Dubai is a city that most people want to visit at some stage, but did you know that it’s a very family friendly location too?
Of course, many people find themselves relocating to this UAE city for work. Dubai has many opportunities in countless industries and this is a situation which many people embrace with gusto – and why not! Life in Dubai is certainly bright, vibrant, and sunny, but when you move to another country with children, you need to know what there is to do there for the little ones.
The good news is that any family relocating to Dubai for work will find plenty for their children to learn, do, and experience. This is also a very richly cultural city and that brings plenty of opportunities for your children to learn about the culture of the city, the entire UAE itself, and maybe even pick up a little of the language too.
Whether you’re relocating for work, you’re choosing to live in Dubai for another reason, or maybe you’re still considering a move or simply a visit, let’s look at some of the best things to do in Dubai for children.
Dubai Mall is not just a shopping mall, it’s a centre for entertainment, with plenty to see and do for all the family. If you’re experiencing a particularly hot day, this is the ideal place to go as it’s a slice of air conditioned heaven!
This is the biggest mall on the planet, so there is no lack of things to do. Throughout the year the mall has countless exhibitions and activities, and there are many statues all around the mall which are fun to check out. Be sure to visit DubaiDino inside the mall which is a preserved dinosaur skeleton collected by bones found around the region. Educational and fun!
You would expect Dubai to have a rather large aquarium in its midst and this one doesn’t disappoint. Located in Dubai Mall, this is an aquarium which contains more than 300 different types of sharks and hundreds of fish. Children will love learning about the different types of marine-life on show and you can also take a ride in a simulation of a submarine. Throughout the year you’ll find different exhibitions taking place and there are also feeding shows available.
KidZania is also located in Dubai Mall and it’s great place for children aged between 4 years to around 13-14 years. A visit here takes 4 hours and in that time children will move around different stations, learning about careers and professions they might like to try when they’re older. The entire “city” is run by children, which really grabs the attention and the whole thing is hands-on, so not only do your children get to learn but they dress up and make new friends at the same time.
Dubai has several waterparks but Wild Wadi is certainly the biggest and best. This is a great day out for all the family, and will certainly exhaust your little ones by the end of the day. With countless water rides, slides, and areas for chilling out, this is a huge waterpark that both children and adults will enjoy. If you want to soak up the sun whist your little ones play, there are large sunbathing areas in sight of the main pools, so you can check on your children whilst you relax. The lazy river is also a huge highlight.
On a warm Dubai evening, your children will enjoy a visit to Glow Garden. One of the most unique things to see and do in the city, here your children can learn about music and lights, understanding the rhythm to which they all work in sync. The installations change according to the season, so you will certainly want to go more than once. The park open at 4pm and is open until late.
Helping your children to appreciate Mother Nature’s work is a must do and a visit to Miracle Garden will certainly help with your endeavours in that regard. This is a huge park that is home to more than 50 million different types of flowers, all arranged beautifully and in different images, such as Mickey Mouse! There is also a guided tour which helps your children learn about the flowers, including what they are, how they’re grown, where they’re from, and how they’re looked after.
If you want to escape the Dubai heat and enjoy a family day of fun, then IMG Worlds of Adventure is a great choice. This is a huge indoor amusement park that is packed with rides for all ages. Sometimes children just need to let their hair down and run free, screaming at the top of their lungs, and that’s what this park will do! Of course, you will create memories and enjoy time together too. There are different age restrictions for certain rides but children under 5 will love the Cartoon Network area where they can play to their heart’s content.
Dubai’s Legoland is huge and it’s also a waterpark. If you want to stick to dry land however, the park itself is more than adequate for a day’s entertainment and it might even need more than a day to see it all. Throughout the park there are huge structures made of Lego and six main lands, including Imagination, Kingdoms, and Adventures, to name just three. You’ll find rides, shows, amusements, and even a Lego Academy where your little ones can build their own structures.
Despite the fact you’re not in India, Bollywood Park is a great place to explore Indian culture, which has a huge influence across the city. This is a park with rides in 4D, as well as Bollywood shows that are done live on stage. It’s a great way to learn about something different whilst also having a great day out as a family. This is a park for all ages, and even the adults will thoroughly enjoy the day!
Teaching your children to love and respect nature is key and that’s something that’s very easy to do at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Easily a full and exhausting day out, the park is around 17 kilometres away from the centre of Dubai and is located on a large wetland that will show you the very best of the local wildlife. Be sure to grab a pair of binoculars, to help your children identify the colourful and beautiful wild birds in abundance and enjoy a day of fresh air, away from the hustle and bustle of the city itself.
Children learn at their best when they’re curious and interested in something and there is plenty to do both of those things at the Museum of Illusions. Learn about gravity, mirrors, and all manner of other interesting and equally confusing things at the same time. All exhibitions are hands-on and children will be exhausted and totally enlightened by the end!
Whilst it might not be entirely natural, the huge “rainforest” you’ll find at Green Planet is a great way to educate your children about the planet, climate change, and how ecosystems work. There are 3000 plus trees to be found here, spanning a huge area, and plenty of topical fauna and flora too. Your children will be so engrossed in what they’re seeing that they won’t even realise they’re learning and that’s the best way to do it. Of course, adults will adore this tropical getaway for the day too.
If your children are a bundle of pent up energy than a day at Aventura Parks will sort that right out! This is a huge obstacle playground and park that has lots of opportunities for exercise, socialising, and generally having fun. Children can learn how to rock climb, they can try zip lining, and there are many other things they can do for the first time too.
It would be crazy to be in Dubai and not spend time at the beach, and there are a few to choose from. Kite Beach is a great spot for families and you can allow your children to run, play, swim, and splash. There are also many kite surfers on this beach, hence the name, and kids will love to watch them. Marina Beach is another great alternative. There are several public, free beaches around the area, so simply explore and find the best spot for a day on the sand.
This is the world’s tallest building so it stands to reach that you have to visit it. The views from the observation deck are fantastic and children will love to stand and watch in awe at the landscape below them. The only downside is that this is one of the most popular attractions in the city so you’ll need to purchase your tickets beforehand, to avoid disappointment or long queues on the day.
A safari into the desert is one of the most popular excursions in and around Dubai and it’s something you should definitely show your children. The wonder of the desert has to be seen to be believed and checking out those huge sand dunes will thrill your children. You can head out yourself (if you feel confident enough to do so) or you can book an excursion with an experienced driver who will take you around the area and drop you back home. Most excursions also include a BBQ meal, but do check beforehand.
You’re a long way from the snow but Ski Dubai will make you forget all about that. Here you can have a great and fun day out as a family but you can also get some exercise and teach your child to ski. That’s a skill they’ll never forget! The faux-mountain has 5 different slopes and there are also opportunities to snowboarding and even bobsledding too. Book your child in for lessons and they’ll be whizzing down the mountain before you know it!
Dubai has long been thought of as an entertainment city only, but there are many attractions within the city and just outside of it which are ideal for education and helping your child to discover new things. Even the large attraction parks have a specific theme to them, such as under the sea, the future, careers, etc.
If you’re going to head out to an outdoor attraction be sure to remember sun safety. Dubai’s sun can be extremely fierce and when you’re having fun as a family, it can be easy to forget the last time you put on sun cream!
Whatever the reason for your visit to Dubai, whether it’s short-term or extended, allowing your child to experience as much as possible within that time is vital. Dubai is an international city but allowing your child to experience some of the local traditions and culture is also very important. This will help them to settle in, allow them to feel truly at home, and also give them an enriching experience that will serve them well as they grow.
Older children may enjoy visiting the Old Town under supervision of their parents. This is a vibrant, colourful and very traditional part of the city, completely different to the touristic “other side”. Very authentic, children will be able to respectfully observe local traditions and soak up plenty of culture.