Family travel in Dubai

Dubai: the ultimate family travel destination

From theme parks to animal encounters, dedicated children’s menus, childminding services, and full-of-fun kids’ clubs, Dubai has something for all, no matter how small.

Melinda HealyJournalist and travel writer
15 September 2022

We all know that traveling with kids in tow is not always easy, but the key is to keep them entertained. That's no problem here - this big old sandpit to rival all sandpits is a wonderland for the whole family, its attractions delighting adults as much as children.

Is Dubai a child-friendly city?

The short answer to this is yes. Dubai is an incredibly child-friendly destination, although it can depend on the season. If you’re here in summer it’s not walkable at all and there will be whining about the heat, which goes without saying, but there is plenty to do indoors.

From a practical point of view, the emirate is push-cart friendly and you’ll find almost everyone here willing to lend a hand, should you need one, and the shopping malls often have child-friendly carts for families to use.

If you don’t hire a people-mover, it’s worth noting that the rideshare service Careem offers a ‘Careem Kids’ transport option with vehicles kitted out with car seats for convenience.

Given that most local families are big, almost all of the city’s hotels go the extra mile to cater for families with connecting rooms, kids activity packs, child-minding services and in some cases, even pampering packages especially designed for the little ones, with robes and slippers to match.

Where to go and what to do as a family

The whole of Dubai really is a magical playground for anyone with kids in tow; I mean, what family big or small doesn’t love white sandy beaches, theme parks for miles, indoor playground, and of course, desert dunes? To make your job easier, we have put together some of the most popular experiences and attractions for the whole family to enjoy while on their Arabian adventure.


This amusement center combines learning and education, offering kids the opportunity to live out their dreams of being a firefighter, medico, TV host or even a radio presenter when they grow up.

The sprawling air conditioned indoor playground presents children with realistic role-play set-ups and caters to those kids between the ages of two and 11 years. While the kids have the time of their lives in the center, supervising parents can relax in the lounge, and there’s a parking station for those with strollers.

Kite Beach

Sometimes a bit of good old-fashioned beach sandpit fun is all kids need, so if you are looking for a more subdued day in Dubai, I’d definitely suggest heading to Kite Beach with a bucket, spade and of course your sunscreen. When the novelty of the sand wears off, there are plenty of other activities besides frolicking in the Gulf to keep the kids entertained.

There’s a children’s play area with its wooden house, climbing area and swings, or the huge purpose-built obstacle course and ‘bungee injection’ area for the older kids.

Snow Cinema Ski Dubai

Catching a movie at a manmade ski field in the desert is quite the adventure, especially given the fact it entails getting all rugged up and venturing into sub-zero temperatures. By now most travelers know that nothing is impossible in Dubai. Moviegoers are provided with warm gear and gloves, and the ticket price includes a hot chocolate and popcorn to enjoy with the film.

The minimum age for the Snow Cinema is two years.

Play DXB

This indoor amusement park is all about augmented and virtual reality. At home within Dubai Mall, this ‘out of this world’ experience is one for the hyped up teens out there keen on virtually propelling themselves down the side of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, and following that up by fending off a zombie attack and steering a space shuttle. Play DXB is sure to provide hours of unreal entertainment for the whole family in air conditioned comfort.


A great option for energetic families, Bounce is just as the name suggests – an attraction that is all about bouncing around the biggest trampoline park in Dubai. With sites in the districts of Al Quoz and Festival City, kids can expect freestyle fun to the max. The latter is home to the world’s first Freestyle Terrain Park – we’re talking 5,000 square meters of adrenaline fun.

The Al Quoz location is just as much fun, and has everything from Slam Dunk zones, to Dodgeball and free jump areas. The energy never stops at Bounce – it’s loads of fun for everyone.

Wild Wadi

This outdoor water park resides in the shadows of the Burj Al Arab hotel, the world-renowned property on the shores of Jumeirah Beach. Packed with more than 30 rides and slides, this attraction is a refreshing draw all year round. Surf simulators, gentle wave pools, and winding lazy rivers to float along at your leisure, there is something for all ages and abilities here. It really is a fun day out for the whole family, and one thing is for sure- everyone will sleep well afterward.

Camel rides and falconry experiences

You can’t bring the family to this part of the world without familiarizing them with the native animals that roam the emirate. Camels and camel rides are a rite of passage for visiting tourists no matter their home country, and you can ride them within the city limits or out in the desert as part of a resort experience.

Head over to Jumeirah Beach Resort any day of the week and jump on one, or add it to your list of activities at one of the desert resorts – Bab Al Shams or Al Maha. These resorts also offer falcon displays and allow tourists to hold one for a photo, although some age limits will apply.

Dubai Parks and Resorts

Legoland, Legoland Water Park, Motiongate, Riverland Dubai, Bollywood Parks… the list really doesn’t end. If you wanted to, you could spend the whole week park-hopping, if that was the sole purpose of your trip to the emirates. ‘Adventurer’s playground’ it really is, and there are often combo passes available to lessen the cost.

To make it a lot easier, there are also hotels within the Jebel Ali parks and resort precinct, so at the end of a long day of fun, you don’t have to contend with a lengthy drive home.

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Every child loves an aquarium and this one is, you guessed it, one of the biggest. Not only does it contain 10 million liters of water, it is home to 33,000 aquatic animals. At 51 meters long, 11m tall and 20m wide, this is one of the largest suspended aquariums on the planet and visitors can experience it in a number of ways.

Take a glass bottom tour, swim with sharks, or simply stroll through the 48m underwater path and eyeball everything from fish to stingrays and sand tiger sharks.

Abra ride across Dubai Creek

It’s a novelty for adults as much as for children, but there is something about a ride across the creek in Old Dubai, seagulls circling overhead, and traditional Dhow boats cruising up and down the long-serving transport channel. It’s a feast for the senses and at just 1 AED per person, it’s an easy, cheap way to entertain the whole family.

Afterward you can wander the markets, let the kids run around a bit at Al Seef, weather-dependent of course, and grab an ice cream or a cold drink in Deira.

Dolphin Encounter

Atlantis, The Palm is one of the most family-friendly resorts across the entirety of the UAE, and while there is so much to do here, one of the coolest experiences is the dolphin encounters.

Whether opting to swim with these incredible mammals or simply taking part in a meet-and-greet and a photoshoot, the memories of these encounters will remain forever in the minds of all involved. This is a great one for teens and grown ups, which I can vouch for – I have done it and was smiling from ear to ear for days.

How to get around Dubai with kids

Renting a car is probably the most sensible option for visiting families, depending on how many you are and what your needs are. A rental car allows you to control when and for how long you head out and about, and if things turn sour you can go straight back to the car and get the crew back to your accommodation.

If you’re traveling with teens and not toddlers, taxis are also pretty reliable and not as expensive as in other countries.

The citywide Metro Rail Network is another family-friendly way of getting around the city cost-effectively, in fact children under the age of five are able to ride free. You will need a NOL rechargeable transport card to move around the emirate this way, but they can be purchased at any ticket office.

Further to this, and as mentioned previously, the city’s Careem rideshare service does offer a kids service with vehicles equipped with car seats suitable for young children.

Some hotels and resorts have free shuttle buses to various city attractions, including Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina, so be sure to check that out when booking your accommodation.

If you’re traveling with teens and not toddlers, taxis are also pretty reliable and not as expensive as they are in other countries, this is due to the fuel price.

About the author

Melinda HealyAlthough born in PNG, Mel is an Aussie-made journo who's always been more interested in passport stamps than possessions. A whiz with words, Mel spent a number of years living and working in the United Arab Emirates, it was here that she shared insight into Dubai and Abu Dhabi with the world. Mel believes travel is a privilege and an educator.