Dubai wows first-time visitors with a cool cosmopolitan vibe, an impressive cityscape, glamorous nightlife, massive shopping malls and a desert landscape that can only be described as magnificent.
While this may all be fascinating for adults, the city can also be a fun-filled destination for children with tons of exciting activities from making penguin friends at an indoor winter wonderland to going on a flying adventure with a Bollywood superhero or hanging out in the Smurfs Village.
Here’s our list of the top activities in Dubai to ensure your kids have the most brag-worthy vacation ever.
Get Thrills Galore at Dubai Parks and Resorts
With three theme parks to choose from, you’ll probably find yourself returning to Dubai Parks and Resorts more than once on your desert vacation. At Motiongate, there’s no excuse not to unleash your inner child as you join a Ghostbusters hunt, wander through Smurfs Village or explore Madagascar at the DreamWorks-themed park.
For Lego lovers, Legoland offers 40 rides, shows, attractions and building experiences for kids up to 12, including a model of the Dubai skyline made of 20 million mini bricks.
At Bollywood Park, you’ll be transported to the streets of Mumbai or a rustic village in the countryside, all re-created from sets of popular Indian movies. Enjoy rip-roaring rides and then take in one of the park’s live shows or Bollywood musicals.
Become an Avenger at IMG Worlds of Adventure
Escape the summer heat by soaring into a land of fantasy at IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park, for a day of exhilarating rides and live shows.
Your kids can earn a spot on the Avengers team alongside their favorite Marvel buddies at the Battle of Ultron, ride the thrilling Thor Thunder Spin, fight an evil robot with the Powerpuff Girls and journey through forbidden dinosaur territory. Feeling especially brave? Hop on The Velociraptor, the fastest and tallest rollercoaster in Dubai.
Go Skiing Indoors at Ski Dubai
Experience a winter wonderland in what was once a desert. Explore a chilly cavern, make snow angels (or a snowman) and coast down the slopes at Ski Dubai, an indoor mountain-themed resort spread over 242,000 square feet in the Mall of the Emirates.
A 270-foot-tall mountain offers five slopes of varying difficulty, so it’s a great place to ski for both adults and children. Young ones can meet the resident penguins of the park, play on ice slides and go sledding before warming up with the resort’s signature hot chocolate.
Ride Quad Bikes and Camels on a Desert Safari
While belly dancing and shisha under starlit skies make desert safaris unforgettable for adults, there’s plenty to make them exhilarating for children and teenagers, too.
While adolescents can ride on camels, led by their handlers across the dunes, teens and adults can try their hands at sand boarding to surf down massive dunes and ride quad bikes for a more adventurous desert experience.
Watch Singing Dolphins at the Dubai Dolphinarium
One of the longest-running attractions for children in the city, the Dubai Dolphinarium in Creek Park welcomes visitors and school groups to interact with friendly dolphins and playful seals. Watch as they dance, sing, juggle, paint and perform acrobatic stunts in a series of entertaining live shows perfect for young audiences.
Embark on Epic Adventures at Wild Wadi
Cool off on a sunny day by chasing thrills at Wild Wadi, an Arabian-themed waterpark in Jumeirah that guarantees an adrenaline rush for the entire family.
Whether you prefer body boarding on Wipeout and Riptide FlowRiders, shooting down the 390-foot Jumeirah Sceirah waterslide at 50 miles per hour or tackling unexpected waves at Flood River, there’s a thrill for every age group and adventure appetite at this desert waterpark.
Dive with Sharks at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
While you indulge in some retail therapy at the Dubai Mall, there’s a whole aquatic world for the tykes to discover at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. One of the world’s largest indoor aquariums, the collection is home to diverse marine species, sharks, a giant crocodile and even desert reptiles.
Older kids can ride a miniature submarine inside the massive tank, snorkel, feed tiger sharks from a protected diving cage or fearlessly dive into the aquarium to come face-to-face with them.
But it’s not all just for the brave; for younger children, there’s a mermaid transformation experience and virtual reality zoo.
Skydive at iFLY Dubai
If you and your little ones are a thrill-seeking bunch, give them a taste of adrenaline with indoor skydiving at iFLY Dubai at Mirdif City Center. The experience takes place in a 32-foot glass tunnel under the instruction and watchful eye of experts and is completely safe, even for kids as young as three.
Visit the Dubai Garden Glow and Dinosaur Park
Walk through the fantastical and awe-inspiring illuminated installations at Dubai Garden Glow in Zabeel Park. The venue aims to educate and inspire young curious minds in the fields of science, environment, wildlife and history through gorgeous themed areas, such as a glow-in-the-dark jellyfish pond, an enchanted mushroom forest, a heritage-inspired pearl basket, an animal kingdom and an LED galaxy-themed installation.
Next door, the Dinosaur Park, which features massive life-sized exhibits of prehistoric predators, is like strolling through a Jumanji-themed dream.