With amusement parks, shopping centres and plenty of kid’s activities, Abu Dhabi is the ultimate family destination. Get your thrills and spills at one of the city’s water parks, ignite little ones’ love of wildlife at the zoo and have everyone from tots to teens kept busy at the many entertainment venues. Plus, the UAE’s capital is all about breaking boundaries; experience the fastest roller coaster in the world, the Gulf’s very first theme park, and the world’s largest indoor theme park.
And to make planning your holiday that little bit simpler, we’ve rounded up the very best family attractions and family-friendly hotels in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi Family Activities:
The best family-friendly hotels in Abu Dhabi
Checking into a family-friendly hotel doesn’t have to mean giving up on the luxury element of your holiday – far from it when you’re visiting Abu Dhabi! Thanks to stunning beaches, gourmet dining options and award-winning spas, alongside exciting activities for kids and teens, all members of the family are sure to fall in love with these resorts.
Yas Island Rotana
At the fantastically family-friendly Yas Island Rotana you can enjoy unlimited access to Yas Waterpark, as well as being conveniently close to Yas Waterworld, Yas Marina Circuit, and Ferrari World during their stay. The hotel has a heated outdoor swimming pool, a kids’ pool, tennis courts, and more. Be sure to head to the sauna during your stay; it’s the perfect pick-me-up after a busy day exploring Abu Dhabi.
Other features include:
- Six restaurants and bars
- Massage rooms
- Fitness centre
- Steam and sauna
With contemporary interiors and modern facilities, Yas Island Rotana is a great place for families to relax after a day of fun.
With sumptuous interiors, legendary five-star service and expansive leisure facilities, Emirates Palace delivers Arabian-style grandeur. When they aren’t splashing in the waters that lap the pristine private beach, little ones are kept busy with swimming clinics, arts and crafts, mini water polo sessions, lazy river races, face painting, and other exciting activities. And while tots and teens are entertained, head to the spa with its indulgent treatments including a 24-karat gold facial.
Other facilities include:
- Tennis courts
- Sun decks
- Two swimming pools with water slides
- 1.3 km private beach
- Spa and two fitness centres
- An array of sports facilities, including football, beach volleyball and badminton
- A kid’s club
At the end of a busy day retreat to your elegant room with marble bathroom, complimentary butler service and iPad control stations.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Central
Looking out over an immaculate private beach, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal is a top choice for families. With babysitting services and an excellent kids club that has a new activity happening every hour of the day, until 10pm, they’ll be kept entertained while you sunbathe the day away. Plus, you can treat yourself to a spa or beauty treatment before heading off on an excursion as a family.
Speciality features include:
- Health club
- Hair and beauty salon
- Retail stores
- ESPA with steam room, salon and hammam
- Easy access to excursions and boat tours
As well as a private beach, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Central boasts one of the largest swimming pools in the Middle East.
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
Offering incredible ocean views and close proximity to the city’s major attractions, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi is a popular choice for all types of travellers, though there is a focus on families, with thoughtful inclusions from child-sized bathrobes and slippers to stepping stools, kids’ menus, child care and more. Treasure Island Children’s Club at Nation Riviera Beach Club is shaped like a pirate ship for kids 4 – 10 years and is free to hotel guests.
- Rooftop swimming pool
- Beauty lounge
- Watersports including paddle boarding, water skiing and catamaran cruises
- Helicopter tours
Sample one of the signature cocktails while the children are entertained at the kid’s club or enjoy pure bliss on a sun lounger at the rooftop swimming pool.
Theme parks in Abu Dhabi
Swap the beach for one of the many thrilling theme parks Abu Dhabi has to offer. While it may be hard to drag yourself away from the golden sands, you won’t regret doing so when you visit these adrenaline-filled parks packed with rides for all ages.
Inspired by the UAE’s heritage of pearl diving, Yas Waterworld is the only Emirati-themed waterpark in the world. There are over 40 rides, all themed around ‘The Legend of the Lost Pearl’ and include five attractions you won’t find anywhere else on. Ride the largest hydro-magnetic powered six person tornado water slide, tackle the world’s longest surfable sheet wave for flow boards and bodyboards or dare to ride the 550m rollercoaster – the only rollercoaster where you can shoot water at targets, trigger special effects and drop water bombs on the people below you.
Boasting many world records, Ferrari World is the first Ferrari branded theme park, as well as the largest indoor theme park in the world. Not only that, but it has the fastest rollercoaster in the world – Formula Rossa – which races at a speed of 250km per hour in 4.9 seconds. Visit the largest Ferrari Store, race Ferrari-themed go-karts, and enjoy live shows and racing memorabilia. There are a number of rides suitable for different age ranges, so all members of the family will be entertained.
Wadi Adventure is the first man-made white water rafting, kayaking and surfing facility in the region. It is home to the largest man-made surf wave and the longest kayaking channel in the world – and its artificial beach is a great place to relax and soak up the sun. While it may be best reserved for adults, teenagers and older children, little ones can enjoy swimming in the splash area and pool with ocean-inspired waves. They often host swimming lessons here too, should your child want to learn a new skill.
Activity Centres in Abu Dhabi
Designed for toddlers and younger children, Abu Dhabi is home to a number of activity centres. Many are located inside shopping malls allowing you to enjoy browsing an array of luxury shops and high street stores or grab a bite to eat while younger travellers are kept entertained.
The largest and newest indoor play centre can be found in Yas Mall, Fun Works has two floors jam-packed with fun and educational attractions, from rollercoasters and arts and craft workshops to a five-storey soft playhouse. And for older children, there are skill-based games and an arcade centre.
Located in Dalma Mall, Kidz Factory opens kids of all ages to a world of creativity. A centre focused on arts, hobbies, and edutainment, they’ll be entertained with painting ceramics, making their own slime and decorating pizzas, cupcakes and cookies. And for the more active, there’s a jumpy trampoline, climbing walls, zipline and foam pit.
Family day trips in Abu Dhabi
While Abu Dhabi itself has plenty of things to do and see, you may want to explore a little further and spend quality time with the whole family. Whether you want to spend a night in the desert, go walking through a nature reserve or get active, there’s an excursion just right for you and your loved ones.
Get your heart racing on an exciting 4x4 desert safari. The trip includes a chance to sandboard down the dunes and ends with dinner in a large open-air camp in the middle of the desert. You can sample traditional Arabic food and enjoy entertainment, such as belly dancing, camel rides and henna art.
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve
For a different sort of day out, consider paying this reserve a visit as a family to see the location's incredible 250 plus flamingo population.
For those who love nothing more than capturing the beauty of nature through a lens, you'll find plenty of photo opportunities around the reserve. It takes around 45 minutes to an hour to walk around the self-guided trail and is a popular spot for some light exercise for tourists and locals alike visiting the area.
Zayed Sports City
Take shelter from the blazing Middle Eastern sunshine with an ice skating session at Zayed Sports City. Prefer to stay off the ice? The venue is also home to the largest bowling alley in Abu Dhabi and an e-sports gaming centre where you can compete against other players from around the world.
Regardless of whether you’re normally a sports fan or not, it’s impossible to not enjoy a day out at Zayed Sports City thanks to the abundance of activities available. From snooker and paintball to boxing and football, you’re surrounded by opportunities to get moving and have fun.
What are you waiting for? Start planning your holiday to Abu Dhabi with our handpicked selection of luxury hotels.