Dubai is a great destination with kids. So far it has been clean and safe. You also don’t have to explain to your kids why there are so many drunk people around because there aren’t any, visible at least. In addition to normal beach holiday there is a lot to do for kids in different age groups. Following are a few tips if the beach life gets boring (can it actually happen?).
Aquaventure and Wild Wadi waterparks
We have tried both and both have pros and cons. Aquaventure in Atlantis has more to do, bigger slides and ”Leap of faith” (where I didn’t dare to test my fate). Smaller kids usually like the Splasher’s area. There is also a beach where you can relax in between slides. Ticket price to Atlantis costs 260 dirhams for over 1,2m tall and 215 dirhams for smaller kids (check the website for updates). Under 2 year olds were allowed to enter free of charge. Combination ticket that includes both Atlantis and Lost Chambers aquarium cost 250-310 dirhams. There are 16 restaurants/snack bars to choose from. When we visited Atlantis, many of the restaurants were being renovated and we spent a lot of time searching for something to eat. When we finally found the Sharks Bite restaurant, we had to return our hamburgers since they had been dropped on our plate directly from the fridge (they were ice cold). Food was very poor compared to the price you pay. We recommend you reserve a lot of time (basically the whole day). Despite of poor restaurant experience, there is a lot to do and experiment.
When we stayed 2 nights in Jumeirah Beach hotel, we were able to visit Wild Wadi without any entrance fee. Wild Wadi is more compact and if you don’t have the whole day to spend, I recommend you choose Wild Wadi. Our child loved the Juha dhow boat and lazy river. Wild Wadi costs 275 dirhams for over 1,1m tall and 230 dirhams for less than 1,1m tall. This was a slight surprise to us since we expected it to be cheaper than Atlantis.
Lost Chambers and Dubai Aquarium/Underwater Zoo
You can find Lost Chambers from Atlantis hotel and it is easy to combine with a day in the waterpark. The interior and story of the aquarium is based on the myth of Atlantis. We liked the atmosphere and spent a few hours admiring the sea life. Adult ticket cost 120 dirhams when we were there but we recommend to take an advantage of the combined ticket offers.
You are able to enjoy Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo huge aquarium wall without entering the aquarium itself since it is located inside Dubai Mall. Entrance fee starts from 100 dirhams and with that price you can view the 10 million liter water-tank in more detail. We personally liked the Lost Chambers more due to its calmer atmosphere and interesting design. Dubai Mall aquarium can be quite hectic at times. Global Village
Outside Dubai’s ”center areas” you can find Global Village which is at least partially rebuilt every year. There is a small theme park, regular shows and lots to eat and shop. Keep an eye on their website for opening hours since it used to open only around 4pm and is closed during summer season. The area is ”in the middle of nowhere” so you don’t want to travel there for nothing. Do not expect anything genuine here (although who expects that when in Dubai) but I managed to find beautiful Moroccon pots and plates there. You can find lots of restaurants from pizza to biriyani. Entrance fee has been around 15 dirhams.Al Ain Zoo
If you have some spare time in Dubai and your kids enjoy watching animals, we recommend Al Ain Zoo which is an hour and a half drive from Dubai. Entrance fee is quite reasonable, 30 dirhams for adults and 10 dirhams for kids over 3 years. It was easy to walk around the park with prams and there were plenty of different kind of species. KidZania, NJOY and Kiddies Cafe
Kidzania in Dubai mall offers an interesting experience for a bit older kids. They can choose from 80 different jobs and try how it feels to step into adult world. Price is 140 dirhams and like said is suitable for slightly older children with English skills. Dubai is full of play areas inside malls. These parks come in handy, especially during summer time, so the kids can clime to the walls (literally).
NJOY is located on the top floor of Marina Mall and offers a soft play area, trampoline and game zone. Entrance fee is around 5o dirhams but be aware that the trampoline and games cost extra. Kiddies Cafe in JLT area (Cluster Y, Lake Shore Tower) is suitable for smaller kids. There is a cafeteria next to the play area where the parents can relax. Entrance fee is 45 dirhams per hour (25 dirhams per extra hour).Bounze
Bounze became a hit immediately when it arrived to Dubai. For 80 dirhams you can jump for joy (both adults and kids).There is also a miniBounce area for smaller kids. The problem with Bounze is the location which is in the middle of a more industrial area (no metro station close by). I recommend you go with a taxi or with a rental car. (Building 32, 4B Street, Behind Ace Hardware – Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Quoz 1).
Play areas outside
Dubai is not well known for large kids play areas outside (due to hot weather in the summer time). Our favorites however are JLT park and the play area located in JBR Beach Walk. Both of these play areas are very popular especially during weekends. Next to JLT park there has also been a small separate entertainment area with bouncy castles and a small train. Entrance fee to those has been around 15 dirhams.