Top Ten things to do in Dubai with children

Things to do in Dubai with children

Dubai is a Marmite sort of a place, you either fall in love and are planning future visits whilst still on the current vacation or you can be put off for life. I have been to Dubai twice and loved it both times. It is true that Dubai is all glitz, glamour and grandeur to a scale that is unbelievable at times. But beyond all the there is still remnants of the Dubai of old and the culture can still be seen and experienced. I would totally recommend Dubai for a family holiday, there is tons to do and children will have a fabulous time. Below are my top ten things to do in Dubai with children and I have included lots of helpful tips to help you make the most of your holiday.

1.  Water Parks


Credit: Wild Wadi Water Park

Dubai has two world class water parks. The older park of Wild Wadi is located next door to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel (it is free if you are staying in the JBH group of hotels) has been around for years and is always a fantastic day out. With the combination of rides, swimming pools and a whole host of water activities, you are guaranteed to have a fab day out.

United Arab Emirates-Aquaventure Dubai tourism destinations

Credit: Aquaventure Dubai

The newer Park, the Aquaventure is to be found at the Atlantis Hotel on Palm. There are loads of cool aspects to the park from the crazy Leap of Faith ride (my 14 year old nephew returned from Dubai yesterday and was raving about the ride!) for the real adrenaline junkies to the lazy river which is the epitome of relaxation.  Whichever water park you choose will be a great day out.  Its not cheap but the rides are awesome and all children will have a great day.

Tip: I highly recommend that you purchase a copy of The Entertainer which gives you 2 for 1 and discounts on loads of food places etc.  The Entertainer will give you 2 for 1 entry to both of the water parks and is the only real discount that is available (trust me I have checked for them!)  

2.  Shopping Malls

The Dubai Mall At Night_tcm87-25015

Credi: Dubai Mall

There are malls literally scattered all through Dubai and it is often joked that shopping is the nation’s pass time. We are not one for shopping (primarily because Doc hates it) but the malls offer so much more than just the bet shopping in the world.  Dubai Mall for example, despite being the largest shopping mall in the world is also home to Dubai Aquarium, KidZania, an ice rink, Sega World, the entrance to the Burj Khalifa amongst some of its attractions. On the other side of Dubai the Wafi Mall not only offers great shops but is also houses a leisure centre including world class pool and lazy river. Every evening at night, the shopping centre will also be home to a fantastic free light show which will be restarting on 1st November 2015.

3.  Desert Safari

This was one of my niece’s highlights when we visited in 2003. Its does have some touristy elements to it but the kids will have a ball. The evening kicks off with a 4×4 taking you into the vast Dubai desert and sand dune and you will experience some tummy turning dune driving. We had my mum in our group so the driver does tailor it for your group but we saw some of the cars doing some crazy moves to the total delight of the passengers on board. You get to have a few minutes on the sand dunes. For me walking around the dunes was a total wow moment, when you suddenly realise how vast the world is. Then its on the to desert for a BBQ under the stars, some camel riding and some belly dancing.  All in all, a fantastic was to spend an evening.

Tip:  Again the Entertainer has vouchers for a number of providers who offer the safari.

4.  Beaches

dubai beach

Dubai has some fantastic beaches and the sea is truly a glorious kind. Our little adventurers loved the beach and outside of the blistering heat hours, you can have some truly relaxing times of chilling on the beach. Some of my favourite memories from our trip in 2011 was just enjoying precious family moments, when you sit back, relax and enjoy the simple things in life with your loved ones.

Tip: If you are staying in one of the city hotels, one of the best public beach is that at Jumeirah Beach Residence. The area is clean and is fabulous as it is also home to a huge range of restaurants from most corners of the world. 

5.  Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

Credit: Dubai Mall

The building needs no introduction and is renowned throughout the world as the tallest building in the world (which will be worth a visit just to be able to say ythat you have been there!). The lifts to the top and crazy fast and counting how many seconds and floors you pass shows just how fast you travelling. The views from the top are amazing as you will have all of Dubai at your feet.

A few tips If you are visiting:

  • I would recommend standing at the feet of the building outside and just look up, its crazy how you cannot see the top and little adventurers will be amazed.
  • I would recommend booking the tickets online in advance as many of turned up and al the tickets for the remainder of the day have been sold out, so its best to avoid disappointment.
  • Also an ideal time would be just before Dusk so you can see Dubai and all its wow factor at Day and night.
  • No pushchairs are allowed to the top of the Burj. I would highly recommend a carrier as it makes life so much easier for all involved. We visited when Raihan was 6 months and the carrier was ideal. That said he was mobbed by a whole bunch of tourists for most of our time at the top 

6.  Dancing Fountains

Dubai Fountains_tcm87-25005

Credit: Dubai Mall


This is one that the kids will love. After 7pm every half an hour, the fountains at the back of Dubai Mall are the highlight of the nights entertainment and are part of a show which last several minutes. The fountains are choreographed to different types of music and will literally dance in tune with the music. Like everything in Dubai, this is done to an amazing effect and executed with top notch competence and accuracy. The effects are amazing and your little (and big) adventurers will be totally wowed.

Tip: I would combine a visit here after the Burj Khalifa as you will already be in the building, saves you travelling to the mall on a separate day. 

7.  KidZania

KidZania Dubai

Credit Dubai Mall

These are slowly opening all over the world but Dubai was home to one of the first ones in the world. It sounds like fabulous fun for children. The attraction allows children to experience the world of grown-ups.    There are over 80 different roles to choose from including that of surgeons,  chefs, radio hosts, photographers, and mechanics among others.  KidZania is located in the Dubai Mall and can easily be combined with one of the other activities in the Mall.

8.  Dhow Cruise

This is a really lovely night experience. A dhow is a traditional Emirati boat and you will be served some stunning cooked food. The little adventurers may not enjoy the food but will be enchanted by the boats, glistening building lights and sailing along in the night.  It is towards the older part of Dubai near the marina and creek and if nothing else, the view from these at night will be enchanting.

9.  Cultural Tour

This is probably one for those travelling with older children.  One of my all time favourite travel bloggers and inspiration is the amazing Alyson from worldtravelfamily. They visited Dubai in early 2015 and had a fantastic time taking a few cultural tours through the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.  I love the sounds of these tours and I think they are ideal to bringing out the real Dubai and the many interesting cultural and historic elements of this fast developing nation to younger travellers.  Travelling is a great way to educate and enhance our children’s understanding of the world.  Read Alyson’s review here.

10.  Metro

This is a great way to travel around Dubai and I recommend at least a journey or two on these. The metro line is raised above ground level so offers a different view of the city. The metro is cheap, clean and efficient and fully air conditioned. Mixing up the modes of transports is always great fun with children and I would highly recommend it.

There are so many things more that you can do with children, Dubai has a myriad of family adventures and I would wholeheartedly recommend it as a family destination. Even in the height of summer there are so many activities that can be done in the evening or inside that it doesn’t take away from the holiday at all.


I am a traveller, mother and blogger. We love to go on adventures (big and small, near and far) and strive to show our children how amazing and beautiful the world is! I caught the travel bug many moons ago and despite having three little adventurers, I still suffer from "itchy" feet. We love the great outdoors and one another. Come and join the fun :)

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16 Responses

  1. What great tips – you are right about it being like marmite. We haven’t been, because I’ve been put off by the expense and the ‘fakeness’ of the city but the more I read about it, the more I’m changing my mind! Those water parks look amazing. Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

    • Nisbah says:

      Ting, you have to go. Dubai is a little ‘fakey’ but once you make peace with this you will have a fantastic time. There is so much there for families, that you will be spoilt for choice. Gutted we are not doing a stopover on route to Thailand. Maybe in 2016 🙂

  2. Nizpah I wanted to go before I read this amazing review now I need to go, it is 100% on my travel wish list xxx

    • Nisbah says:

      Sarah, go go go! Your boys will love it. There is so many things to do, you can even take camels into the desert, honestly as a family holiday destination there is loads of options.

  3. Wander Mum says:

    I love all of these… I just got back from Dubai and blogged about the pros and cons. It really is a fantastic place and brill for children. I think you just have to embrace it and the fairness and grandeur. I still have some of these to tick off the list, like the desert safari so will have to do them next time we go. #thelist

    • Nisbah says:


      I totally agree with your post. Dubai has always been my fun destination and I think if you look past the OTT aspects of it, you can have a fantastic time. the desert safari is awesome. I havent taken my little adventurers to it as they were too little but hopefully soon 🙂

  4. George says:

    Great choice and tips.

  5. Steph says:

    Oh wow – it really does look fabulous for kids! You’re right in saying that many would probably dismiss it as a family holiday – but with these fab tips we are all now armed and dangerous and ready to book!!! Thank you for linking up with #SundayStars Steph xxx

    • Nisbah says:

      Steph you would love it! I think its great for a family holiday and I am surprised more people dont book. You would have an amazing time. Let me know if you ever want any help with hotels etc. We have stayed in a few 🙂

  6. Amera says:

    Hi Nissan. Loving ur blog. Re read this one as we r planning on a holiday in Easter . Been Dubai before but prices r extortionate at Easter. Have u stayed in a city hotel? My recommendations?

    • Nisbah says:

      Hi Amera

      Depends on when you are looking for. If you email me dates of when you are looking to travel to fiveadveturers@gmail,com, people and price range I will have a look for you 🙂

  7. Sumaiya says:

    Having read your review I am looking forward to going later this year. We booked a few weeks ago – a little reluctantly on my part but now- countdown!

  8. It all sounds incredible, I can’t wait to go!

  9. Rifat rasul says:

    Thanks for that information!

  1. October 14, 2015

    […] is on our list of the top 10 things to do with children.  It is a fantastic way to spend an hour or so in the evening and best of all its free.  I would […]

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