While most adults find themselves fascinated by the aesthetic skylines, raging nightlife, plush hotels, and expansive retail therapy of the UAE, there’s no reason kids cannot have just as much, if not more fun on a Middle East holiday. With exciting theme parks, outdoor and indoor adventure centers and a rich heritage that children will love learning about, there are plenty of activities to keep the youth at bay.
Here are our picks for top UAE activities to enjoy with the kids.
Wild Wadi - Dubai
Located in the beautiful Jumeirah Hotel in front of the iconic Burj Al Arab, Wild Wadi is a waterpark that guarantees an exciting day of splish splashing for the entire family. From the 3-foot tall waves of Flood River, relaxed Lazy River, and Racing Slides for toddlers to nerve-wrecking rides such as Tantrum Alley, Burj Surj, Wipeout and Riptide Flowriders, there’s something for every age group whether your kids are little daredevils or just want a relaxed day on the water.
Falcon Hospital - Abu Dhabi
Watch wide-eyed as falcons fly freely in the aviary of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and take home a memorable photograph with a magnificent falcon perched on your arm. Their signature program is the Falcon World Tour, a guided educational experience that includes a visit to the falconry museum and to the examination room where falcons are treated to a pedicure or feather repair. Tours are held twice daily from Sunday to Thursday at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and once on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m., but it’s recommended you confirm dates and times during the holy month of Ramadan.
Ski Dubai - Dubai
“Do you want to build a snowman?” Channel Frozen in Dubai’s very own winter wonderland, Ski Dubai, a premier indoor ski resort spread over 242,000 square feet inside the Mall of the Emirates. A 915-foot tall mountain offers 5 slopes of varying difficulty, but if you’re a newbie it’s a great place to try a lesson. The snow park provides plenty of entertainment for children with sledding, ice slides, climbing towers, and even an ice cave where they can interact with penguins to live out their very own version of Happy Feet.
Al Ain Zoo - Abu Dhabi
A center for endangered species, the Al Ain Zoo houses over 4,000 creatures including desert antelopes and the endangered Arabian Oryx who are bred in a natural habitat of sand dunes and shaded waterhole. Boasting one of the largest collections of Big Cats in the world, the zoo’s mixed African exhibit is another highlight and includes popular animals such as the White Rhino, Fringe eared Oryx, Dhama Gazelle and Africa’s largest antelope, the Eland in a natural setting over 12 acres.
Bounce Dubai - Dubai
The city’s premier indoor trampoline academy, join in on the fun of a free jump revolution. The energy at Bounce Dubai is infectious as adults, teens and toddlers let go of their inhibitions to dunk, run up walls or try acrobatic aerial maneuvers. More than 100 brightly colored trampolines form an indoor playground where visitors can engage in cardio workouts, jump their way onto the ‘Big Bag’ or play games like Dodgeball. For the youngsters, MiniBounce is a specialized program for children between the ages of three and five that consists of basic trampoline training, games and exercises to develop their strength and balance while exercising safe fun.
Dubai Dolphinarium - Dubai
For an experience unlike any other, the Dubai Dolphinarium is one of the oldest and most popular attractions in Dubai. Located in the picturesque Creek Park, interact with gentle bottlenose dolphins and seals and see firsthand as they dance, sing, juggle, paint, and perform acrobatic stunts in a series of live shows. Children over five can also swim with the dolphins at one of the daily sessions. Show times and ticket prices are available online.
The Lost Chambers Aquarium - Dubai
Home to more than 65,000 marine creatures, The Lost Chambers Aquarium is located in the Atlantis The Palm. An exploratory journey for the whole family, learn about the mysteries of the lost city of Atlantis from it’s technology and culture to astronomical and architectural discoveries. Watch or snorkel with local marine species in the Ambassador Lagoon, the largest open-air aquarium in the Middle East and interact with some of the species in the aquarium’s touch tanks. Interactive dive shows are held twice daily to learn about marine life from one of the naturalists.
Ferrari World - Abu Dhabi
Adults and children looking for adrenaline fuelled rides and rollercoasters will not be disappointed by the adventures offered at the F1 themed Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. Heart racing moments abound as you reach speeds up to 59 mph in a Ferrari F430 Spider coaster complete with gravity defying turns, or experience the fastest rollercoaster in the world, which accelerates up to 149 mph in under 5 seconds. Younger children or those with a weak stomach may prefer to virtually soar over Italian mountains, drive shotgun with a racing pro in a motion simulator or take a tour of the Ferrari factory. The highlight of the experience is the Junior Pilota’s Driving School where kids receive private instruction and learn how to drive a mini 430GT Spider. Who said you needed to be 16 to get your learner’s permit?