Over the past couple decades, Dubai has transformed into one of the world’s great travel hubs. The city combines a futuristic skyline and luxury pleasures with great shopping, fascinating history, and easy access to beaches and sand dunes. It’s also a great place for a family vacation.
There are a few considerations that come to the fore when planning a family vacation: affordable rates, opportunities for free time to accommodate the short attention span of children, and family-friendly activities. Dubai has them all.
In this article, we’re going to break down some of the best family experiences in Dubai. We’re not claiming to offer an exhaustive list of everything that families can do in Dubai, but rather a collection of some of the surefire reasons why you should visit Dubai on your next family vacation.
What are the top family travel experiences in Dubai?
Head up the Burj Khalifa
This is a no-brainer for travellers of any age. The Burj Khalifa is the worlds’ tallest building, standing 828m high. It’s a landmark recognizable the world over and a startling sight to see. But it’s even more impressive when you get up close and ride to the observation deck at Level 124, where you get to experience the truly awe-inspiring views for yourself. At The Top is an outdoor observation deck that offers the best views of the city, coastline, and desert. If you want to go even higher, you can pay the premium to head to the At The Top Sky at Level 148, which is the highest observation deck on the planet. You can enjoy lunch as a family at the world’s highest restaurant, or head on a personalized tour along the platform, which comes with great views and refreshments. No matter the level and the age of the traveller, the Burj Khalifa will wow you.
Visit Dubai’s Theme Parks
Theme parks are a reliable way to keep kids entertained. And it’s not like only kids enjoy them. They’re a blast for adults too. Dubai has plenty of theme parks to choose from. Movie fans will want to flock to Motiongate Dubai, which brings to life scenes from popular movies such as Ghostbusters, The Hunger Games, and Shrek. It features 40 rides, including roller coasters inspired by movies like The Green Hornet and Madagascar, as well as live shows and even a Hollywood backlot tour. Bollywood fans will want to go next door to Bollywood Parks and experience the world’s first all-Bollywood theme park. Legoland Dubai is another favourite for families, with over 40 Lego-themed rides and interactive experiences. Kids will go wild for the over 15,000 Lego models through the park. All told, the park incorporates 60 million Lego bricks into its displays and construction! There’s also a Legoland Water Park that’s perfect for younger kids. There are 20 Lego-themed water slides and attractions, such as a wave pool and a build-your-own-Lego-raft ride.
Go on a Desert Safari
There’s a large expanse of desert just outside Dubai for the whole family to explore. There are several ways to explore the desert, but we think it doesn’t get much better than a sunset desert safari. Head out into the desert in a 4x4 vehicle and cross rolling sand dunes until you reach the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, which protects endemic wildlife and allows visitors to experience the majesty of the dunes. You’ll have the best views of the desert at sunset, with the sun splashing over the dunes and casting deep shadows against the sands. You and your kids can ride a camel, run up sand dunes, and enjoy henna painting. There’s also a bountiful dinner of barbeque, fresh veggies, and Arab sweets before you cap off the night with a belly dance show and head back to the city. It’s nature, food, and culture all in one.
Go Skiing at Ski Dubai
The idea of skiing in the desert may sound ridiculous, but you can do it in Dubai. Head to Ski Dubai to enjoy the winter pleasures of a 4,500 square-metre snow park. Ride the chairlift before taking to the slopes and feeling like you’ve darted to the Alps for the afternoon. Get into a giant snowball (zorb) with the kids and roll down the hillside. Have older children? You and them can experience the ultimate rush with the Mountain Thriller, zooming down a 185m-high slope at 45km per hour. Ski Dubai offers the kind of experience you and your kids can forever brag about to your friends back home.
Go on a Shopping Spree at the Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall, but it’s far more than a mall. It’s also an entertainment destination in its own right. Aside from shopping for designer brands, souvenirs, and other premium goods at the mall’s 1,200 retail stores, you can also go for a skate at the Dubai Ice Rink and marvel at underwater creatures alongside the kids at the Dubai Aquarium. Head to the mall to spend the better part of a day shopping, eating, and feeling like a kid again, no matter your age.
Visit the Dubai Miracle Garden
Dubai may be located in a desert, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find stunning bursts of foliage and flowers there. Head to the Dubai Miracle Garden, located a few minutes outside the city, to find 45 million vibrant flowers in the world’s largest flower garden. There are elaborate floral designs recreating favourite characters from Disney or waterside visions at the Lake Park. Perhaps even more exciting than the flower garden is the Butterfly Garden, which is located right next to the Miracle Garden. It’s home to 15,000 butterflies that flutter throughout custom domes. The butterfly enclosures spread across 6,673 square-metres and feature all kinds of species of butterflies, as well as informative exhibits about Monarch butterflies and other favourites.
Take in the Dubai Expo in 2021
If you’re heading to Dubai later this year, let’s not forget the marvels of the Dubai Expo. Now running from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, the Dubai Expo showcases pavilions from around the world, as well as some of the most innovative architectural and technological displays you could ever imagine. The expo grounds are located in Dubai South district, not far from the airport, so they’re easy to get to. You and the family can learn about futuristic marvels like hyperloop travel and flying cars and deep dive into cultural exchange. It’s a great opportunity to experience a bit of the entire world in one convenient location. If you’re going to be in Dubai from October through March, don’t miss out.
31 Mar 2021, 2:54 p.m.