During our yearly travels, we always make a pit stop in Dubai. Whether it’s for a week or longer, Dubai was home to me for many, many years. It’s where my husband and I first met…before Dubai was on anyone’s radar. We still have dear friends that live in Dubai whom we love to spend time with, and with their help, we’ve compiled this list of 10 kid-friendly activities to do in Dubai with kids.
Dubai does have a lot of glitz & glam and luxurious things to do. But, if you want to take the kids on your next trip to this fast-growing and every changing Middle Eastern metropolis, don’t worry because there are plenty of kid-friendly things to do!
10 Things to Do with Kids in Dubai, UAE
Dubai Canal Boatride
It’s been a year since the Dubai Canal officially opened, and it has changed the city landscape for the better. Our dear friend took our family for a ride on his boat starting at the Palm all the way down the 1.98 miles (3.2km) canal to the Creek in Old Dubai.
Our favorite part of the Canal would be the motion-operated waterfall over the Sheikh Zayed Road bridge. There are sensors that detect a boat nearby and shutoff the waterfall…which the kids absolutely loved experiencing!
Desert Safari/Overnight Desert Camping
If there’s one thing I recommend not missing when you’re in the UAE, it is a desert safari.If you’re looking to disconnect from the fast-paced city life, heading out into the desert is a great way to do so. Did you know that each emirate (there are seven that make up the UAE) has different color sand?
I remember the good old days where my family, friends, and I would spend our weekend’s out camping in the desert. We’d take our tents, grills, and bbq while watching the incredible daily desert sunsets. If you’re visiting Dubai with kids, I recommended taking a Sundowner desert safari tour
– it includes everything from dune bashing in a 4×4, getting to see the sunset over the dunes, dinner and entertainment at a bedouin-style camp – a worthwhile experience.
Head to the Beach
We wouldn’t be beach bums from Hawaii if this wasn’t high on our list of things to do. Dubai is pleasant (except for the summer time temperatures) for a lot of the year, and there are some lovely public beaches to go and soak up the sunshine.
Spend the day Taking a Culinary Class
Since Lou Lou and Jaf are homeschooled with an emphasis placed on culinary worldschooling, I’m always on the lookout for cooking classes or food tours to teach them more about the place they’re visiting.
Dubai has a number of culinary classes for kids, but the one we loved that had a hands-on learning experience was with SCAFA (School of Culinary and Finishing Arts) which you can read all about here. Because Dubai is so diverse the cooking classes Lou Lou and Jaf had included cooking styles from Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
Create Your Own Food Tour
Dubai is seriously under appreciated when it comes to its diverse dining options. No matter what cuisine you’re looking for, and at your price point, you can find it in Dubai.
Since we’re so food-focused, we make it a point to try new restaurants and hole-in-the-wall spots when we’re in Dubai, and thanks to our local friends, we have a never-ending list of places to try and end up making our own custom food tours as we explore the different areas of Dubai. Wondering where to dine in Dubai? Check out our 2015 and 2016 list of kid-friendly restaurants in Dubai.
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Dubai Miracle Garden
Ever wondered where the world’s largest flower garden is located? Well, I have your answer…it’s in Dubai! Dubai’s Miracle Garden
is home to more than 45 million blooming flowers, all displayed in a variety of unique sculptures and designs.
The kids really enjoyed looking at the impressive floral designs – they saw a gigantic floral plane, how cool is that?! And, for anyone that wants to up their Instagram game, this place is an Instagram lovers dream!
Get Snowy at Ski Dubai
The kids love skiing (we’ve been going to Whistler every ski season
for the past couple of years) and have skied in both Canada and Japan, and couldn’t wait to try it in Dubai…of all places.
Did you know that the world’s largest (it’s a theme) indoor ski slope is located in Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates. If you want to learn how to ski and don’t have access to snowy weather in the winter, then we can’t recommend Ski Dubai enough. The conditions are perfect for first timers learning the basics of skiing – read Christabel of Where’s Bel’s experience of learning how to ski at Ski Dubai
Unleash Your Creativity at the Jam Jar
I remember when I used to go paint at The Jam Jar back when I used to live in Dubai. It was a great way to relax from a stressful day at work, unleash my creativity on canvas, and meet other art-enthusiasts.
My kids love to be creative, and since they’re homeschooled, we love exploring their passions, one of them being art. The Jam Jar
is a community art space in Dubai that offers art workshops, DIY painting spaces, and a year round calendar of events and exhibitions that your kids are guaranteed to enjoy.
Watch Wildlife in Ras Al Khor
I remember seeing the flamingoes at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
during the winter months when I’d be driving home from work on Sheikh Zayed Road. Thousands of birds use these wetlands during their migration period and the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area that’s right outside the bustling city.
Even though the sanctuary is only 3.7 miles, it’s extremely diverse featuring mudflats, mangroves, lagoons, salt flats and is home to more than 20,000 birds. Spotting and counting the various birds makes for a great kid-friendly (and educational) activity.
Jump Around at Bounce
We try to avoid spending time in Dubai during the summer months – we all know how brutal they can be, but if that’s not possible, we stay indoors as much as possible and have to get creative with the how the kids spend their days.
And, there you have it – some of the kid-friendly things that we do when we’re in Dubai. Do you live in Dubai and have kids? Let us know in the comments below what you like to do with them.