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Dubai is an exciting, vibrant city that has something for everyone. The malls are bustling with people and the beaches are full of life. If you’re wondering ‘How can I entertain my kids in Dubai?’
There’s no need to worry – I’ve got you covered! I’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Dubai with kids that will make your trip unforgettable.
We visited Dubai in July and it was extremely hot. It was so hot we struggled doing outdoor activities and even going to the beach. The pool water was even so hot so it was hard to stay cool. However we absolutely loved Dubai! We spent 4 days there total.
30 + Memorable Things To Do With Kids In Dubai
How To Get To Dubai With Kids
We flew to Abu Dhabi from Washington DC on Etihad Airways on a 12.5hr flight. When we got to Abu Dhabi, we spent two days total there. You can read my post on “20 Things To Do With Kids In Abu Dhabi”.
We then rented a car from Dollar Car Rental at the airport and drove to Dubai. It was a short one hour drive and quite an easy drive too. Very similar to driving in the U.S.
Where To Stay With Kids In Dubai
I couldn’t choose a hotel so we stayed at two different hotels in Dubai. Sometimes this helps give me perspective on where to book next. And If I don’t like one, at least I’ll have an enjoyable stay at the next hotel.
We actually had that experience on this trip – we didn’t like the first hotel we stayed at, but we really enjoyed the second one.
Hilton Jumeirah Beach
This hotel is very well located and an easy walking distance from lots of things in the area. It is a beachfront hotel with great views of Dubai, so if you want something centrally located, this is a good choice. The hotel is on the older side and the rooms were just okay.
The hotel was very busy with lots of people, the busiest hotel we stayed at during our entire trip actually. Crazy enough, I got bit my bed bugs at this hotel and we left after one night. A lot of people seem to like it, however I didn’t like it at all. Breakfast was also bleh!
Coming from Abu Dhabi though our standards were a bit high and we were a bit spoiled.
Waldorf Astoria Palm
This hotel is located in the beautiful Palms area of Dubai with a great pool and private beach. We really like this hotel, the service we received here and all the meals we had here. The staff went over and beyond to make sure we had a great stay.
This hotel is more expensive than the other hotels in the Dubai area but after getting bit by bed bugs at the Hilton Jumeirah, I was okay with spending more to be in a nice hotel. The breakfast here was so good which a huge variety. Below is one of the stations.
They also have a kids club here that Aiden loved so much and didn’t want to leave. The first 2 hours are free and then it’s 55Dirham ($14.97 USD) for every additional hour.
Other great hotels in Dubai are
- Gerova – the world’s tallest hotel.
- Atlantis – there’s just so much to do here, your kids will enjoy it.
- Grand Hyatt Dubai
- Jumeirah Beach Hotel
- One & Only The Palm
- Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort
- Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
Things To Do With Kids In Dubai
Dubai Parks and Resorts
A water park AND 3 theme parks, all in one place! Legoland Water Park, Legoland, Motiongate and Bollywood Parks. If you plan to do them all, allow 2-3 days. You can get multi-park passes which give you a bit of a discount on buying individual park entries.
You’ll also find Riverland Dubai at the entrance to Dubai Parks and Resorts. It’s a free entry, themed dining and retail park. The whole complex is a 30-minute drive from Dubai.
Desert Sandboarding and Desert Safari
The desert is an amazing place to explore. Almost all desert safari packages include sandboarding. Most packages are usually a half day excursion with options for camel rides, food, and of course, you get taken there in a 4×4.
You can upgrade most excursions to include other activities such as dune bashing, quad bike riding, falconry displays, or an all-out barbeque. All the big hotels offer desert safari packages, so check with your hotel to see if they have any great deals on offer.
We booked ours on Airbnb – Premium Red Dunes, Quad Bike and Dinner and had SOOOO much fun! Dune bashing was like a roller coaster ride in a car on the sand dunes, quad biking was exciting for Aiden and we all loved the dinner and dance show.
The Green Planet
A biodome housing a tropical rainforest, complete with rainforest animals! This centre has something for kids of all ages. There are also packages for all budgets, from snorkelling with piranhas to camping out in the dome. Kids under 3 get in free.
Here kids can learn about the environment, ecology and sustainability in a fun way. The Green Planet is closed Sundays.
Wild Wadi Water Park
This is another of the many water attractions in Dubai for families. Wild Wadi has different sections for everyone to enjoy, from the kiddie pool to a deep section for those thrill seekers. You can also go on rides and have fun in the wave pools. It’s closed on Mondays.
VR Park Dubai
An indoor, virtual reality theme park that boasts it is the biggest of its kind in the world. As well as amusement park style rollercoasters, there are lots of gaming attractions. There’s really something suitable for any age here, including a toddler-friendly soft-play area.
Great for kids of all ages who love to explore and expend some energy, there are trampolines, dodgeball courts, inflatable slides, caving and climbing activities on offer here. Trampo Extreme is open every day of the week and there are different locations across Dubai.
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
An aquarium and zoo all in one, housing thousands of marine animals. Kids can see sharks and crocodiles up close (from behind a screen), touch and feed various animals, and even do shark cage snorkelling and dives. It’s open every day of the year and there are different entry ticket options.
If the heat all gets a bit much and you’re tired of the shopping malls, how about chilling out at Ski Dubai? It even has its own penguin colony that you can visit. This indoor ski resort has real snow.
Be sure to pack some winter clothes if you plan to visit Ski Dubai when you’re on holiday! The minimum age is 3 years old.
Book A Dinner Dance Show
If you’re looking for something at night to do with family, then watch some traditional dancing! Many excursions include live dance entertainment.
If none of yours do, it’s worth booking a dinner package that includes a live belly dancing or Tanouri dance performance. Tanouri originally comes from Egypt but it’s popular in Dubai.
Take A Day Trip To Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is beautiful and just an hour away from Dubai. Do not visit Dubai without taking a day trip to see the Sheikh Grand Mosque. You’ll absolutely love it just as much as we did. The beauty of it blew my mind away. And it’s even more beautiful in person.
If you prefer to book a tour instead of drive there yourself, then you this is an option for you – Day Tour To Abu Dhabi From Dubai.
A waterpark with a difference: the world’s largest waterpark has 79 slides and attractions, a private beach and a wave rider as well as live marine animals, such as sharks and stingrays in tanks. It’s open every day and your family can easily spend the whole day here.
The standard entry gives you access to most things but if you want to see The Lost Chambers Aquarium too, upgrade to a 1 Day Super Pass.
See A Fountain Show
If you visit the Burj Kalifa, don’t miss the fountains at the foot of the Burj Kalifa. The fountain displays begin in the afternoon and then repeat every 30 minutes from 6pm.
They’re spectacular at night when there are music and light shows. Book a traditional boat lake trip out to Lake Burj to really appreciate the show by night or watch it from the Burj Khalifa building.
Ride A Camel
If you’re in the desert, it’s a must-do! Camel trips can last from one hour to half a day. The price varies depending on what you want and how long your trip is. Most desert safari excursions include camel rides.
Visit The Souks (Markets)
The souks are where you can find traditional items such as gold, spices, and textiles. The most popular souks to visit are the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk, though any of these markets will offer an interesting insight into Dubai’s culture.
Explore Dubai By Water
River taxis and water buses offer a great way to see the Dubai skyline and some of its famous landmarks. Wooden boats called abras offer a more traditional means of exploring the city. Visit Dubai Creek to see another side of Dubai that involves boats rather than cars!
Head to Dubai Marina and get on one of the water buses that take you around the area. The Dubai government website has information on all kinds of public transport, not just the water buses.
The Marina is a residential and business area in Dubai with plenty of restaurants, hotels, bars and shops. The Marina Walk is a popular place to go for shopping or eating out at the cafes that line its boardwalks.
If you’re looking for things to do in Dubai with toddlers, you’ll find the wide promenades and children’s playgrounds are perfect for your little one to run around and expend some energy.
Hit The Shopping Malls
If you’re looking for indoor activities in Dubai for family time out, head for a mall. Dubai is a shopping mecca and the malls are incredible.
There’s something for everyone, whether you want exclusive brands or Arabic clothes. Most malls have entertainment centers too. If you want to focus on just one mall, head for Mall Of The Emirates.
With Dreamscape (a VR cinema), Magic Planet (a family entertainment center with games and rides), Ski Dubai and Yalla Bowling, you’ll be spoiled for choice here.
The Dubai Museum
The Dubai Museum offers insight into the history of this fascinating city and is home to some truly incredible collections. You’ll see how the desert was transformed into one of the world’s most thriving cities and you’ll learn all about Dubai’s traditional culture.
While you’re at the museum, be sure to look at the Al Fahidi Fort, where the museum is housed. The fort was built in 1787 and is right in the heart of old Dubai.
Visit The Beach
Dubai has miles of coastline and plenty of beaches. Whether you want to relax, play at the beach or have a swim with the kids there’s something for everyone.
Beach hotels have access to the beach and some have private beach fronts. If you’re not staying in a beach hotel, try the Marina Beach which is very family-friendly, with kids’ playgrounds and plenty of space.
IMG Worlds Of Adventure
Dubai’s largest indoor theme park is one of the world’s best with four themed zones that showcase some of the hottest Hollywood movies (Marvel, Lost Valley, Cartoon Network and IMG Boulevard). Each zone has its own attractions, rides, shopping and dining areas.
You’ll find Spiderman, Transformers and Jurassic Park within this amazing venue.
Dubai’s Kite Beach is a fantastic family-friendly place to spend the day. Not only does it have a gorgeous sandy beach, you’ll also find kids’ play parks, trampolines, showers and changing rooms, and even WIFI.
You’ll find this beach just off Jumeirah Beach Road, near the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. If you’re looking for some downtime, try the free beach library where you can borrow books for the day.
The Burj Kalifa
The tallest building in the world is an iconic visit for any family. You can purchase tickets online to skip queues. The tower will take your breath away. The star of the show is the viewing deck if you want to see the Dubai skyline. Book your tickets in advance.
The mornings tend to be quieter but if you’re looking for something to do in the evening in Dubai, get a sunset ticket. However keep in mind that sunset is the busiest time to visit.
We got there around 6pm and the lines were so long we didn’t get a chance to make it to the top. Make sure to plan your day accordingly if you want to visit the Burj Khalifa.
Aventura Nature Park
If you’re looking for activities for older kids in Dubai, try the Aventura Nature Park. This treetop adventure park has 24 ziplines and 80 obstacle courses.
There’s an edutainment Nature Trail and if you get hungry, you’ll find plenty on offer at the cafe. They also do night-time activities, so if you’re looking for ways to fill your evenings with your kids in Dubai, this is a great option.
Museum of Illusion
To fill a short gap in your day, head for the Museum of Illusion. Even the youngest kids will find something to fascinate them here. As well as all the different illusion experiences, there’s a Smart Playroom where kids and grown-ups alike can try to solve all manner of puzzles, games and challenges.
They offer Happy Hour tickets Sunday-Thursday mornings. It’s in the Al Fihaidi area by the Creek – combine the museum trip with a boat trip on an abra in the Creek!
Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
If you’re looking for more insight into Emirate life, visit the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. This non-profit organisation was established as an education centre to remove cultural barriers by educating and promoting awareness of Emirati culture.
They offer breakfast, lunch or dinner packages where you’ll sit on Bedouin carpets and cushions to enjoy your traditional meal. Each package includes a presentation and questions are encouraged. Kids can even try on traditional clothing. Book ahead.
They produce a couple of great Kids Explorer Guides activity packs too. The smaller kids pack (4-8 years) includes travel picture stories, stickers, coloring pages and a treasure hunt. The other pack is for older kids and grown-ups.
Dubai Miracle Garden
The garden is a must-see if you’re visiting Dubai with your kids. However, it is closed in the hotter months, so check ahead for opening information.
Allow half a day to really appreciate all the different displays, including enormous Disney characters, a castle and a life-sized plane, all covered in flowers and plants. There are weekly entertainment shows too. Visit later in the day if you want to see the light displays.
If you’re looking for a fun way to spend the day with your kids, visit Global Village. You’ll find all sorts of different markets there, plus restaurants and live entertainment. There are performances to showcase cultures from all around the world.
However, this is another venue that closes in the hotter summer months, so check ahead for their opening times. Entry to the village is not expensive, making this an ideal activity if you’re in Dubai on a budget.
Book A Family Photoshoot
If you want be able to have beautiful memories from your trip, then make sure to book a photographer for a city, beach or desert photoshoot. We always hire a photographer when on vacation to make sure that we can capture some memorable photos.
You can book a photographer on Airbnb – Dubai Photographer or use my tips from this blog post “Tips For Booking A Photographer While On Vacation.”
If you want to get off the beaten track, there’s Al Seef. This is one of Dubai’s oldest neighbourhoods, situated on Dubai’s historic Creek. As well as historic buildings, you’ll also find newer, contemporary architecture so it’s an interesting blend of ‘before and after’ Dubai.
You’ll find shops and restaurants, plus it has all the attractions of the Marina. The Museum of Illusion is in this area too.
Air Maniax is an enormous indoor adventure park, so it’s perfect if you need to recover from the Dubai heat. It can be hard to find things to do with young kids on holiday but Air Maniax is toddler heaven!
Older kids and grown-ups are well catered for too though, with several family activities, ziplines, huge trampolines, a ninja warrior obstacle course and laser games. Allow half a day.
Dinner In The Sky
Imagine the scene: you’re strapped into your seat, airplane-style, around a large communal dining table, and hoisted up 50 meters in the air by a crane. Welcome to Dinner In The Sky!
Up to 22 people can dine together in this unique restaurant in the sky. You’ll be in the ‘restaurant’ for around 90 minutes, so you’re encouraged to visit the bathroom first! Kids over 110cm tall are welcome at this fantastic Dubai experience.
Jet Ski Dubai
If you want to take the kids out for a day on the water, book one of the many water activities available at Nemo Watersports. You can take a jet ski tour of Dubai with 30 minute or one hour packages, accompanied by experienced instructors.
They also offer group speedboat packages. For the thrill seekers, tubing and flyboarding will get the adrenaline pumping!
Rent a Yacht or Boat
Nemo Watersports also does yacht rental, with options from small yachts for parties of 4, right up to larger yachts for 50 people. They provide the boat and the captain, and can provide food and drink too if you wish.
Otherwise, you can bring your own. Rental packages are from 2 hours up to a full day. Yacht Rental Dubai also offers brunch and dinner cruises.
Take a Boat Tour Around The Marina
Enjoy the view of Dubai’s main attractions from the water. Head to the Marina to find a range of boat tours that will take you on fun and informative trips, giving you the best views of Dubai from the water.
Choose a speedboat trip if you want a more exciting tour or opt for a family-friendly fishing boat tour with Go Fishing Tours for a relaxing day out. They also offer Dubai Marina night cruises.
Spend A Night In The Dunai Desert
Experience traditional Bedouin life in an overnight desert camp. You can combine all the usual desert safari activities such as sandboarding, falconry and dune bashing with a sunrise camel trek after spending the night in a spacious Bedouin tent.
You’ll find Dolphin Bay at the Aquaventure Atlantis waterpark. Buying one of the Dolphin Experience tickets will get you free access to the waterpark facilities. Choose from dolphin Meet-and-Greets – perfect for the youngest kids in your group – to deep water swims with dolphins which might appeal to older kids and parents.
Take A Bus or Metro Tour
If you want to enjoy Dubai on a budget, take public transport! The Dubai metro is above ground and gives you a fantastic view of the city. If you want to do a tour, try Hop-On Hop-Off bus tours.
Where To Eat In Dubai
We ate most of our meals at the hotels we were staying at as they each had several restaurants making it very convenient after a busy day exploring.
The day we visited Dubai Mall, we had dinner at ZouZou which is a Lebanese / Turkish restaurant located opposite the food court. Our meal was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it.
Overall Thoughts on Dubai With Kids
So, if you were wondering ‘Is Dubai child friendly?’ you can see that it’s the perfect place to spend some family time! Whether you’re looking for an adventurous day out at one of the world-renowned theme parks, want to relax on white-sand beaches or take in magnificent desert views, there are plenty of activities that will keep everyone entertained.
If you’re planning your next vacation with kids in tow, be sure to check out my list of kids’ activities in Dubai!
Traveling with kids and looking for tips, then make sure to click the links below and read more:
- Best Travel Gear For Kids
- How To Travel With Kids Internationally Alone
- Best Countries To Visit In The World With Kids
- Top Must Have Items When Traveling With Kids
- How To Keep Your Kids Entertained & Happy On Flights
- Everything You Need To Know About Traveling With A Car Seat