Dubai has a vast array of diversions for children. Dedicated kids’ attractions range from sedate edutainment-themed places such as Children’s City and the quirky KidZania through to the white-knuckle thrills of Sega Republic, while Dubai’s huge array of family-friendly attractions includes superb water parks, dolphinariums, and the Middle East’s only snowdome. And when you’re done with those, there are plenty of more low-key pleasures to hand, including simply messing around on the beach. Older children will also enjoy the city’s traditional Arabian atmosphere and the opportunity of getting out into the desert on a sunset safari, complete with dune-bashing, camel rides and belly dancing. On the downside, many attractions come with fairly hefty price tags attached, and family entrance fees can quickly put a significant hole in even deep wallets.

If you’re planning a family holiday to Dubai it’s worth noting that most of the city’s beach hotels have their own in-house kids’ clubs, providing free childcare while you get on with some serious sunbathing or shopping. These clubs usually cater for ages 4 to 12 (under-4s are sometimes admitted, though a parent or guardian will need to stay in attendance), but be sure to check exactly what’s included before booking. Most hotels can also arrange babysitting services for a fee.

Most of the city’s larger shopping malls have dedicated kids’ play areas featuring various attractions ranging from soft-play equipment and gentle coin-operated rides for toddlers up to arcade games and other attractions for older kids. Entrance to all these areas is free, although individual attractions within them are chargeable. The city’s malls also host a wide range of children’s events and entertainers during the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Dubai features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Away from the skyscrapers: how to find the “other” Dubai

Away from the skyscrapers: how to find the “other” Dubai

It’s big, brash and lays claim to so many world records it might even have the world record for the number of world records. But beyond the superlatives, skys…

22 Nov 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

The Middle East is a paradox. Located at the cultural crossroads between east and west, the region nowadays tends to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, b…

16 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
A day-by-day itinerary for a perfect weekend in Dubai

A day-by-day itinerary for a perfect weekend in Dubai

Dubai is a city like no other. One of the world’s fastest-growing metropolises, it has been transformed from a small Gulf trading centre into a glamorous…

15 Sep 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month