turtles, your little ones will love wandering beneath all the colorful underwater life on display. The aquarium’s star attraction is the so-called King Croc, one of the world’s largest saltwater crocodiles, which is currently living in a protected environment. The crocodile comes in at around 5m in length – and is still growing! If your kids are budding marine biologists, the aquarium also offers kids aged between 5 and 15 the chance to go behind the scenes and help look after the animals.
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, Dubai Mall, Doha Street, Dubai
Does your child see themselves as the next Sebastian Vettel? Well, they can get a taste of life in the fast lane with a visit to Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World; just around the corner from the city’s iconic Yas Marina circuit. If your kids feel the need for speed, then try the Formula Rossa rollercoaster; this goes from 0 to 240km/h in just 4.9 seconds. But if that sounds a little too fast for them, they can always slow things down in a mini replica Formula 1 car at the park’s driving center. Here, they will find a whole host of Ferrari motors to explore and a fun soft play area.
Ferrari World, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
One of the best things to do with kids in the UAE is to cool them down! Dust off your winter warmers and hit the slopes at Ski Dubai. Yes, that’s right – the UAE has ski slopes for the whole family! Located in the massive Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Ski has not one, but five runs of varying difficulties in an environment kept at a frosty zero degrees. If your kids are just starting out on the slopes you can sign them up for the center’s ski school, which is run by qualified instructors. There are plenty of off-slope activities, too. From snowmobile dodgems to the unforgettable penguin encounter experience, there’s sub-zero fun for all!
Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Sandboarding in the dunes
With all its ski slopes and water parks, you might forget that much of the UAE is desert. But you and the kids will soon appreciate the landscape of your new home with a sand-boarding trip to the dunes. If you don’t know what sandboarding is, it’s basically a cross between surfing and snowboarding, but on sand. It’s a great family activity as kids of all ages can take part. And the best part is, sand-boarding packages often come with added extras such as camel rides and desert safari, too.
Desert Tours Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
Looking for something that will keep everyone entertained – from toddlers to teenagers? Then Dubai’s sprawling City Walk complex might be just the ticket. As well as boasting a plethora of shops and restaurants, the complex also offers a selection of child-friendly activities for all tastes. The Green Planet, for example, recreates a tropical rainforest in a bio-dome which is home to over 3,000 plants and animals. Meanwhile, Mattel Play! Town is full of cartoon character-themed attractions to entertain little ones. Older children, however, will probably gravitate towards Hub Zero, a state-of-the-art interactive entertainment center for kids aged 10 and over. Definitely one of the best things to do with kids in the UAE.
City Walk, Al Safa Street, Dubai
As one of the world’s most spectacular water parks, Yas Waterworld has firmly established itself as a family favorite. The park has a clutch of wet and wild attractions for all ages; from watery rollercoasters and hair-raising water slides to water gun games and lazy river rides for the little ones. The perfect place for cooling down on a hot day, the park even offers late-night movie screenings. What could be more fun than watching Hollywood blockbusters from the comfort of a floating tube?
Yas Waterworld, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
We couldn’t complete our list of the best things to do with kids in the UAE without mentioning Bollywood Parks. Experience the glamor of Indian cinema at the world’s first-ever amusement park dedicated to Bollywood. Split over five themed zones, you will find cinematic attractions, live entertainment, and of course, plenty of energetic stage performances in typical Bollywood style. And when you need to refresh yourselves, there are several dining options that showcase the best of Indian cuisine. Bollywood Parks is located in the heart of Dubai’s amusement park district, alongside Legoland Dubai, Six Flags Resort Dubai, and Motiongate; so there are loads of exciting options to choose from.
Bollywood Parks, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai