What are the best things to do in Dubai with kids? Stay tuned to find out! From desert safari tours to boat rides around the marina, this dynamic city has a ton to offer families on vacation. Soaring skyscrapers, beautiful beaches, and all-inclusive hotel options also make Dubai a big draw for travelers. And let’s not forget shopping, fine dining, and a bustling nightlife! Of course, once you figure out your accommodations, sightseeing should be next on your agenda. Kids of all ages will find must-visit attractions across the city, so it’s best to start planning your itinerary beforehand. What it’ll include depends on your family’s interests, like whether you’re more interested in cultural destinations, sightseeing, or animal encounters. Either way, this parent-approved list of Things To Do in Dubai With Kids is a great place to start searching for inspiration. Please keep reading for our suggestions!
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Take a Desert Safari Tour
Explore Dubai’s desert terrain with a special safari tour! This part-tour, part-adventure lasts several hours and can be booked through companies such as Platinum Heritage, Desert Safari Dubai, or Arabian Adventures. It’s recommended for all ages, though older kids may be more attentive to the experience. Ranging from early morning to late evening options, kids will have the opportunity to learn more about Dubai’s ecosystem and wildlife in the process. Plus, they may even spot native wildlife, like the Arabian oryx, along the way! Though most tours vary in meeting spot, duration, or location, they all serve a similar purpose: to educate travelers about Dubai’s history through a series of unforgettable encounters. Ride a camel, witness a Falcon show, or get a henna tattoo! Kids will have a great time feeling a part of the local culture, and the whole family can share a bonding experience.
What Our Families Say
“We took an overnight camping safari with Platinum Heritage. While one of the more expensive options for desert safaris, we chose it because of the high reviews, and it lived up to them. We got to learn about Falconry, had a desert cookout with great entertainment, and then enjoyed fantastic star-gazing. In the morning we learned about Bedouin culture, rode camels, and then enjoyed a desert safari in our restored 1960’s Land Rover. The guide personable and informative, and all of the amenities were top notch.”– Sarah Boyd
“Our concierge recommended booking our desert safari through Platinum Heritage, and we loved every minute. We drove through a private desert reserve in vintage Land Rovers, watched an impressive falcon show, and had a four-course dinner at an authentic Bedouin camp. After dinner, we rode camels, tried a shisha, henna painting, and ended the night watching some traditional performances under the stars.
Platinum Heritage has a variety of package options varying in price, and will provide transportation to and from your hotel. While they do accommodate children of all ages, I personally feel this unique experience is best suited for children 8 years and up.”– Melissa Nowacki Bourgeois
Stay for a Show at the Dubai Dolphinarium
Dolphins are some of Dubai’s most treasured creatures. At the Dubai Dolphinarium, kids can watch the animals and their cute seal friends, trained to perform fascinating tricks! Ideal for all ages, the 45-minute extravaganza features fun dancing, singing, and juggling. Shows occur at 11 am and 6 pm on weekdays, with an extra 2 pm show on weekends. The Dolphinarium also hosts an exotic bird show that might be of interest to curious children, particularly if they want to learn about parrots, cockatoos, toucans, or falcons. Birds are allowed to fly and interact with the audience, making it more immersive than the dolphin show. Catch both if you have the time! Children over the age of 8 can also participate in the Deep Swimming With Dolphins program if they want an up-close look. End your visit at the Mystical Mirror Maze, a labyrinth that’ll amaze adults and children alike!
Enjoy Indoor Fun at Ski Dubai
Families can escape the heat at Ski Dubai! Located in the Mall of the Emirates, this kid-friendly destination is the city’s largest indoor snow park. Whether you want to ski or snowboard, it has a range of packages catering to different skill sets and ages. Though little ones over the age of two can enter, parents must supervise anyone under fourteen. To experience everything the park has to offer, you can book the Snow Premium package, which includes a skiing and snowboarding lesson and unlimited access to the park’s other activities. This includes tubing, bobsledding, rock climbing, and a chance to spend 40-minutes in the Ski Dubai’s Penguin Encounter. Children will love to interact with the cute colony of Gentoo and King Penguins, and they’ll learn some educational facts during the process! This is one of the best things to do in Dubai with kids.
What Our Families Say
“Skiing in the desert is perhaps one of the strangest concepts for most tourists but it’s fun watching people who have never seen it before touching snow for the first time! There is a small snow play area with tubing and the larger ski slope. If you would just like a birds eye view, ask for a window seat at the Cheesecake Factory where you can dine while watching all the fun!”– Michaela Conomos
Visit the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is a double-hitter for kids interested in aquatic life! Located on the Dubai Mall’s ground level, it’s the largest suspended aquarium in the world. It also houses 140 animal species and over 300 different kinds of sharks! Kids can spectate while professional divers lure sharks with buckets of bait, bringing the creatures just feet away from the Aquarium’s glass enclosure. At the Underwater Zoo, be sure to set aside some time to see King Croc, a crocodile that’s still expected to grow beyond its present weight of 1000 pounds. There’s also a penguin, otter, and stingray encounter, plus the option for more adventurous kids to snorkel. Children who are more technologically-inclined will probably be interested in the complex’s newest addition: a virtual reality zoo. There, they can watch gorillas roam through the jungle, or follow a herd of elephants through the Sahara.
Book a Boat Ride Around the Marina
Encounter the city by the sea with a boat ride around the Dubai Marina! From fishing charters to sunset cruises, this waterfront attraction is great for travelers who want to see a different side of Dubai. Vetted companies such as Boat Tours Dubai, The Yellow Boats, and Dhow Cruise Dubai have all set up shop along the marina to offer a ton of customizable packages. Families can either book a private tour or a shared charter boat, for example, equipped with experienced multilingual guides who are ready to teach you more about the Dubai waters. Lasting anywhere between one to three hours, these tours cover Dubai’s history and its recent transformation into an international destination, designed to keep the whole family enthralled in the narrative. The specifics of what you see will depend on which company you book, but you can guarantee it’ll be entertaining either way!
Before booking a tour with Boat Tours Dubai (email@example.com), The Yellow Boats, or Dhow Cruise Dubai (firstname.lastname@example.org), check the companies’ COIVD-19 policies.
Explore Dubai Garden Glow
Watch your imagination come alive at Dubai Garden Glow! Located within Zabeel Park, this kid-friendly attraction is truly a magical experience for the entire family. The recreation park is filled with a variety of installations, spanning five different sections. It’ll definitely appeal to children who love anything involving flashing, colorful lights, and musical performances! From the dinosaur and art parks to a safari and enchanted forest, you’ll likely spend a few hours here; just try to take everything in! Start your visit at the Magic Park, where you’ll find science-related exhibits and even 3D artworks. Meanwhile, at the Glow Park, you’ll find handmade light installations in the shape of adorable animals! End your evening with a picture in front of the glittering “My Dubai” sign. Dubai Garden Glow also has seasonal hours, and sometimes takes short breaks. A new season just started, so be sure to take advantage soon!
Watch a Fountain Show
Watching a fountain show is a must for families visiting Dubai. Visible from the Dubai Mall, The Burj Khalifa Fountain Show is usually a popular option for travelers. Most gather by the Waterfront to witness it in all its glory, as this is often the best, mostly unobstructed view. Performances are free, but you could get an even better glimpse if you pay to enter the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk. Or, head to the Top of The Burj Khalifa, which has an observation deck to see Dubai by night. Overall, the show lasts about 5-10 minutes and happens every half hour from 7:30 pm to 11 pm on weekdays, and until 11:30 on weekends. Another fountain show worth visiting is the Palm Fountain at The Pointe, where two giant floating platforms light up with 3,000 LEDs. Shows are three minutes long and occur every half-hour between 6 pm and 10 pm.
What Our Families Say
“We went to the Burj Khalifa one evening after I had finished work meetings. The water show is free and reminds me a lot of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. After the show we went into the mall and got tickets to go up to the 2nd highest observation level. My favorite part was looking down over Dubai and seeing the whole skyline lit up. I definitely recommend going at night.”– Sarah Boyd
” The Burj Khalifa was one of our favorite places in Dubai and the fontain show at night its amazing… we ate next to it and it was simply majestic…”– Miriam Bejerano
Spend a Day at a Theme Park
Dubai has so many theme parks for families to enjoy! Between playing games or riding rollercoasters, save a day to visit one. Legoland is a sure hit for children between two and twelve, with rides, a water park, and even a hotel inspired by your children’s favorite Lego characters. Book a day pass for your visit and you can access special discounts too, like free entry for kids under three. For film enthusiasts, Dubai also houses the more unique Bollywood Parks. Here, families can enjoy exciting rides designed like Bollywood sets, plus special performances or stunts! Attractions range from an Indian Rodeo to a spin in a Mumbai Taxi. Then, there’s also MotionGate Theme Park, inspired by Hollywood. Sections are divided into DreamWorks Animation, Columbia Pictures, Lionsgate, and The Smurfs. IMG Worlds of Adventure, a huge indoor theme park, is also worth a visit on a hot or rainy day.
Learn about Local Culture at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre
Whenever you visit a new place, it is important to spend time learning about the local culture, language, history, and peoples. When visiting Dubai with kids, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding offers a fantastic opportunity for families to learn about Emirati culture, customs, traditions, and religion. Additionally, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding promotes connection among cultures and removing the barriers between them. As one of the best things to do in Dubai with kids, you will have plenty of opportunities to engage in the local culture. In fact, you can sign up to enjoy a traditional meal in advance of your visit, which begins with a guided walking tour of the historic Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. Afterward, kids will delight in sitting Bedouin-style on carpets and pillows for the family meal. Plus, curious kids will love the opportunity to ask questions of your expert host.
What Our Families Say
“I also wanted to put a plug in for doing some more unexpected cultural activities. Probably our most memorable day in Dubai was spent visiting the “Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding.” Much of Arabian culture can seem exotic or perhaps even scary to Americans. While explained from a pro-government point of view, our visit to the center demystified Emirati culture. We enjoyed a traditional meal and heard from several engaging speakers who explained the traditional male and female dress, including head and face coverings, the Islamic religion, gender roles, and Islamic Finance. There was a lot of time for question and answer, and the speakers were very open to taking questions, even some of a more sensitive nature. Afterwards we went on a guided tour of the old town area.”– Sarah Boyd
The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is open for business. Learn more about its health and safety measures here, or by emailing them at email@example.com.
Slip and Slide at Atlantis Water Park
Enjoy a day of family fun in the sun at Atlantis Water Park! This sprawling complex is located at the tip of Dubai’s very own man-made island: The Palm. Though Atlantis hotel guests have an advantage when visiting this water park, any family can choose to come here. Just remember to buy tickets ahead of time! If you book the two-day adventure pass, kids will have a full 48 hours to tackle massive waterslides, interconnected river rapids, and surf riders. A two-day pass also includes access to The Lost Chambers, Dubai’s largest aquarium, and a shark feeding or dolphin show. However, families who want to spend less time at the Atlantis can book a one-day pass, and they’ll receive similar benefits. Passes for the park’s other attractions can also be purchased in combination. Cuddle with some sweet sea lions or snuggle up to some dolphins, both of which are kid-friendly!
What Our Families Say
“If you have the budget – staying at Atlantis the Palm is the best family friendly option with entrance to the Waterpark, Aquarium and afternoon kids club included in the room price. Families can spend their days coming and going from the water park and go back to the room for nap time! It makes for a truly memorable family adventure. With the wave machine and Wavehouse restaurant complete with bowling alley, climbing centre and video arcade it’s a one stop family vacation spot.”– Michaela Conomos
We hope you liked this list of Things To Do in Dubai With Kids! Between the stunning architecture, kid-friendly attractions, and sunny weather year-round, it’s no wonder this is such a popular destination to visit. Enjoy your future vacation to Dubai with your family!
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the things to do in Dubai with kids on this list may be temporarily closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.
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