Dubai is usually considered the perfect destination for couples or friends due to its incredible beaches and fun nightlife, but here at HELLO! we also see it as the perfect family destination. From thrilling water parks and breathtaking views from the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa to getting completely lost inside The Green Planet, Dubai's unique indoor rain-forest, it's an amazing adventure for little ones too. And let's not forget Dubai Parks and Resorts, featuring Motiongate, Legoland and Bollywood. Here we've gathered the best spots to make your trip to the city and unforgettable one.
1. Visit The Green Planet
Anything is possible in Dubai. So much so, that in city that has been built on sand, they have created a unique indoor rain-forest featuring over 3,000 plants and animals. Here, kids (and parents!) can spend time meeting their guest star, the 'The Sloth', come face to face with bats and have fun with their squirrel monkeys. The attraction is located very close to The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, meaning you can enjoy both in the same day.
Book online at thegreenplanetdubai.com from AED 89. (children under 3 years old go free)
2. Take in the views from Burj Khalifa's 148th floor
Exploring the tallest building in the world is a must for families who visit Dubai, and what better way to do it than by visiting their 148th floor. There are two observation decks in the building, this one being the most exclusive one, which means: no queues, less crowds and complimentary refreshments – everything you need when travelling with children. With this package, families will enjoy a personalised tour guided by a guest ambassador and explore an outdoor terrace at 555 metres. We promise there's nothing to be scared about! The Burj Khalifa is located within The Dubai Mall so you can also give the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo a visit, as well as KidZania.
Book online at burjkhalifa.ae from AED 370 (children under 4 years old go free)
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3. View Dubai from the sea – 90 minute private yacht tour
This is not a must, but definitely an experience like no other if you are feeling extravagant. There are two different tours taking place throughout the day: sunrise (with breakfast included), afternoon and sunset (with BBQ). We gave this a lot of thought but decided to give it a try (you only live once, I guess) and we chose the sunset tour as it worked with our young son's routine. I have to say that it was the highlight of the trip. The service was superb, the food was delicious and the views during and after sunset were something we will always remember. I can't recommend this activity highly enough.
Book online at xclusiveyachts.com from AED 210. Children under 3 years old go free.
4. Cool off at Wild Wadi Waterpark
If you are visiting Dubai with children when temperatures are above 30 degrees, then you will want to visit a waterpark, and Wild Wadi is a perfect choice. It offers families 30 rides and attractions for children of all ages –endless fun for the whole day! It's also conveniently located in front of the stunning Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, meaning you can still do a little spot of sightseeing whilst relaxing.
Book online at jumeirah.com. Entrance fees are based on height. Children under 2 years old go free.
5. Discover Dubai Parks and Resorts: Legoland, Motiongate and Bollywood
Situated less than 30 minutes from Dubai Marina is probably the most thrilling and entertaining theme park. Here, at Dubai Parks and Resorts, parents can really relax knowing that their children will be on cloud nine all day, and wiped out by the end of it! If you choose to stay at Lapita Hotel, situated within the park, you can really make the most out of the experience.
Be the first one in and the last one out. You'll be spoilt for choice in the Polynesian themed resort, which offers unparalleled access to Dubai's famous theme park as well as access to five restaurants and bars, a spa and even a 'Lazy River' ideal to relax in after a long day at the parks. A favourite for us, and our two-year-old, was Legoland's water park, with fun rides such as Build-A-Raft River and Joker Soaker (pictured above). Another highlight is the Smurfs Village (pictured below), where little ones can enjoy five immersive attractions including interactive play zones, exciting family rides and a charming theatre show for all generations to enjoy. (and you get to meet them in person!)
Book online at dubaiparksandresorts.com and marriott.co.uk for Lapita Hotel.
A one day ticket to MOTIONGATE™ Dubai, LEGOLAND® Dubai or LEGOLAND® Water Park costs 245 AED (Approx. £50) per person.
A one day ticket to BOLLYWOOD PARKS™ Dubai costs 175 AED (Approx. £37) per person.
A One Day Two Park pass that offers access to two of the Parks costs from 295 AED (Approx. £63) per person.
A Two Day All Parks pass that offers access to all the Parks over two days costs from 525 AED (Approx. £63) per person.
6. Kick back at La Mer Beach
Here, parents and kids alike can enjoy laid-back fun at Dubai's eclectic beachfront. You can choose to simply kick back on the beach on take in the sun, explore bustling backstreets or treat the kids to action-packed fun. The Beach features a waterpark, so slides will definitely be on the menu. From water sports, movies to inflatable playgrounds, beach strolls to swims, gourmet dining to high-end shopping, the whole family can get in on the action at La Mer.
Where to eat in Dubai with children
Play and eat at OliOli
This is not your usual restaurant, but when travelling with kids, parents are sometimes happy to put luxuries to one side and let the young ones take charge. OliOli is Dubai's first interactive children's play museum featuring 8 interactive galleries with over 40 interactive exhibits. Children will no doubt have the time of the lives and they can also eat in Le Petit Treehouse Café, which offers nutritious snacks and meals, such as fresh salads, sandwiches, wraps and vegetarian options – all prepared daily.
The Cheesecake Factory JBR
You might call me crazy, but we had a wonderful last-minute experience here, and their food is superb. Not only that, but the views are unmissable. The kids' menu is superb and saved the day for us, picky Ethan had the most delicious salmon ever, literally licked the plate clean. It's located in the Walk at JBR, a buzzing place with fabulous views of the ocean and the brand new Ain Dubai, the largest ferris wheel in the world.
Ella's creamery – for a delicious desert
When staying at Dubai Parks and Resort, and once you've had a nutritious meal, make sure you head over to Ella's Creamery, a 1950s American-inspired ice cream parlour located next to LegoLand. From 'Crazy Shakes' to ice cream sundaes and from coffee to cake, they've got your desert handled. We promise that your mouth will water as soon you walk through the door!
For more fun ideas for families, visit visitdubai.com.
London Stansted Airport operates a double-daily service to Dubai with Emirates airlines.