Hanging out with dad in Dubai
Right, all you Dubai dads – this one’s for you – we think it’s time for some kiddo/father bonding! Plus us mamas need a little ‘us time’, all those school runs, play dates and extra curricular activities, not to mention all of the other stuff we juggle, is starting to take its toll you know! So how about giving mama a break and having some fun with the minis? We’ve rounded up the best dad-friendly activities in Dubai to get you started.
There’s nothing quite like messing about on the water, so how about a sunset pootle around the huge lake at the centre of Barsha Pond Park? This green space is one of our faves in Dubai – with palm-tree lined avenues, shaded play areas and little snack kiosks there’s also a fab bike track perfect for the all-time dad activity – teaching the kids to lose their stabilisers. Bring your own bike or rent one at the entrance (bring Emirates ID or your driving license).
Boats cost AED 30 for the 20 minute peddle option or AED 45 for the solar powered motorised version – while the latter might be lazier it’s also shaded if the sun is out in force! Lifejackets and walkie-talkie radios provided if you need to make contact with the gate house – who’ll also radio you when your time’s up. A lovely little adventure.
No we aren’t proposing a weekend away in the mountains (although that would be nice)… You can now skate under gently falling snow right here in our desert city at the Dubai Mall Ice Rink every Saturday from 2:30 to 4:15pm (and during the week too but daddy might be at work then). Little kids can hire a penguin aid to keep them stable on the ice – no, dads there isn’t a big version for you! Time to get your skates on!
AED 100 per person
Now son/daughter, let’s talk about what you want to be when you grow up (sound familiar?). If dad wants to combine a little playtime with helping shape the kiddos future then a session at Kidzania is just the thing. This is a mini town run by kids that allows children to role-play at all sorts of careers in a really fun way – from riding a mini fire truck to pretend dentistry, flight-simulation to making pizza plus loads more. And dad can watch proudly as the littles earn their first ‘salary’.
From AED 95 per person
Little petrol heads will love a visit to this amazing collection of over 100 classic cars – Rolls Royce, Bentley, Chevrolet, Ferrari – they’re all here to gape at and take photos with. There’s a small interactive area inside where the kids can have a go at making a motor run and also a couple of car-themed giant jigsaws and a Corvair to get into. And the best bit? It’s cheap (or free for under 13 year olds) and opposite the Sharjah Discovery Centre, perfect double whammy day-trip!
Saturday to Thursday 8am to 8pm, Friday 4pm 8pm
Adults (13+ years): AED 10, Children (2-12 years): AED 5, under 2’s go free.
Come on all you rad dads! Every Friday and Saturday morning 8am to 11am little dudes and dudettes under the age of 12 are encouraged to hang out and have fun on wheels at this awesome little spot just off Kite Beach. Built by skaters, for skaters, X Dubai is a shaded skate park with grassy areas and benches for non-participants to lounge on and watch (the kids love doing this too if they don’t fancy a go). Bring 2-wheeled scooters, skate boards or BMX bikes and navigate 29 obstacles including a mini bowl, crater, street elements and more (basically lots of ramps and hills and things to whizz up and down!). Helmets are available onsite and are obligatory – so if you don’t own then you can borrow/rent. Work up a sweat and then cross the road for a dip in the sea. Perfect. AED 35 per kiddo, per session.
There’s nothing better than bonding with the kids over a few outdoor adventures so the Aventura Adventure Park in Mushrif Park is just perfect for you and your little explorers! We guarantee this is going to be a big hit – ziplining, tree-surfing and rope climbing within a natural ghaf tree forest. With over 80 exhilarating challenges across 5 different levels both up high and in between the trees, you and your little ones can be conquering the forest and reconnecting with nature (and you can also show off a bit about how brave you are…).
Book ahead of time at www.aventuraparks.com
Grab surfboards, Stand Up Paddleboards or boogie boards and catch some waves on the beaches in Umm Suqeim before heading to The Surf House next to Umm Suqeim Park. This family friendly hub and surfer hangout is owned and run by a dad – and offers equipment rental (plus coffee) – a great place to affirm that dad is indeed a dude.
Open daily from 7am to 6pm.
Teach junior how to perfect his or her swing at one of Dubai’s mini golf courses – Tee & Putt in Wafi or Play A Round @ Some Place Nice both offer glow-in-the-dark (of course) indoor golf while the 18 hold mini golf course at Jebel Ali Golf Resort has a fab seaside location (and a pool and beach to use after). This is one day of golf that mama really isn’t going to mind you indulging in.
Little ones over the age of 3 can take to the skies (or the wind tunnel) at iFLY in Midriff City Centre. This simulated environment will help little thrill-seeekers experience the feeling of a sky dive – raised 3 meters in the air with a bird’s eye view over Playnation. Qualified instructors will make sure that everyone is safe and happy and having lots of fun! This isn’t a cheap option, but soaring to new heights is definitely a treat your kiddos won’t forget.
From AED 220, family packages also available
10am to 11pm daily
Gather a group of dads and kids and try a camping trip with a difference at Dreamland Aqua Park where all of your little water babies can splash and slide before sleeping in cosy cabanas in the grounds. Yes this might not be camping as dad knows it but everyone gets an inflatable mattress and bedding (and there’s a/c) so it’s the perfect option when the weather is steamy. And each cabin gets a private barbecue area with all food provided so that the dads can have a cook-off in the evening before everyone toasts marshmallows around the fire and then goes for a night swim.
Cabanas cost from AED 900 per night on a full-board basis
Featured image via mpora.com.
This post was originally published in May 2016 on Sassy Mama Dubai Website.