Dubai is the ultimate vacation destination for families because it has everything you could possibly want to experience all in one place (and plenty of things you hadn’t even imagined you could experience). There are so many things to do in Dubai with kids! Want to take your family to the beach? How about skiing? Is shopping more your thing? Are you a bunch of thrill seekers? You’ll find it all in this magical city.
We used a Go Dubai card (part of Go City Cards, which they have for many different destinations). It was a really good deal. We bought the 3-Destination Explorer Pass, which gave us access to the Desert Safari, Ski Dubai, and At the Top – Burj Khalifa. But there are many attractions to choose from, so you can customize your experience. While there are lots of options, here are my top 5 picks:
1. Desert Safari
We took a morning desert safari with Planet Tours. It was great to get to the desert while it was cool in the morning and have the afternoon off to do other things. The safari included dune bashing, camel rides, falconry, and sandboarding. The girls actually didn’t enjoy the camel ride much because of the creepy spitting and burping sounds the animals make. So if you have little ones, they might be a bit scared. (And I doubt you’ll find that on a brochure!) Still, the rest of the activities were fun and this is one of the most memorable things to do in Dubai with kids.
2. Ski Dubai
This is one of the most fun things to do in Dubai with kids! Our girls had a blast! Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort inside the Mall of the Emirates. There, you’ll be transported to a mountain-themed, winter wonderland where you can ski, snowboard, toboggan and more. You can even hang with penguins! (But you can’t take your own pictures during this attraction. If you want photos, you’ll have to purchase them.) We went with the Polar Pass, which includes snow fun, a chairlift ride, rolling in the giant ball, racing down an icy slide (Mountain Thriller), and free fleece gloves. If you have a winter hat, scarf, and gloves, bring them so you won’t have to buy them at Ski Dubai.
3. At the Top of Burj Khalifa
Looking for one of the most thrilling things to do in Dubai with kids? In Dubai, they always go big, and Burj Khalifa is as big as it gets! In fact, it’s the tallest building in the world, and you can actually go see the view from the top. Simply take the world’s fastest elevators up to level 124. (If you want to go to the very top floor at level 148, however, you’ll have to go without kids since it’s a bar.) Once there, view the world from high-powered telescopes. At level 125, guests can lounge on a spacious deck, beautifully decorated in Arabic mashrabiya. Kids will especially love a chance to “fly over the city” using a green screen and virtual reality technology. Because Dubai is all about being competitive on the world stage, they are already in the process of beating their own record by building another structure that would be even taller than the Burj, it’s called the Dubai Creek Tower.
4. Dubai Frame
This is one of the newest attractions in Dubai. It’s a structure inspired by the “golden ratio” and looks like a giant picture frame. I love the concept behind the Dubai Frame. Guests enter the structure on one side and walk through an exhibit that tells the story of the city’s past. Then, ride an elevator to the top where you can walk across the width of the structure, which shows Dubai’s present (and can look down through the glass floor). On the way out, walk through an exhibit that shows what Dubai has planned for the next 50 years. Dubai Frame is a gorgeous structure and a fascinating look at the city’s past, present and future.
5. Old Dubai
This is one of those fun and cultural things to do in Dubai with kids, guaranteed to give them a different perspective from what they usually see. Check out the Dubai Gold Souk, the largest gold market in the Middle East, which has 55,000 lbs. of gold on display at all times. Browse the Deira Spice Souk, where you’ll see massive mounds of brightly colored spices and seasonings outside each shop. Take a ride on a water taxi down the Dubai Creek, from Bur Dubai to Deira and back for only 1 AED (or 27 cents USD) each way.
If you have the time, take at least a day trip into Abu Dhabi. Not only is it a beautiful city, but your kids will really enjoy these two activities:
1. Ferrari World
This is an entire amusement park inspired by the legendary race car brand. Kids can race mini Ferraris on a track. Before the kids get on the track, they have to watch this whole video with safety tips that also teaches them the angles of turning corners as efficiently as possible. It was just like the one Serge and I watched before racing real exotic cars in Vegas! You know the teacups ride at Disney? At Ferrari World Abu Dhabi they have the same ride, only you ride in giant Ferrari tires, which was so fun!
2. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
This modern marvel is breathtaking. The gorgeous structure is made of white marble and real gold. Even our girls were wowed by the beauty and sheer size of the mosque. Be warned that the dress code is extremely strict. Women must cover their heads and wear long sleeves and long pants or long skirts, no ankles can be showing. Clothes must be flowing and loose, so don’t even think about throwing on a pair of leggings. Study the dress code before you go to avoid any unpleasant surprises. The mosque does provide traditional gowns (called abaya) if you need to change. Also, men and women can’t come into any physical contact with each other (not even an arm around each other for taking a picture).
Whether you’re into the old world aspects of the Middle East or the new, there are plenty of things to do in Dubai with kids. Keep it simple or indulge; head outside into the desert or inside into a winter wonderland; fly high to the top of the Burj Khalifa or take a stroll through Old Dubai. Whatever you do, you’re bound to have an incredibly memorable vacation.
About Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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