Abu Dhabi has a special place in our hearts, mostly because our daughters were born there. We lived there when I was pregnant and at that time there was not much to do (especially with children.) Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque had just been built, and Saadiyat and Yas Islands – where the Louvre and Ferrari Centre are now, were both just big empty sandbanks.
Since then, we have visited Abu Dhabi a few times, so when Naha from Dubai Wikia offered to give me this up-to-date guide to Abu Dhabi with Kids I was delighted.
Things to do in Abu Dhabi with Kids
If you think that Abu Dhabi isn’t appropriate for a family or kid-friendly break, it’s good to know that this Arabian capital city has almost everything to delight all the members in your group. First of all, it’s unrivalled for its historical and cultural points of interest. Secondly, the city boasts of some of the top-notch leisure and entertainment attractions. Then there is an array of free attractions which you can enjoy with your family and kids. So here we bring you a guide on the top things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids, which cover must-experiences in every category and beyond.
CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN ABU DHABI
Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum:
Take your kids to the Arab world’s first of its kind universal museum which is supported by 13 well-known French institutions including the iconic Louvre Museum Paris.
Starting from the pre-historic era, there are over 600 artworks presented in 12 sequences. This encompasses classic masterpieces from legendary artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Van Gogh. What’s more, the facility is also home to a dedicated Children’s Museum which not only showcases family-oriented exhibits but also conducts interactive workshops.
Now if your kids are too small to understand these exhibits, one thing is sure that they would enjoy its unique architectural style! Built over the water, this sprawling 24,000-square-meter museum features a massive dome inspired by the ancient Emirati roofing system with intertwined palm leaves. And this creates a stunning rain of light effect, as the sunrays sift through the dome’s perforations.
Location: Saadiyat Island
- Tuesday & Wednesday: 10:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs
- Thursday & Friday: 10:00 hrs to 22:00 hrs
- Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs
Sheikh Zayed Mosque:
Aside from the fact that this is one of the world’s largest mosques, this super stunning, colossal place of worship (named after the UAE’s late president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan) is an absolute sanctuary of peace and tranquillity right in the heart of the city. Besides its unique architectural style complemented by over 1000 columns and 80 plus domes, your little ones will be excited to see some of its prized features like handmade carpet (the largest of its kind) and massive crystal chandeliers gilded in 24 carat gold.
Location: Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street
- Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 hrs to 22:00 hrs
- Fridays: 16:30 hrs to 22:00 hrs
Abu Dhabi Heritage Village:
This represents a mesmeric recreation of an ancient oasis village. In fact, a visit here is a wonderful way to introduce your kids to the historic Emirati past and cultural heritage. You can also look forward to an immersive experience, with its workshops that highlight the region’s traditional art and craft like pottery, weaving etc.
Location: Close to Marina Mall, in the Corniche area
- Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 hrs to 16:00 hrs
- Friday: 15:30 hrs to 21:00 hrs
Qasr Al Watan
This is a not-to-miss attraction on your travel to Abu Dhabi with kids, especially if you wish to boost your knowledge and understanding about the Emirati royal traditions, hospitality and of course, architecture style. A part of the Abu Dhabi’s Presidential Palace complex, it’s where the international dignitaries global leaders are welcomed and hosted during their UAE trip.
Location: Near Emirates Palace, on Ras Al Akhdar peninsula
Timing: Open every day from 10:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs
FUN THINGS TO DO IN ABU DHABI WITH KIDS
Did you know that Abu Dhabi boasts of an island exclusively for fun, leisure and entertainment? Yes, the man-made Yas Island is an absolute treat for your little ones looking for pure amusement and thrill. And some of its must-experiences are:
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi:
This is the world’s first Ferrari branded theme park. Entirely themed around the world’s most famous automobile brand, Ferrari, it has something for all age groups. While attractions like Junior Grand Prix, RC Challenge and Bell’Italia cater to your little champions, your intrepid teens are definite to enjoy rides including Flying Aces, Fiorano GT Challenge, Turbo Track, and mostly, Formula Rossa, which is the world’s swiftest rollercoaster ride.
Timing: Open on all days from 11:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs
This is undoubtedly one of the UAE’s best family-friendly waterparks. The greatest thing is that its 45 plus rides are classified as per four thrill levels, such as Extreme, Exciting Adventure, Medium (Moving and Grooving), and Young Fun. Not to mention, your kids from toddlers to teens will thoroughly enjoy this water park.
- Friday to Wednesday: 10:00 hrs to 19:00 hrs
- Thursdays: 10:00 hrs to 17:00 hrs & 18:00 hrs to 23:00 hrs
Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi:
The recently opened theme park has become a massive hit among kids in a very short time. There are about 29 rides across its six themed lands. What’s more exciting is that they all are inspired by your favorite Warner Bros franchise characters, from Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo, and Bugs Bunny to Hanna Barbera and Looney Tunes.
- Sunday to Thursday: 10:00 hrs to 19:00 hrs
- Fridays: 10:00 hrs to 23:00 hrs
- Saturdays: 10:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs
TOP ABU DHABI ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS TO EXPERIENCE WITH KIDS
Observation Deck at 300
This observation deck on the 74th level of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is one of the city’s highest standpoints, offering unhindered views over the Abu Dhabi cityscape as well as the Persian Gulf. With high-speed elevator ride plus stunning ambience and incredible views, your smaller ones are sure to adore this place.
Location: In the Corniche area, within Tower 2, Jumeirah Hotel, Etihad Towers
Timing: Open on all days from 10:00 hrs to 19:00 hrs
Emirates Park Zoo
Inhabiting over 1700 animals in its diverse themed zones, this is a great place to travel with family and little ones in Abu Dhabi. You’ll not only find here indigenous desert creatures but also specialities like Siberian bears, white tigers, majestic Asian elephants, fearsome crocodiles, pythons, anaconda etc.
Location: 12th Street, Al Bahya
- Sunday to Wednesday: 9:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs
- Thursday to Saturday: 9:00 hrs to 21:00 hrs
Emirates National Auto Museum
With over 200 classic cars from the personal collection of HH Sheik Hamad Bin Hamad Al Nahyan (one of the members of the UAE’s ruling family), it goes without stating that this pyramid-shaped museum will be a surefire hit among your little car enthusiasts.
Location: Hamim Road, Al Dhafra
Timing: Open on all days from 9:00 hrs to 17:00 hrs
Whether your little one is a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast or a thrill-seeker, this is a fantastic activity to do with your kids. Just head over to the Abu Dhabi’s Eastern Mangrove Lagoon National Park where you can hire a kayak to explore the tranquil lagoon waters along with the mangrove forests. So what better way for your kids to discover the region’s awe-inspiring marine ecosystem?
Location: Eastern Mangrove Lagoon Site
Timing: Available on all days from 7:00 hrs to 19:00 hrs
Given its harsh terrains with endless dunes, most people assume that a desert safari is not a kid-friendly activity. But, the reality is that it offers a great experience to your children, mainly if they are above five years. So don’t leave your kids behind when you embark on a desert safari; let them experience utmost fun and thrill with its many inclusions like dune bash, camel ride, henna tattooing, falconry and most important sliding on the sand.
Location: Al Khatim
Timing: Choose from morning, evening or overnight desert safari
FREE PARKS & OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN ABU DHABI
A family trip to Abu Dhabi is incomplete without paying a visit to its super scenic Corniche. The pristine waterfront setting is a hub of family fun and entertainment, with the perfectly manicured area, dedicated kids’ playing section, football fields, volleyball courts etc.
Location: Corniche Road
Timing: 8:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs on all days
This Park in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City is a relatively new attraction. Spanning over an area of about 2500 square meters, it consists of a children’s playground, together with dedicated facilities for walking, cycling, and playing basketball.
Location: Masdar City
Timing: 8:00 hrs to 22:00 hrs on all days
Al Bateen Beach Park
Stretching along the spotless Al Bateen Beach (which faces Hudariyat Island and Hudariyat Bridge), this small yet charming park is a favorite of families and kids, being complete with slides, swings, slides etc.
Location: Al Bateen, Khalifa Al Mubarak Street
Timing: 8:00 hrs to 22:00 hrs on all days
Al Bahya Park
This is yet another free attraction for kids and families to experience fun and relaxation in Abu Dhabi. There are children’s playgrounds which not only maintain great safety standards but also offer the finest quality games and toys. A library with over 30,000 books is also attached to the park.
Location: Near Al Rahbab
Timing: 8:30 hrs to 23:00 hrs on all days
Mushrif Central Park
The entry may not be free here. But, for a nominal fee for just AED 5 per head, this fantastic park, also known as Umm Al Emarat, allows you to make the most of its vast playgrounds, wadi and splash areas, botanical gardens, mini train etc. There is also Ripe Market during the weekends of winter months.
Location: 15th Street, Mushrif Region
Timing: 8:00 hrs to 24:00 hrs on all days
FUN THINGS TO DO OUTSIDE ABU DHABI
When planning to venture outside of Abu Dhabi, the first place that comes into the mind is Dubai and rightfully so. At a distance of fewer than two hours, it’s the UAE’s second largest city and has everything one could ask for in a family holiday. Visit its theme parks (including IMG Worlds of Adventure, LEGOLAND Dubai etc), try winter activities at Ski Dubai, hang out with dinos at Dinosaur Park Dubai, enjoy a metro ride with your little ones, and finally, be sure to visit Burj Khalifa and experience the world’s tallest ever man-made structure up-close.
Ras Al Khaimah
An approximately three-hour ride from Abu Dhabi will lead you to Ras Al Khaimah, which is about 250 kilometers away. This northernmost emirate may not be as glistening as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but its mix of ancient forts, enlightening museums, traditional souks, off-the-beaten attractions (like Jazirat Al Hamra), and man-made islands is definite to entice your little ones. You can further combine your Ras Al Khaimah tour with a trip up to the country’s highest peak, namely Jebel Jais (over 1930 meters high).
It may be less than three hour drive, but you’ll feel a whole world away from Abu Dhabi. After all, Fujairah is the UAE’s only emirate which is not placed on the Arabian Gulf but bounded by the waters of Gulf of Oman. A day trip to Fujairah is ideal for anyone looking for a refreshing escape from the bustling city scene. Apart from its majestic beaches, Fujairah is also popular for its historical and cultural attractions including Al Bidyah Mosque and Fujairah Fort, which is the oldest of its kind in the UAE.
While in Abu Dhabi, consider taking a few days to explore Oman – a desert land of mountains, wadis tiny oasis villages and beaches. Hire a 4×4 and cross the border at Al Ain. After visiting one of the best Zoos in the world, drive to the 2,500m summit of Jebel Shams and then on to the vast Bhala fortress and the ancient market town of Nizwa. Stay a night in the charming mountain oasis village of Misfat al Abriyeen, then explore the uniquely picturesque rose and pomegranate terraces of Jebel Akhdar. Spend another night with Bedouin nomads in the sand desert or go see giant Turtles laying their eggs by moonlight on the coast. Watch craftsmen building wooden dhows in the shipyard at Sur. Scramble over dazzling white rocks to jump into emerald green clear pools of Wani Bani Khaled. Find a hidden waterfall inside the cavern at the top of Wadi ash Shab. Visit the ancient town of Muscat and the sparkling souq at Muttrah. Whilst Abu Dhabi and Dubai show the best of unlimited modern imagination, Oman is a land of ancient culture and stunning natural beauty.
ABU DHABI WITH KIDS – CONCLUSION
Now as you’re aware that Abu Dhabi is a fantastic family-friendly destination, use this extensive guide to plan a perfect holiday with your little ones; it’s inevitable that all members in your family would enjoy this Arabian vacation.
ABU DHABI WITH KIDS – SHARE IT, PIN IT
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