If you think all there is to Dubai is hot weather and sandy shores – think again! With its thrilling theme parks, splashtastic water parks and unique attractions, Dubai is one of our top destinations for families. Here, we've rounded up just a few of our favourite family-friendly activities that you can enjoy together, as well as where to stay.
The best things to do as a family in Dubai
As well as everything on offer at your resort, the city of Dubai itself gives families the chance to see more and make memories together.
You'll find plenty of things to do both indoors and outdoors, depending on your preferences and the time of year you are visiting.
You can escape the sun without missing out on the fun with one of Dubai’s many indoor family-friendly activities. Suitable for all ages, they’re a great choice for those ultra-hot days that Dubai is famed for – if you can drag yourself away from the beach, of course.
Dubai is, of course, renowned for having year-round fantastic weather. Take advantage of this and spend your holiday basking under the Arabian sun. But that doesn’t mean just lounging the day away on the beach – although there’s plenty of that to enjoy too! Dubai is filled with a myriad of fun, outdoor family activities – these are the places to consider planning a trip to.
- The Green Plant - Indoors
- Burj Khalifa - Indoors
- Desert safari - Outdoors
- Waterparks - Outdoors
- Dancing fountains - Outdoors
- Aquariums - Indoors
- Shopping in the souks - Outdoors
- Toy stores in Dubai's malls - Indoors
Visit The Green Planet
For an otherworldly experience, head to the stunning botanical garden: The Green Planet. With over 3,000 animals, fish and plants, this indoor rainforest is incredibly peaceful, transporting you to a tropical paradise. While parents will enjoy the tranquil nature of The Green Planet, children will be enthralled by the chance to get up close and personal with a number of animals, including a sloth encounter and bat cave experience. Those who are feeling brave can even hold a python!
Head to the top of the Burj Khalifa
Dubai's (and the world's) tallest building is an experience everyone in the family will enjoy. Kids will marvel at being whizzed up 148 floors with views of the city way below. Parents can enjoy a glass of something fizzy while encouraging kids to spot everything from roads to the sea in the ant sized scene before them. It's also the perfect spot for those family photos, with such an incredible backdrop to take advantage of.
Sign up for a desert safari
There are endless opportunities to head out into the desert on a guided tour and once you're on the sand you can try everything from sandboarding and camel riding to dune bashing in a 4x4 for a real adrenaline rush.
Plan a day at the waterpark
It's no secret that Dubai can get very warm – our guide on when to visit can help you work out the average temperature during your stay – and so a day at the waterpark could be just what you need to have some fun as a family and to cool off at the same time.
Book your tickets for these top waterparks:
- Aquaventure Waterpark – Located in the iconic Atlantis, The Palm hotel, Aquaventure features everything from water slides that take you through shark filled lagoons to ziplines to shallow splash zones for younger kids to enjoy.
- Wild Wadi Waterpark™ – From family slides to speed slides for adrenaline junkies, Wild Wadi Waterpark™ is where memories are made. We're big fans of the lazy river, the perfect place for a chat and to catch a tan as you lounge around in the slow-moving water.
- LEGOLAND® Dubai – Created for kids aged between two and 12, LEGOLAND® Dubai’s water park is a child's dream. Families can rent their own cabana to return to after slipping and sliding down the iconic LEGO® themed rides around the park.
Stop by the dancing fountains
Everything in Dubai is bigger and better and this doesn't stop even when it comes to fountains. The Dubai Fountain is the most iconic, located on Burj Khalifa Lake, and is completely free to enjoy.
Stop by in the evening to see the jets of water shooting up, backed by colourful lights and 'dancing' along to music. It's like a New Year's Eve celebration every day of the week! These shows last around 10 minutes, taking place between the hours of 6pm and 11pm – perfect for some quick entertainment after an evening of great food and drink in the nearby restaurants.
Make underwater friends at Dubai's aquariums
As well as the Arabian Sea, which plays host to a wealth of stunning marine animals, Dubai also has two iconic aquariums to visit during your stay.
One is located in the Dubai Mall, where you can see 400 sharks and rays gliding through the blue or sign up for one of the animal encounter experiences as a family. Get up close to crocodiles, hang out with very cute Asian otters or spend some time feeding the rays.
Dubai's other aquarium can be found in the 5-star Atlantis, The Palm. If you choose to stay at the resort you’ll benefit from unlimited complimentary access, while non-hotel guests can pay to enjoy this iconic attraction.
Experience the sights and smells of the souks
Spend an afternoon exploring the enchanting stalls and shops of Dubai's many souks. These incredible shopping places offer a snapshot of Arabic culture with authentic wares on display and an incredible blend of smells and sights.
Take a wander around the Gold Souk to marvel at row upon row of glittering gold chains, gold plated ornaments and ornate jewellery.
The Spice Souk is where your senses will be pushed to the max with dizzying scents and incredible colours to take in during your visit. Pick up spices to take home for whipping up those Arabic inspired dishes or just browse the incredible selection on display.
If you're feeling up to it, after the scent overload in the Spice Souk, then you'll find the Perfume Souk just a short walk away. Here you can create signature scents and one-of-a-kind gifts to enjoy once you return home.
Toy stores in Dubai's malls
Dubai's malls have no end of toy stores for kids to enjoy and these shopping destinations offer more than just toys on shelves.
Expect interactive experiences, entertainment and welcoming staff that are dedicated to helping you find the perfect toy to take home. Here are just a couple of our favourites to plan a visit to:
- Hamleys – Dubai's Hamleys is a collection of all the great toys you know and love from the flagship British store. It's one of the largest stores in Dubai Mall, featuring everything from cuddly teddy bears to the latest LEGO® designs. Look out for the in-store events taking place throughout the week.
- The Toy Store – Another Dubai Mall favourite, the aptly named Toy Store can be found near Ski Dubai with two floors of toys for little ones to choose from. You'll find everything from Barbie and trampolines to cuddly toys that make great nap time companions.
The best resorts for families in Dubai
Now you know how to fill your days with family fun, perhaps you're wondering which resorts in Dubai are best for families? With child-friendly features aplenty and lots of ways to unwind for parents and guardians, here are just a few of our favourite family resorts in Dubai.
JA Beach Hotel
Sandy shores, seven (!) swimming pools and sunny days all year round makes JA Beach Hotel a top choice for families visiting Dubai. Little ones can splash around in the waters along the 800 metre beach or join the Kid's Club for days filled with fun, while parents can unwind in the Calm Spa or enjoy a few rounds on the 9-hole golf course.
There are also babysitting services available if you want to indulge in a romantic meal in one of the 25 restaurants sans kids one night.
Lapita Hotel, A Dubai Parks Resort
If you're a family that seeks thrills at theme parks, then the Lapita Hotel, a Dubai Parks Resort is a must. Situated within the incredible Dubai Parks and Resort this Polynesian style hotel offers you convenient access to the many theme parks including LEGOLAND® Dubai, MOTIONGATE™ Dubai and Bollywood Parks™ Dubai.
Ride rollercoasters, watch world-renowned shows and meet and greet your favourite characters from the world of LEGO® and Hollywood.
Atlantis, The Palm
Escape the every day at Atlantis, The Palm a resort modelled on the mysterious lost city. Featuring its very own aquarium (home to over 65,000 marine creatures) a waterpark and 30 restaurants, bars and lounges you'll never get bored in this unique hotel.
The renowned Kid's Club cares for the little ones while parents take a moment to relax, while The Zone is the place for teens to get away from mum and dad and make friends on their holiday. Atlantis, The Palm is the location to make memories as a family – you could stay for weeks and still find new things to do together.
With our list of the best family-friendly activities in Dubai, why not start planning your holiday? There are a number of stunning luxury resorts in Dubai to choose from here at Best at Travel, all of which are paired with convenient flights.