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.

Some 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.

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