There are so many family activities in Dubai, knowing which to choose can be daunting – that’s where I come in!
Dubai is one of the world’s best family holiday destinations. There is so much to do for adults and children, with year-round sunshine, glorious beaches and an endless supply of theme parks. It seems like every year there are even more family activities in Dubai to choose from, hopefully my top tips below will help you plan a family holiday in Dubai to remember.
Top tips for family activities in Dubai
The first thing you need to consider is the time of year you are travelling. If you are going to be in Dubai from November to April, the average temperature is a balmy 28 degrees, so outdoor family activities in Dubai are ideal. If, on the other hand, you are travelling during the summer months, when temperatures are regularly over 40 degrees, believe me, you will need air-conditioning!
Something else worth noting is that the cost of living in Dubai is very high, entrance fees to attractions are not cheap, so it is really important that you book excursions and theme parks before you travel. Not only will it save you money, but you will be able to budget your spending money much more efficiently.
I collaborated with Attraction Tickets Direct, who offer a wide selection of theme park tickets and activities in Dubai, at low prices! They the UK & Ireland’s largest provider of theme park tickets, who send you real park tickets (not vouchers) with free delivery and no credit card fees.
I am just back from a family holiday in Dubai and Attraction Tickets Direct arranged all my trips and attractions. Everything worked out perfectly, all tickets, trips and prices were excellent. Check out my recommendations for the best family activities in Dubai below, which includes some free things to do in Dubai as well as it’s top attractions 😉.
Outdoor family activities in Dubai
Atlantis The Palm, The Lost Chambers Aquarium & Aquaventure Water Park
Atlantis is a must visit if travelling to Dubai with kids. Located on Palm Island, the excitement starts as soon as you board the monorail to get there (note the monorail is cash only). My kids loved the train journey, but when they saw Atlantis The Palm Hotel in the distance, it was like seeing Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland for the first time.
The train stops right outside the hotel and once you go inside, it is sensory overload. Home to 1500 rooms, 23 different dining options and a world class aquarium, it really has the wow factor. Be warned, your kids will want to know why you are not staying there!
Make sure you arrive early and go straight to Aquaventure waterpark. You will need a full day there and it closes earlier than the Lost Chambers Aquarium. My advice is spend the day at the waterpark, enjoy a nice meal afterwards and visit the Aquarium in the evening time.
We loved the 2km river ride, its almost like a lazy river but has some rapids along the way. It is a great way to climatise yourself with the waterpark and it is suitable for all the family. Some of our favourite rides in Aquaventure were The Falls, Aquaconda and Zoomerango. There are plenty of rides for kids of all ages, with Splashers Island for younger kids, a dolphin encounter, as well as Poseidon’s Revenge or the Leap of Faith for adrenaline junkies!
Price for a combo ticket to Aquaventure and the Lost Chambers Aquarium is €86 for adults and €68 for children.Book tickets here
Desert Safari & Sunset Barbecue
This was one of our favourite family activities in Dubai. While theme parks and water parks are great family days out, you could be anywhere in the world. When we were out in the middle of the Arabian desert, we felt far removed from the skyscrapers of modern Dubai. It felt exotic, cultural and enchanting. The desert safari will always remind us of our family holiday in Dubai.
I checked numerous prices before booking with Attraction Tickets Direct and I was surprised at the value for money they offered. All of their modern 4-wheel drive jeeps take six people, so depending on how many are in your family, you may or may not, have a private tour.
We were collected from our hotel by jeep and brought straight out to the desert. We enjoyed a few photo stops before riding or ‘dune bashing’ across the dunes to a Bedouin camp. We all loved the dune bashing, we screamed with excitement the whole time. It was great fun and not at all sickening, which I was expecting.
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We arrived at the Bedouin camp in the middle of the desert and were treated to a tasty BBQ with starters and side dishes. This was followed by belly dancing and Tanoura dancing. The show was not really my thing but it was very well done.
Camel rides and all food and drinks were included (separate charge for alcohol) so we relaxed for a couple of hours, enjoyed some sundowners, followed by some star gazing underneath the night sky. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, and I thought it was superb value for a five hour trip.
Price is only €71 for adult and €53 for children age 3-11, this is a lot cheaper than many of the trips offered locally.Book tickets here
Spend the day one of Dubai’s many beaches:
Many hotels have private beaches, but if your hotel or apartment does not have this facility, fear not, Dubai has some great public beaches too. We went to JBR beach, located beside ‘The Walk’. The crystal clear water, white sand and wide selection of restaurants, makes it a great choice for a relaxing day, with the added bonus of it being something free to do in Dubai.
There are lots of water sports available too. Kids can enjoy banana boat rides, parasailing or the inflatable water park on the sea, while you chill out on the beach – it’s a win win!
Visit the Dubai Fountain:
Don’t miss the fountain show outside the Dubai Mall. It is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system and thankfully is another free thing to do in Dubai! There are shows every 30 minutes from 6pm to 11pm. There are many restaurants with outdoor tables so you can combine dinner with the show, but make sure you get there early, as outside tables can be hard to get.
We ate in Serafina and had a birds eye view, although we did pay heavily for the privilege – €200 for pizza and a few beers for a family of four! However, they do serve alcohol (many restaurants don’t), and they have a good kids menu! The portions are huge, so you can always box leftovers and have it for lunch the following day.
Dubai Parks & Resorts
Dubai Parks and Resorts is made up of three different parks, Legoland, Bollywood Park and Motion Gate, the latter being a park dedicated to three of the largest motion picture studios in Hollywood. Motion Gate has 27 rides and attractions and a host of street performances, there is something here for all ages.
Younger kids will love Shreks World as well as Kung Fu Panda, Smurfs and Madagascar performances, while teenagers will love The Hunger Games attraction. Many parts of Motion Gate are indoors, which comes in handy if you need to escape the hot sun.
Bollywood Park is the first theme park dedicated to Bollywood. It has thrilling rides, elaborate performances, a live stunt show, as well as beautiful scenery and a replica of the Taj Mahal. Legoland is another must visit for any Lego enthusiasts or young children. You will probably need a full day here as there is a waterpark on-site too.
One day tickets are available from €32 to Motion Gate and Bollywood. Day tickets to Legoland cost €59. Why not buy a combo ticket and visit all three parks over two days ?See ALL tickets here
Indoor family activities in Dubai
No visit to Dubai would be complete without visiting the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Chances are the kids will have heard about it in school, or have seen Tom Cruise scale it in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. There are two different viewing platforms and I was told the view is similar from both.
We decided to go with the cheaper option and just visit the 124th floor, rather than the 148th floor, as the difference in price was €244 for four of us!
Dubai regularly gets sand storms in the morning, so I advise going in the afternoon when the visibility is clearer. The entrance is located inside the Dubai Mall so it is a good idea to combine a visit to the Burj Khalifa with some shopping or the Fountain Show, just outside it.
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Prices with Attraction Tickets Direct are only €36 per adult and €26 per child, this is much cheaper than booking locally!Book tickets here
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Located inside the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is not only a great family day out, but it can be a welcome break from the heat during the summer months. There is a huge ski slope with chair lifts, it really feels like a ski resort! Don’t worry if you are a novice, there are plenty of instructors there to give lessons.
It is not all about skiing, you can also try snowboarding, tobogganing, snow tubing and even zorbing. Younger kids can join in or simply play in the snow, but make sure you don’t miss the ‘March of the Penguins,’ when penguins waddle across the snow in a delightful procession. The penguin march takes place 3 to 4 times a day.
A Ski Dubai super pass costs €67 which includes full day entry to the snow park. You can exit and return, so you can take a break and do some shopping in the mall. You have full access to the toboggan slopes, twin-track bobsled, giant snowball ride, snow cavern, snowball gallery and the ‘March of Penguins’ parade. Snow jacket, pants, boots, socks and helmets for children are also provided. Note you need to book a separate ski pass if you want to ski.Book tickets here
IMG Worlds of Adventure:
Not only does Dubai have the world’s tallest building and the world’s biggest shopping mall, it also has the world’s largest indoor theme park, IMG Worlds of Adventure. This is a great option if you want to avoid the hot sun.
There are five different adventure zones including Marvel, Cartoon Network and dinosaurs themed areas. Meet your Marvel super heroes or enjoy thrilling rides, including Avengers Battle of Ultron and Spider-Man Doc Ock’s Revenge.
Daredevils can visit the Haunted Hotel. Navigate a maze of corridors and encounter scary characters – this terrifying attraction is only valid for people aged 15 or over! Make sure you download the free app before you go and let it’s GPS tracking direct you to rides with the shortest queues – only in Dubai!
Attraction tickets direct have 1 day tickets from €59 per adult and €52 per child. Note they offer free shuttle transfers from most major tourist destinations in Dubai too.Book tickets here
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post is part of a collaboration with Attraction Tickets Direct, but all views, as always, are my own.