First of all, I should say that this blogpost isn’t hard to write at all, because – at least from an outsider’s perspective – it appears that pretty much everything in Dubai is kid-friendly. Think fun and entertainment at every corner and a lot of opportunity for “Wow!” and “Ooooh!”. Simply a great place to come with your entire family and find something everyone will love.

In fact, your kids may have such a good time that it is them who will ask to return to Dubai again and again, which is exactly what happened to me. My son, who is now 7, first came to Dubai when he was 5 and even through we only had 2 days we made it to Kidzania, a place inside Mall of Dubai where kids can try on different professions such as Dentist, Firefighter or Radio DJ. He loved every minute of that place but he never forgot, that at the time he was too young for the Astronaut training. Sure enough, for the next 2 years my little guy kept asking to return to Dubai and Kidzania so he could finally experience life as an astronaut.

So, we came back and this time we came with more time. 10 days to be exact. 10 days to try out different luxury hotels (my personal fun bit of traveling) as well as different child-friendly things in this incredible city in the desert.

Without further ado, here are my tips for traveling Dubai with children.

1. Stay at a hotel with a family focus. 

I have been to a good number of 4 and 5 star hotels in Dubai and none of them is completely useless for kids. All had a pool, many came with kids clubs and every single one had truly friendly staff. But one stood out to me in terms of how much of their focus is on families with children and that was the Anantara on The Palm.

It’s a one of a kind 5-star resort which features a sprawling pool lagoon, with half the rooms of the Anantara having direct pool access from the comfort of their balconies. The lagoon was open 24/7 so any fans of a good old night swim (like me!) will have found their match.

Most guests at the Anantara will have brought children, a significant percentage are Germans and British, but overall the crowd is very international. My son loved the kids club which came with a lot of fun options like arts and crafts, video games and pool games. Older kids can make friends at the adjacent teen club, equipped with a pool table, darts and – you guessed it – more video games.

The breakfast buffet can get a bit overwhelming, so it’s a wonderful touch, that guests may also have their breakfast at the a la carte Revo Cafe, which dishes up what I would argue to be one of the best brunches in town. And speaking of culinary highlights, our fish dinner at the Beach House, overlooking the sun setting over the water was a one of a kind evening and something I will cherish for a long time.

2. Kidzania

I touched on it in my intro, but this place is really fun for kids from around 3-9. Don you find that your offspring is constantly jumping between jobs they want when they grow up? Kidzania may actually help them nail something down they could really be interested in. In all honesty, the only joy for grownups in this place is in seeing their little folks have an amazing time, but other than that it gets pretty boring.

3. Motiongate Park

Do you love amusement parks? If the answer is ‘no’, i bet your kids still do! At least that holds true for my little family and so when there’s amusement at a park, my little guy and I will be sure to make plans to go there. In Dubai we picked Motiongate, since it had got so many positive reviews that we just wanted to try it out.

The park has a good size and at least when we went was quite empty, so there was very little queuing and we got to experience nearly all of the rides. Due to Covid some of the best rides were either closed to inhibited in such annoying ways that it took much of the fun out of it for me (for example no 3D glasses in the 3D ride) and all in all I will say the heat, the lack of people and the many closed attractions made it not so much fun for me. My son however had a great time and that’s what counts.

Not included in this list, but at the same location as Motiongate are also Legoland and Legoland Water Park as well as Bollywood Park. I’d say you can easily manage 2 parks in one day, if that’s your thing. More info here.

4. Atlantis Aquaventure Park and the Lost Chamber

Do you love waterparks? I’d argue that most people do. Especially in a place as hot as Dubai, getting some H2O refreshment in is really the only way to happily be outside. There are actually several waterparks in Dubai – but Aquaventure is the highest rated, so we went there. Perfect for fans of exciting slides and exhilarating rides, there is nothing missing from this place. Make sure you bring a pair of flip flops, as the ground does get too hot to walk barefoot. Once you exit, don’t leave without a visit of the Lost Chamber, an impressive, albeit smallish Aquarium which is a lovely addition to a fun-filled day in the water.

5. Desert Safari

This is probably my number one Must-Do when in Dubai, regardless of your age. Yes, it’s a touristy thing to do, but how often do you get a chance to have fun in the desert? Exactly.

Desert safaris are offered by many different tour operators and starting prices can be as low as 35AED (10$). For that you get to bash down some dunes in a Jeep (scary and fun at the same time!), ride on a camel (if only for a few minutes), and watch fire breathers and belly dancers at a desert camp wile munching on delicious chicken BBQ.

We booked our tickets on greatdeals.ae where we paid 69AED (around 20$) per person, which included pick-up and drop off at our hotel. We sure got a lot of bang for our buck and everyone felt they had spent a magical evening.

Another amusement park that deserves a special mention – IMG world is a huge indoor amusement park with movie themed

6. Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

I won’t lie, I am not the biggest fan of aquariums. That said, the one in Dubai Mall was really cool and offered many photo opportunities which I still hold deal. Especially the see-through underwater tunnel with sharks swimming right above you is something to remember and will make your little pirates stop in their tracks.

7. Dubai Global Village

Only in season from November to April is this unique family destination for culture, entertainment, dining and shopping in the region. The cross between a theme park and a market offers impressive different Pavillons inspired by the likes of the Taj Mahal, London’s Big Ben or even the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Come here to get your food of shows, bright lights and food from over 200 stalls.

8. VR Park Dubai Mall

You’re probably familiar with Virtual Reality glasses and how they can transport you into a whole new world without moving just one foot. The VR Park at Dubai Mall lets you and your kids enjoy unique experiences together, all with a little help of VR. Go flying through the sky on a magic bike ride, dune dashing in a 4×4 or paragliding in the mountains.

Best for older kids from 12 years old are the Virtual Reality experiences by Escape Hunt which let players go on a quest in the jungle or explore what it can be like to be shipwrecked and stranded on an island along with a handful of strangers.

9. Visiting the old town

When it comes to traveling with kids I think just as important as a focus on fun and adventure should be a focus on teaching them about culture and history of the places they are traveling to and in Dubai than can best be done in the Old town. Take the metro to Al Ras station and walk to the old Souq. For that extra bit of adventure take an abra, one of the inexpensive water taxis, to cross the creek.

10. The beach

How could I possibly skip the most obvious of all to do’s with little ones? Due to the incredible building efforts of the past 30 years, Dubai has expanded its shoreline from 70 to a whopping 1500km shoreline. Finding a spot on the beach therefore should not be a challenge. The Anantara has a lovely privat beach, but if you’re staying at a hotel without beach access, try out Barasti Beach or grab a spot at JBR Beach walk.

That’s it from me. If you have more good Dubai tips, please do share them in the comments!