The summer heat is starting to be a little tedious (yes ok it’s boring to go on about it – but it’s still HOT out there!) You’ve exhausted every soft play area, outstayed your welcome on playdates and watched Frozen too many times to mention. What now?
Well mamas, when temperatures outside forbid weekends alfresco and you live in a city with the world’s biggest mall on your doorstep – use it as your indoor playground! The kids need regular exercise and a frequent change of scene or they go stir crazy – as do hubby and I. While waiting for Dubai’s glorious winter sunshine to return and endless outdoor activities to resume, we seek refuge from the heat in Dubai Mall – and no I don’t mean that we drag the kids around shops (we all know how that one ends) – we explore, play, learn and have a heap of fun for almost no cost at all mamas. It might not be a grassy park but this indoor playground is perfect for romping around and expelling some energy.
Here’s how we do it….
The Resident Dinosaur:
Arrive at the mall early (the doors open at 8am while the shops remain closed until 10am – perfect for avoiding the crowds) and head straight to see a a genuine female Diplodocus skeleton standing proud in the Grand Atrium. The kids were completely awestruck – we’d prepared them with dinosaur books and stories and they were soon involved in a ‘dinosaur hunt’ around the display. Super informative screens show a simple animation that’s easy for kids to understand and really friendly and helpful dino staff were on hand to explain that the Mrs D (or DubaiDino as she’s officially known) was as ‘heavy as five elephants and as long as five taxis’ as well as other fun facts for the kids to soak up. Discovered in Wyoming and recently flown to Dubai – this free exhibit is a must for any Paleontologists in the making!
I know what you’re thinking – the Aquarium isn’t free – but you don’t actually have to go in for the kids to get a fantastic fishy experience. The main tank is visible from the ground floor in the centre of the mall –mesmerizing for the minis who were happy to stand and watch. Take the escalator in between the Gap and the Rainforest Café up to the 1st floor and turn right towards H&M to enjoy an entire Aquarium wall far from the crowds – where the kids can get up close and personal with fish, sharks and rays separated from them by only a few inches of glass. A carpeted corridor area, this was a real hit with my little girl and her newly acquired wobbly walk and perfect for the boys to race up and down while keeping up with their fishy friends.
The Dubai Aquarium
The Dubai Mall (you can’t miss it!!)
Telephone: (+971) (0)4 448 5200
Free face painting and balloon models at Carluccios:
After ogling a dinosaur and eyeballing sharks, little tummies may start to rumble – head to Carluccio’s on the ground floor just opposite Pottery Barn – a super go-to for a family meal out (read our review here )with great kids menus (AED 35 for a main, pudding and drink) plus free balloon modelling and face painting at weekends. Batman enjoyed spaghetti with tomato sauce while Spider Man and our little butterfly polished off a pizza and most of mamas antipasti plate. After icecream and a balloon sword fight, we were ready to get back out to finish our mall adventure.
Lower Ground Floor Boardwalk, Dubai Mall, United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 (0)4 434 1320
Play for free in Dubai Mall’s toy stores:
When your little people are over playing with their own stuff (it happens mamas) and you’re tired of clearing up the toy mess at home, head to one of the malls toy stores for demonstrations and play galore. We made our way to Pottery Barn Kids on the ground floor (just opposite Carluccios) for a post lunch play session.
An area in the centre of the store is laid out with some of PB’s bestselling toys for the kids to try out- from wooden cranes to dinosaurs, shopping carts to pretend kitchen sets. Mama wandered around the store redesigning the house in her head and coveting everything in sight while papa kept an eye on the minis. The Early Learning Center also has a play area for kids to try before they buy (complete with mini bouncy castle), Hamleys includes entertainment with toy demonstrators, magicians and activities galore and The Toy Store has a talking tree in the book section!
While a little free play is fun, just prepare to leave far from empty handed mamas!
With oodles of space, Dubai Mall offers plenty of ways for the kids to play, move and learn. And until beach weather resumes, we’ll be using this indoor playground for our weekend adventures mamas!