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Family Entertainment in Dubai

August 2, 2014 Destination Dubai, Destination Feature, Headline News No Comments Email Email

For the average family Dubai gets everyone’s vote, appealing to old and young, no matter what their taste, interest or nationality. But then again, there’s nothing average about Dubai. It’s a destination that not only meets expectations; it beats them hands down and provides once-in-a-lifetime experiences that will create family memories that last for generations.

Where else can you play on the beach in the morning, go snow skiing at lunchtime, explore the desert in the afternoon and then watch dancing fountains reach to the skies underneath the world’s tallest tower? For sure it’s a packed timetable with one memorable event after the other.

How can you possibly forget rubbing noses with a dolphin; meeting a colony of penguins; or simply helping your son and daughter build their first sandcastle?

And when it’s time for a well-earned break, kids’ clubs in hotels and malls can ensure parents are guaranteed some precious ‘me time’ knowing that their little ones are in good hands having the time of their lives.

With the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, stating an ambition that the UAE should be the world’s leading family destination, it’s no surprise that Dubai’s already remarkable family tourism offer continues to be added to.

Dubai is all about having the most remarkable time of your life. It’s where families can make a splash, defying gravity in two of the most world-renowned waterparks; it’s where they can dash from the ice-skating rinks to the multi-screen cinemas, from the climbing walls to the bowling alleys, from the aquariums to the ski dome and from the ice-cream parlours to all-you-can-eat buffets that cater to even the fussiest of tastebuds.

And it’s not just the entertainment that ensures a hassle-free, smile-filled holiday. In Dubai, family life is the backbone of society. Emiratis are renowned for their hospitality shown towards visitors, and children in particular. They feel honored when receiving guests and children are showered with care and affection. What’s more, much of Dubai’s large expat population is made up of young families all of whom enjoy living in a city that boasts one of the world’s lowest crime rates.

Most hotel resorts offer accommodation in family or interconnecting rooms, alongside dedicated kids’ pools and extensive kids’ clubs offering schedules of age-appropriate activities and a host of facilities including Xbox, Playstation and Apple technology.

Along Dubai’s sandy, clean and safe beaches no end of fun watersport activities can be enjoyed by all ages, from family tube rides and kayaking to water skiing and paragliding. What’s more, the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf enjoy gentle currents and, thanks to a slowly graduating sea bed, the waters alongside the shore tend to be relatively shallow – at low-tide you can easily walk out up to 100m and still only be ankle deep.

But of course, real water babes will want to visit Dubai’s exhilarating waterparks. Both Aquaventure at Atlantis The Palm and Jumeirah’s Wild Wadi have thrills and spills for all ages from tiny tots to adrenaline junkies. You only have to be over 1.1m high to experience that awesome drop from the Jumeirah Sceirah or take the ultimate Leap of Faith. For tiny tots both waterparks have dedicated areas just for them, both complete with obligatory dumping buckets, slides and climbing frames.

More thrills and spills are to be had for families who venture into the desert, which lies just minutes away from the city centre. Relying on their tour operator to take care of all the logistics, families will enjoy bumping and sliding up and down the golden waves in a four-by-four. They’ll get the chance to go sandboarding, ride a camel, hold a falcon and enjoy authentic Emirati hospitality when they dig into a sumptuous buffet.

Kids can run wild too in the vast parks dotted within this skyscraper city itself. Safa Park is the biggest, yet families will also love Creek Park, Al Mamzar Park and Zabeel Park. All offer the usual children’s play areas, in addition to attractions such as boating lakes, swimming pools and cycle paths.

And when it’s time for a break from the great outdoors, check out Dubai’s great indoors where there’s a vast choice of remarkable family activities to be experienced from skiing (or tumbling) down snowy mountains at Ski Dubai – the Middle East’s first indoor snow park complete with resident penguins and a  150m-long zip wire – to skydiving in the iFly wind tower at Mirdif City Centre mall, an experience on offer even to three-year-olds and ideal for those who aren’t old enough (or brave enough) to do the real thing above Palm Jumeirah with Skydive Dubai.

More adrenaline-fuelled rides await at SEGA Republic at The Dubai Mall – the biggest indoor theme park in the region – while next door at KidZania, children from four to 16 years old can explore a child-size city in which they try their hand at over 80 professions. Families should also not miss exploring the underwater world at either of the city’s fascinating aquariums – Atlantis’s Chamber of Secrets and the Dubai Aquarium at The Dubai Mall, home also to the Dubai Underwater Zoo.

Throughout the year, Dubai’s social calendar is heaving with world-class events in which families and children are invited. For example, at the annual Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament, children under 12 go free (as they do at many of Dubai’s signature events) and can enjoy a host of fun activities in the Rugby Village just for kids. Families even have a whole stand dedicated to them alongside the central pitch and their own family entrance to the stadium. 

During the city’s annual Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), a packed schedule of family entertainment is laid on featuring stage shows, street performances and competitions. And during the summer, Dubai’s  life-size yellow mascot, Modhesh, appears about town and even provides  a whole ‘world’ of fun dedicated to kids at Modhesh World – an indoor fun fair at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

And plans are afoot to add more family attractions in the coming years, with numerous theme parks on the agenda. All this is part of Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020, a vision that firmly sees Dubai billed as the world’s premier family destination.

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