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Must-visit places in Dubai for families

by Tanara Khan on 23 October 2015, 13:10PM

In the final installment of our ‘Expats Guide’ series, blogger and expat Tarana Khan (@sandinmytoesTK) tells us what makes Dubai the perfect family holiday destination…

When you think of Dubai, your mind may instantly visualize glitzy malls, high end shopping, and supercars. But there’s still a lot of Dubai that appeals to families. In fact, having lived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for most of my life, I’d say Dubai is one of the most family-friendly cities in the world. The first thing you would appreciate here is the easy stroller access into public transport, the malls, and even the pedestrian footpaths. There are baby changing rooms almost everywhere, and breastfeeding is officially encouraged by the government.

And what do you do once you get here? Dubai offers a number of entertaining experiences for children and families as a whole. There are always festivals and events happening around the city, so be sure to grab a copy of TimeOut Dubai Kids or download the Dubai Calendar app on your phone to keep track of them.

Here’s a list of places you must visit in Dubai if you’re travelling as a family. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!   

1. The Dubai Mall

The largest mall in the world is right next to the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. You could spend the whole day here, and not have seen everything. Start off the day at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo which the kids will love. Move on to see DubaiDino, a 155 million year old dinosaur fossil that’s 80 feet long. Catch up on shopping while you could drop the kids over at KidZania, where they can fulfill their dreams of being a fireman, doctor, artist, or just about anything! In the evening, don’t miss the beautiful musical fountain show at the foot of Burj Khalifa. And lastly, if heights don’t worry you, get up to the 124th floor of the tallest building ever made, for a spectacular view of the city.


2. Miracle Garden

Never say never in Dubai! Millions of flowers come in bloom at this attraction that opens its doors during the cooler months. Beautifully landscaped flowers and structures make Dubai Miracle Garden a great place to spend a couple of hours and take some gorgeous shots to show friends back home. Kids will also love the Dubai Butterfly Garden right next door. This indoor butterfly park is open throughout the year and lets you get up and close with thousands of winged beauties.


3. Atlantis The Palm 

This resort is located on Palm Jumeirah, the largest man-made island in the world. Here, you could spend a day splashing around in its water park, Aquaventure. Also, pay a visit to The Lost Chambers, a large aquarium modeled after the lost city of Atlantis as described by Plato. You can also swim with dolphins in their Dolphin Bay.


4. Ski Dubai

Yes, you read that right. You can ski in real snow at Ski Dubai, an indoor snow park and skiing slope! It has something to do for all ages. You could build a snowman, or zip in the snow bullet. You may also see the march of the penguins that are resident there.

5. Creekside Park

You could spend a whole day here as well, if the weather is pleasant. This lush park is a great picnic spot, and also has a train ride and outdoor games. It is home to the Dubai Dolphinarium where you can catch live dolphin shows according to schedule. The kids could also check out Children’s City, an indoor science edutainment centre featuring a planetarium, and explorative exhibits. 

6. Jumeirah Beach

This open beach in Jumeirah, Dubai overlooks to The Walk, a European style street dotted with cafes and restaurants. Closer to the beach side itself is a new development called The Beach. Here, you’ll find restaurants, shopping outlets, and even a movie theatre. And then there’s the beach where kids can build sandcastles, or even splash in the mini waterpark, Splash Pad. There’s a fun floating waterpark for adults too!


7. Global Village

Visiting the Global Village is like taking a tour of the world. Located on the highway, this open ground carnival and exhibition has pavilions from countries across the globe. Kids can go on the fun fair rides, or play and win in outdoor games. You could take a boat ride across the canal, visit the light garden, or catch one of the many entertaining performances from international artists. The Global Village is open from November to April.

8. Dubai Creek

The Creek holds a special place in the history of the UAE as it helped the original tribes conduct trade. Today, you can visit the Deira Creek and get glimpses of the ‘old’ Dubai as you see the traditional Dhows (boats) floating away. A dinner aboard one of these dhows is a good experience, and you can even hire a yacht for a fishing trip. Catch a trip to the other side aboard the smaller ‘abra’ boat which has the Historical District and Dubai Museum.


I hope this list has whet your appetite for making Dubai your next family holiday destination! Let me add that this list is in no way exhaustive, and there’s so much more for you and your kids to discover in this evolving city that’s always alive.

Click here to plan your next trip to Dubai.


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