Let’s dive straight in with some of Dubai’s waterparks. Wild Wadi – meaning wild oasis – is set over 12 acres and has 30 rides and attractions, including some of the biggest rides outside of the US.
Freefall at 80kph down the 33-metre Jumeirah Sceirah or perfect your moves on the FlowRider surf simulator.
Less high-octane, and much cheaper, is the Caribbean-themed Splash land, which is part of the Wonderland theme park of the same name – the largest in the UAE. Or head to IceLand Water Park for one of the world’s largest manmade waterfalls and the 27 water slides emerging from the towers of Polar Mountain.
Rides and slides
For hot days when you still want to keep active, make a beeline for Al Nasr Leisureland, which has an indoor ice rink and bowling alley. There’s a pool with slides to cool down in outdoors, plus the amusement park excites with bumper cars, rollercoasters and go-karting. It’s open daily, with Tuesday being ladies’ day.
To keep cool in the air-con, Ferrari World is the world’s largest indoor theme park over in Abu Dhabi. It has rollercoasters, racing simulators, karting, shows and junior activities, all Ferrari themed of course.
Any budding builders among you will want to get involved in the six themed lands at Legoland Dubai and waterpark. It has a mix of indoor and outdoor attractions including the air-conditioned interactive Miniland area and building at the indoor Imagination zone. Plus there are rides at Lego City and the Medieval Kingdoms land or underwater Adventure land.
Shops and beyond
There’s much more inside Dubai’s malls than just shops, although there are hundreds of those too. The enormous Dubai Mall has an ice rink, an indoor SEGA theme park and children’s edu-tainment KidZania roleplay city. There’s a real female Diplodocus skeleton in the Grand Atrium and outside you can watch the famous fountain show every afternoon and evening, which is designed by the creators of the Las Vegas Bellagio fountains.
Over at the Emirates Mall is the Ski Dubai centre, where you can swap the desert for some time on piste. Or go to Jumeirah’s Galleria Mall for Adventure HQ’s mini adventure course, climbing walls made to look like dinosaurs and other fun creatures, plus adults’ activities.
The education park at Dubai Creek Park has 7,700 square metres of interactive displays where children can learn about the human body, science and space. There’s also a toddlers’ area, theatre and cafe plus the park overlooks the pretty creek. Admission is around AED 15 for adults and AED 10 for children.
Add on a trip around the Creekside Park for a further AED 5 and you can take in the botanical gardens, 18-hole mini golf, a mini train, cable car and children’s play areas.
With an astonishing 45 million blooming flowers, Dubai Miracle Garden is quite literally awesome. Like something out of a kids’ film, it has full-size castles and aeroplanes made out of flowers, walkways under multi-coloured umbrellas, a butterfly garden in a dome and children’s play area.
Or to get out of the city and see flamingos in the wild, take the family to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Entry is free and if you arrive early you can see the birds feeding, or check when high tide is as this means the flamingos are even closer to the hide.