We welcome today Little City Trips sharing their top tips for exploring the Middle East mega-city of Dubai. The UAE’s largest city is packed full of is a family-friendly venues. The team’s Middle East editor Keri helps us pick out the 5 best.
Somewhere Free: Dubai Mall
Dubai is often accused of being an expensive city but there are plenty of free and very cheap opportunities to keep the kids entertained if you dig just a little beneath the surface. Our favourite place for hours of entertainment is a slightly obvious one though, the Dubai Mall.
Not only is it one of the World’s largest malls, there’s plenty of free entertainment, beyond just shopping. You can see a lot of the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo from the outside without going in, viewing the World’s largest indoor suspended tank.
Check out what’s going on at the giant indoor Olympic-sized ice skating ring and there are two giant toy shops Hamleys and The Toy Store to keep kids busy with interactive displays, as well as a Lego store and plenty of bookshops and other kid-centric shopping, as well as catching a glimpse from beneath of the World’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.
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Somewhere For The Whole Day: Dubai Parks & Resorts
Dubai Parks and Resorts is home to three incredible theme parks and one waterpark. You will never fit the whole lot in on one day, but a 2 Park Pass is perfect for visitors. You can choose between Legoland Dubai, Legoland Water Park, Bollywood Park and Motiongate Dubai – based around your favourite Dreamworks and movie characters.
The Parks are a mixture of indoors and outdoors so you can mix and match depending on the time of year you’re visiting. The Parks are all interconnected by an area called Riverland which is full of restaurants and entertainment options. Shuttles run in the hottest months to get you around or take a leisurely stroll and enjoy an action-packed theme park day.
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Somewhere Outdoors: The Beach & The Walk, JBR
A trip to Dubai is not complete without a trip to the beach. Dubai has plenty to choose from, a lot very well equipped with facilities from change rooms and cafes to splash pad areas, water sports and playgrounds.
Our favourite with the most family friendly facilities is The Beach in JBR. Here there’s a huge variety of extra facilities and always something going on. Your bigger kids can enjoy the inflatable water course just offshore run by Aqua Fun, or take your little ones to the Splash Pad Dubai.
You are also next to The Walk which is a dining and shopping promenade with plenty of family friendly restaurant choices. There’s always an array of art installations or something fun for the kids to enjoy along this pedestrianised street, and also a great range of family hotels with beachfront access.
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Somewhere To Eat: Carluccios At Dubai Mall
Where to start! Dubai is a foodie heaven with spectacular dining to be found from all over the world with the city’s largely expat population. A popular choice if you are new to the foodie scene is to try a Friday Brunch, held at all the major international hotels. This is an all afternoon eating extravaganza that will include a massive buffet and free flowing beverages, and most will include a kids’ corner and family-friendly entertainment.
For first-time visitors, we recommend dining at least once at one of the restaurants in Dubai Mall that overlooks the fountain show at the foot of Burj Khalifa. Carluccios is normally a good choice with kids, nab an outside spot in the winter for prime viewing. There are two lunch time shows then they run all evening on every half hour.
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Somewhere For A Rainy Day: The Green Planet
There won’t be too many rain days in Dubai, but when it does rain it pours! Fortunately, loads of Dubai’s top attractions are entirely indoors to cope with the heat. Our top pick is The Green Planet.
This is a beautiful indoor eco-dome, set at tropical temperatures year-round. You journey through a winding footpath from the top canopy down to the undergrowth, meeting all sorts of forest friends along the way, from sloths to snakes!
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