Things to do in Dubai with kids
Dubai has so much to offer kids of all ages! There are so many fun family-friendly activities it was hard to pick which ones to do during our trip. Eventually, I narrowed it down to these family-friendly Dubai activities!
1. Atlantis Aquaventure
I read mixed reviews on whether there was enough to do at Atlantis Aquaventure for 2-year-olds so let me settle that right now. There is certainly enough to do! They have opened up a second section just for little kids which is a very good thing because at one point, there was an incident of the potty variety and they had to close one section down completely, drain the water, clean everything and get it running again so that took several hours.
The best part is that within the kid’s section, there is no height minimum. So if your little one is brave enough to go on the big slides all by themselves they totally can! If your little one cannot reliably hold their breath I would not recommend they go on the bigger slides. Our absolute favorite activity was not so lazy river. We did it three times! Check out the non-water playgrounds as well. They are pretty cool and were completely empty.
(Press play👇to watch our adventure in Dubai! – Including Aquaventure footage)
Beach access is included in your admission and the beach is beautiful and usually nearly empty. If you are not staying in a beachfront property you would want to check it out otherwise you might not want to peel yourself away from the amazing water park.
Toddlers under 3 are FREE! So it was cheaper for us to buy the day pass but if your children are older, it actually might make more sense to stay the night at Atlantis and get the admission rate included.
2 Desert Safari with Kids
Yes, you can absolutely do a desert safari with toddlers! We brought our own car seats (the car picked us up at our hotel) and hired a land cruiser (with a steel frame and extra airbags in the ceiling) and told him to take the smooth route. We did not do any “sand bashing” and for me, this was exhilarating enough! It was a bit intense and nerve recking on the large dunes (see my minor freak out in the video above) but the ride was smooth (as promised) in fact, I didn’t even get carsick (a regular occurrence for me in Delhi traffic). The kids were totally fine and enjoyed the experience thoroughly.
I asked to go somewhere away from there other safari cars to get out, walk around, build a sandcastle and take some photos. Be sure to do that too because drivers may have a difficult time seeing a small toddler playing in the sand. The other benefit is obviously having the place to yourself, on the way to our dinner I saw tons of other cars all parked together with 20+ people all taking photos in the same place. After a quick sunset camel ride (really quick, like a big circle) we headed for dinner at our camp.
3. Dinner and a show
After the safari, we headed to our desert camp. Our camp was called “Royal Vision” our tour guide suggested we upgrade (the fee was not much more) for better food and a more intimate experience. I am so happy we did (because I passed the standard camp on the way home). We had a private stage-side table and the food was amazing! The bathrooms were also very clean which is a definite bonus in my book.
Tips: Being the first to arrive at the camp and the first to leave worked well for us having small children. I didn’t want to hit the mass desert safari traffic for safety reasons so an early start meant clear views and few surprises while driving.
4. Spend time at the beach
If you have older kids, you might enjoy some of the many water sport options such as hang gliding, jet skiing, and even flyboarding. My toddlers enjoyed chasing the fish around the shoreline.
5. Dubai Mall
Things to do in Dubai Mall
Guys, this aquarium is tiny and you can see almost all of it without paying anything. If you want to get an unobstructed close-up look or go through the tunnel, you will need to fork over the entry fee.
This is best for older kids – especially those who already know how to ski/snowboard. Since we visited with two-year-olds, we decided to wait for our next visit to give it a try.
There are TONS of dining options as well within the Dubai Mall. For a more affordable dining option, there is a 5 guys!
6. Fountain show
Every night the lake comes alive with choreographed fountain shows (similar to the one you are probably familiar with in Vegas) but a bit cooler because of the viewing options and the Burj Kalifa in the background all lit up. The highlight of our night was taking a boat into the lake and watching the show from there!
Tip: Make a dinner reservation at a lakeside restaurant to enjoy a relaxed front row view! We enjoyed multiple shows during dinner (each choreographed show is different).
7. Burj Khalifa
Getting up to the top of the Burj Khalifa is expensive. Most people recommend paying for the 125th floor but not the 148th floor due to the added cost. On the other hand, the 14th floor is much less crowded. We skipped it altogether and choose to admire it from the outside instead. Be sure to see it in the night because it’s really something!
Indoor Activities in Dubai
8. The Lost Chambers Aquarium
I really enjoyed this aquarium. It’s not huge (although it’s way bigger than the one in the Dubai mall) but had a fun theme and some really cool areas to lounge and enjoy the marine life. We visited in the evening after the waterpark had closed to make the most of our time in Atlantis.
9. OliOli Dubai
If you have a spare day check out the OliOli Children Museum. There were a lot of cool things for kids and my toddlers loved it. It is the perfect way to burn off some energy before a long flight home though!
The thing I really hated about the museum is how they charged visitors by the hour and you need to decide when you reach how long to pay for. Toddlers can be unpredictable and while traveling you might have odd amounts of time free (2.5 hours but you can only pay for 3). There is an on-site cafe, the food is overpriced but tasty. Avoid the netted area with small toddlers, there are these swinging balls at the bottom, which I assumed were soft but were actually super hard. A kid suddenly jumped onto one and it hit my son right in the face. He was fine but there was a fair amount of blood. The best sections for toddlers were the splash zone on the first floor (go there last because they will get wet even with the adorable raincoats) and all the upstairs sections. Also, leave your stroller at home, this place is oddly not stroller friendly at all.
10. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center
It only took us 45 minutes to reach the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi from our hotel in Dubai. We were told it could take up to an hour and a half (usually an hour) but there was no traffic and I’m pretty sure our driver sped a whole lot. Having seen it now I would have been so depressed if I had gone to Dubai and not visited. It is an absolute must-see! Big, Beautiful and open to all.
*Bonus: Dubai date night activity:
La Perle by Dragone
This show was absolutely amazing! We booked a hotel sitter (click here for mini interview questions to ask) and enjoyed nice out! Leave your big camera at home as you are not allowed to use it during the show (even without the flash). You can, however, use your phone camera all you’d like.
What is your favorite Dubai family-friendly activity?