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Dubai with kids

Dubai with Kids: Ultimate Guide

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(Last Updated On: 20/02/2020)

We lived in Dubai for three years but that was a long time ago when the twins were young. Every time we go back there we rediscover that this crazy Tinseltown of tower blocks, shopping malls, beaches, theme parks, and world’s biggest everything just goes ever onward and upward from strength to strength. Dubai is like Toy Town on steroids which makes it a great place to holiday with kids.

About this Article 

Today, we are going to make life easy by sharing the best guide to traveling to Dubai with Kids. This post is your one-stop for everything you need to know about Dubai with kids. 

About Dubai 

Dubai is one of the most famous destinations on earth. It is one of the seven emirates making up the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is an independent city-state and is considered the most modern and progressive of all the seven Arab Emirates. Since the oil ran dry, the city depends exclusively on tourism as a source of income, and has invested heavily in the industry, turning it into one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. As recently as 1990, Dubai was just a small town in the desert served by a single street, but today it is one of the largest metropolis in the world with soaring buildings and modern infrastructure. Its location makes it easily accessible from all over the globe, making it an ideal destination for a short break for anyone who loves deserts, shopping, and beaches. About 80% of Dubai’s population is from outside the United Arab Emirates, a diversity that makes it a perfect family destination. Also because of this diversity, expect to find numerous international beauty, fashion, and restaurant chains as well as the largest communities of ex-pats.

Dubai is only hour away by car from Abu Dhabi, which is as well great destination to visit with kids, and 4 hours by car or 1 hour by plane from Oman.

Dubai with Kids: Is it Easy?

The modernity of Dubai – world-class infrastructure – means that it easy to navigate the city with kids on public transport, without having to worry about safety. Moreover, people’s attitudes towards kids in Dubai are great and you will find many hotels and restaurants that are more than willing to accommodate your young ones. 

Besides, Dubai has a large expat population and most of the residents are not even from here, meaning chances are that you can find people and products from your home country and around the world. There are also plenty of facilities from baby changing rooms to a full range of pharmaceuticals to make your trip easy. 

If you want to enjoy life outside the metropolitan Dubai, there are also numerous Dubai travel packages that will take you out of the bustling city and into the Arabian Desert. This could be an even easier option if you are traveling with kids. 

Best time to Travel to Dubai with Kids 

Dubai experiences only two seasons – hot and hotter. Facing the Persian Gulf, Dubai is backed by the Arabian Desert, which is responsible for its extreme heat in some parts of the year. 

Because of the way the city is laid out in small blocks surrounded by freeways, you can’t walk or cycle from one place to another even if they are nearby. This means you will either travel by metro or by air conditioned car (probably Taxi) from one air conditioned space to another, so its easy to spend days in Dubai almost never going outside. That is – unless you are going for the beach!

The best time to visit Dubai for beach life or exploring the desert is winter – November to March, when the temperatures are lower and the skies blue. However, winter is the peak season, so be prepared to deal with large crowds in tourist attractions and beaches. 

There are fewer people in the summer – May to September, but it is the hottest season with high humidity levels outside. While you are likely to enjoy low rates in hotels and tourist attractions, it will be unbearably hot on the beach. However if you are here for shopping or city sightseeing, then the outside climate is almost irrelevant so you can take advantage of the off season advantage.

One other thing – unless you are Muslim, avoid Ramadan. Eating and drinking in public during daylight hours are illegal in the holy month even for non-Muslims, and the city is like a ghost town for most of the day. Ramadan is at a different time every year, so check the dates before you plan your trip .

How Long you Should Stay with Kids in Dubai 

This might depend on your budget. However, Dubai is a big city with hundreds of things to do with kids, and four to five days would be sufficient to explore the major attractions in the city. But if you want more adventure, such as exploring the desert or visiting other Emirates, then seven days would perfect.

If you can, don’t leave early without exploring the things you wanted. Be sure to experience all the theme parks in Dubai such as IMG World of Adventures and Legoland. 

How to Get to Dubai 

There are plenty of direct flights to Dubai from nearly all capital cities in the world, so it won’t be difficult for you to travel from your home city to Dubai. 

The main airport in the city is the Dubai International Airport, and its official airline carrier is Emirates Airlines, which connects the city to over 100 destinations across the world. Emirates is one of the most luxurious airlines in the world and maybe even one of the most expensive, on the other hand, FlyDubai is the low-cost carrier airline in Dubai.  

Tourist Visa for Dubai 

Travelers from the European Union except for the United Kingdom and Ireland can get a 90 day visa on arrival

Citizens of the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, New Zealand, and Singapore can obtain a visa upon arrival valid for 30 days. This visa can be extended to 60 days for a small fee and is multi-entry. 

Check out this website for more info about Visas to Dubai 

For diplomatic reasons, Israeli passport holders are not allowed in Dubai. Sometimes you might even be denied entry to the UAE with an Israel stamp in your passport. 

Getting Around Dubai 

Due to its modern infrastructure of metros and modern roads, Dubai has one of the best public transport systems that make it easy to navigate the city. Owing to the network of major roads and the climate, it is almost impossible to get about between one city block and another on foot. Use the metro if the lines are close or otherwise taxis are easily found and reasonably priced. Additionally, children under the age of 5 can ride public buses and the metro for free.

You will need to acquire an NOL card at a ticket office in any of the metro stations for you to use public transport. The card costs just $6.80 or 25 AED with a $5.20 or 19 AED pre-loaded onto the card. The card can be loaded with one day passes that cost about $5.40 or 20 AED.

Here are ways to get around Dubai:

By Taxi or Uber 

Taxis are usually cheap in Dubai and also easy to find. Riding around the city center on a taxi will set you back around $10 or 40 AED, a ride from the city to the airport is around $20 or 80 AED. 

The only problem with using a taxi in Dubai is traffic. You might get stuck in traffic for hours especially during rush hour. 

Dubai Taxi - meter

An alternative to a taxi is an Uber or Careem. These two are typically cheaper than a taxi. In Dubai, the laws now require careem to include seats for infants. 

By Tram 

Tram is also another way to get around Dubai. However, the tram serves only Dubai Marina, Al Sofuh, and Jumeirah areas of the city. A tram is perfect if you want to get to the Burj Al Arab Hotel or the Mall of the Emirates. 

Tram charges a flat rate of $0.82 or 3 AED, regardless of the distance. The tram is also linked to the metro red line. 

By Metro 

In Dubai, the metro system is automated, meaning there is no driver. The majority of points of interest in the city are within the walking distance from a metro station. You can also find skywalks in some metro stations connecting to the nearby attraction, such as the elevated walkway connecting the Dubai Mall station to Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. 

dubai metro with kids

To make it easy for families to move around easily, most stations feature elevators, which come in handy if you have a stroller. The metro is also divided into gender and age, so there are different cars for women, men, and children. Women carriages are designed with plenty of space to accommodate yours as well as children’s belongings. 

Things to Do in Dubai with Kids 

The rapid transformation of Dubai from a fishing village to a major world city is simply inspiring. But because of this, don’t expect to find gothic monuments or cultural and traditional sights, since most of the structures here are thirty years and below. Nevertheless, Dubai has plenty of things to offer, especially for families. Whether you are into relaxing on the beach or enjoying electrifying rides at world-class theme parks, or shopping with your kids, you will find everything in Dubai. 

Here are what to do in Dubai with your kids. 

Visit the top of the Burj Khalifa 

It is almost inconceivable to come to Dubai and check out the world’s tallest building. Standing at 828 meters, Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure on earth since 2008. 

The observation deck is located on the 124th and 148th floors of the building and offers amazing views of the city from the ocean to the desert beyond. 

Be sure to book the tickets in advance to avoid paying over the odds ate the entrance. Something else to note is that sunset and sunrise tickets usually sell like hotcakes.

View from Burj Khalifa

Walking around Dubai, it is almost impossible to imagine the city is in the midst of the desert, however, those thoughts will be changed watching it from the elevated heights at the observation deck.

gold to go in Dubai
Zoe trying to get “Gold to Go” on top of Burj Khalifa

Did you know that when the tides are low and the sky clear you can see up to the coasts of Iran from the top of Burj Khalifa?

Shop at the Largest Mall in the World  – Dubai Mall

Climb down the Burj Khalifa and enter the Dubai Mall, which is attached to the tower. Just as Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, Dubai Malls is also the largest mall in the world. You will be surprised to find out that there is a lot more to the mall than just luxurious brands.  

Visit Dubai mall with children to brows shops, play in Kidzania or skate

For example, there is a free waterfall inside the mall, which makes for awe-inspiring views. There is also a free half an hour water fountain show with lights and music. every hour outside the mall after dark as well as an aquarium, a VR Park, Emirates flight simulator, and an Olympic-sized ice skating rink. For your older kids, try the Caboodle, KidZania, or Hysteria, which offers a haunted house experience. Dubai mall has as well one of the best bookshops in the world – Kinokuniya

It is possible to combine all these activities with your Burj Khalifa tickets. 

See the Largest Aquarium 

Well, this is the same aquarium mentioned above. The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is one of the largest aquariums in the world located right in the center of the Mall of Dubai and features over 33,000 animals from more than 85 species, as well as 400 sharks and rays. The viewing window at the aquarium is also the largest in the world stretching 32.8 meters wide and rising 8.3 meters high through two storeys of the mall

Dubai Aquarium

Visitors can view the aquarium through the window for free, and for a fee, you can get to walk under the aquarium and through the 270-degree tunnel and explore all the sections of the aquarium.

Palm Jumeirah – Visit the Largest Inhabited Artificial Island 

Dubai is known for being an artificial city, and you can get to experience this by exploring Palm Island – the largest inhabited artificial archipelago. The island is located just off the shores of Jumeirah and is lined with luxury hotels and apartments. To reach the island, you have to take a tram, which links to the metro. 

On the outer crescent of the manmade island is 11 kilometers boardwalk that is adorned with fine restaurants and cafés and excellent for a family stroll. 

For more adventure, you can rent a yacht at Dubai Marina and explore the island from the waters. You will be spoilt of choice if you decide to rent a yacht, check this site to learn more

Check out the Sheikh Mohamed Center for Cultural Understanding 

The Sheikh Mohamed Center for Cultural Understanding is a non-profit organization located in Bur Dubai offering everything you need to learn about the culture of the Emirati. The building itself makes it worth a visit – it used to be a wind tower house in the famous Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. 

You and your kids can learn whatever you want to know at this center. It also organizes guided tours of the historic Emirati neighborhoods as well as the localities around Dubai Creek. It could also be the perfect place to sample some authentic Emirati food. 

See the famous Jumeirah Mosque 

Jumeirah Mosque is located in Jumeirah near Palm Island and is the only mosque in Dubai that is open to the non-Muslim. It is also a great place to learn more about the culture of the Emirati as well as the Islamic religion. 

You can book this tour at the Sheikh Mohamed Center for Cultural Understanding, which will cost you around $7 or 25 AED and takes 75 minutes. The price is for one person and it includes tea, Arabic coffee, dates, water, and traditional pastries. Children under the age of 12 are allowed to enter for free. Observe your dress, or if you feel you are not dressed modestly, you can borrow traditional attire from the mosque. 

Take an Abra across Dubai Creek 

Taking an abra across the Dubai Creek is one of the best ways to experience the city in a traditional way. 

dubai creek

The creek divides the city into two factions – Bur Dubai and Deira. The first place where the settlers camped was along the creek in the 19th century. In the ancient time, the creek was a minor port for dhows arriving from farther areas such as East Africa and India. 

The boats used were rickety wooden called abra. Thankfully for the preservation of early Emirati culture, today you can ride on these boats for just 1 AED, to feel the history of the area. This is an excursion that your kids will never forget for a long time. 

To add some whims in your dhow experience, consider booking a dinner dhow cruise that also features live music as well as belly dancing.  

Stroll around the Deira Souk 

Another place to learn about the Dubai past, Deira Souk (market) located across Dubai creek from Bur Dubai. It is a traditional souk in the Dubai Old Town and is believed to date back over 50 years. During the 18th century, Dubai used to be an essential spice route, and you can find some of the best and iconic Arabic spices at this market and other products such as gold, perfumes, and textiles.  

The market can be identified from a distance thanks to its frankincense-infused aroma. The market was designed in a traditional wind-tower style with a cover on the top. It features narrow alleys filled with wooden arches and dangling Arabesque lanterns. 

Check out Dubai Spice Souk 

The Dubai Spice Souk or the Old Souk is a traditional souk or market located in eastern Dubai in Deira. A trip here will take you through a sensory journey of limitless flavors and recipes. 

Chill on the Beaches 

Dubai doesn’t look like a destination with beautiful beaches. Besides, when visitors come to Dubai, they either want to go up the Burj Khalifa, visit the aquarium, shop at the Dubai Mall, or explore the deserts. However, the city actually has numerous beautiful beaches. 

The most popular beach is the Jumeirah Beach Park and its ideal for kids thanks to its garden, playground, barbecue areas, cafés, and lifeguards. 

Kite beach in Dubai

Other beaches include Al Mamzar Park, Kite Beach, and Umm Suqeim Beach. 

But you need to be careful with your dressing at some beaches, which may require you to cover up entirely. Some are quite flexible thought. Some beaches also have ladies-only days, so be sure you are well-informed before setting your foot to a beach in Dubai. 

Go on 4X4 Excursion in the Arabian Desert 

One of the common reasons people come to Dubai is to go on a 4X4 escapade in the Arabia Desert. And if you have time, take your kids to this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

There are many companies that provide desert safari trips that are perfect for families. 

In the desert, you can try some fun activities such as camel riding, sandboarding, dune bashing, and quad biking. Later you can have a BBQ dinner in a Bedouin tent as well as an evening entertainment such as belly dancing and henna painting. 

sandboarding

Enjoy Dubai Waterparks 

Dubai is home to a number of fascinating waterparks. Here are some of them. 

Aquaventure 

Auquaventure is the largest waterpark in Dubai. It is located in the Atlantis The Palm resort and features some of the most thrilling rides you will even come across. 

Other activities to experience at the waterpark include zip lining and shark-infested lagoons. Aqauconda is the largest water slide in the world and worth trying out if you visit Aquaventure Water Park. 

Laguna Water Park Dubai 

Laguna Water Park is the new kid in the blog as far as waterparks are concerned in Dubai, and of the few located on the beach. The waterpark is divided into four zones – Splash Zone, Surf Zone, Relax Zone, and Slides Zone. 

Visitors to this waterpark can enjoy rides such as Free Fall, WaveOz (a 180-degree surf simulator, the Loop, and Constrictor. 

Wild Wadi Water Park Dubai 

Visiting Wild Wadi Water Park is always among the top things to do in Dubai. This unique waterpark is located in the popular Burj Al Arab neighborhood and boasts the tallest and fastest free-fall water slides outside America in Jumeirah Sceirah. 

Wild Wadi Waterpark is perfect for the whole family, with rides available for all age groups. 

LEGOLAND Water Park 

For those who love LEGO movies, this is the waterpark to visit, and as you can tell from the theme, it is a great option for families with young kids. Here, you and your kids can collaborate to build your own raft out of LEGO blocks as use it to row down the LEGO River. 

Check out Dubai Theme Parks 

Theme parks to check-in Dubai include:

Ski Dubai 

Though ice is the last thing you would expect to find in Dubai, when you step into Ski Dubai, you will think you are some ski resort in Colorado or Mont Blanc. The temperatures here are maintained at -2 degrees Celsius, forming snow sprawling 22,500 square meters. Skiing slopes vary according to the difficulty, and therefore, visitors from all age groups can benefit. The longest run is 400 meters and goes over 60 meters high. Ski Dubai is located in the Mall of Emirates – another place where you can loose yourself shopping.

Book ticket to Ski Dubai 

IMG Worlds of Adventure 

Being the largest indoor theme park in the world, you can expect IMG Worlds of Adventure to live up to the hype. If your kids are huge fans of Cartoon Network and Marvel Comics, this is the place to check-in while in Dubai. The theme park consists of 4 thematic zones – Marvel Universe, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley/Dinosaur Adventure, and IMG Boulevard. You can also enjoy rides such as the Velociraptor as well as spooky experiences such as Haunted Hotel. 

Bollywood Park Dubai 

This theme park is dedicated to the booming Indian film industry and it displays the fascinating spirit Bollywood as well as film stars who liven it. 

The thematic performances will take you down the memory lane as back as the 60s and the 70s. 

Find Bollywood Park Dubai at the center of Dubai Parks and Resorts. 

Motiongate Dubai 

Montiongate Dubai was opened in December 2016 and is the largest Hollywood-themed Park in the entire United Arab Emirates. The addition of this theme park reiterates the desire to be the entertainment capital of the world. The park is divided into four zones, each of which is inspired by film and media giants Columbia Pictures, The Smurfs, DreamWorks Animation, and Lionsgate. There are also 27 rides and other attractions that will ensure you and your family have the best time of your life at “Hollywood in the desert.” 

Dubai Parks & Resorts 

If you want to explore some of the most outlandish rides and sides, you must visit Dubai Parks and Resorts. The complex is made up of 4 theme parks, making it one of the leading entertainment and recreation spots in the world.

There are plenty of rollercoaster rides as well as several themed outdoor plazas that can be enjoyed by people of all age groups with daily music and dance performances. 

Dubai Garden Glow 

Dubai Garden Glow is a world of imagination featuring a blend of art and theme. It features 4 magical themes – Glow Park, Dinosaur Park, Ice Park, and Magic Park. 

It was launched in 2015 and features over 500 eminent craftsmen, architects, and engineers who ensure the magic goes on. 

Book ticket to Dubai Garden Glow 

Visit Miracle Garden 

The Dubai Miracle Garden is a flower garden situated in Dubailand, Dubai. It was launched on Valentine’s Day of 2913 and occupies over 72,000 square meters, making the largest natural flower garden in the world with over 250 million plants and 50 million flowers. 

Check out the Butterfly Garden 

The Butterfly Garden in Dubai is home to over 15,000 species of butterflies. While it is part of Miracle Garden, Butterfly Garden deserves its own spot on this list because of how cool it is. The garden features 9 custom-built domes and covers a total area of 2,600sqm.  Here, you can witness as insects transform into caterpillars and then evolve into butterflies. 

There is also Butterfly and Insect Museum onsite to be explored, which features detailed information and analysis about the insects and see thousands of colorful butterfly species from across the world. 

Experience Nature at the Green Planet 

Green Planet is the largest artificial rainforest in the world. The attraction was opened in 2016 and features over 3,000 species of plants, animals, and insects. The centerpiece is a manmade tree – that largest of its kind in the world – which creates a real habitat in which the plants and animals can thrive. 

Book a ticket to Green Planet

Things to do in Dubai with kids – Conclusions

Every time we re-visit Dubai, there is new stuff. Although the pace of development isn’t what it was a couple of decades ago, Dubai continues to excite us with its ever increasing colour and life. It also has matured in the ten years we have known it. It feels more classy now, less rushed. Enjoy Dubai – and if you find anything I have missed here – please leave me a comment.

Dubai with kids – Pin it for later

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We have researched facts stated here as far as practicable but please check anything critical before committing your time and money. We do not claim any special knowledge or expertise, and we are not consultants for our readers.


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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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