Designed for the love of sport, Aktiv Nation offers enthusiastic players the perfect place to play: futsal; indoor cricket; basketball; volleyball; badminton; and in a Dubai first, indoor beach volleyball and indoor street cricket!
Sports + Outdoor Adventures
International City, Dubai
Tel: (+971)(0) 4 450 8811
Mamas, we’ve stumbled across this little hidden gem in Al Safa 2 (just near Safa 2 park and Noor Islamic Bank Metro Station) and it’s a quaint little stable with 15 horses and ponies. All the horses are rescue or retired horses which makes them perfect for a riding school as they are unlikely to bolt (and which made us love this place even more). They run classes for riders of all skill sets and ages and have camel rentals as well.
See our full review here.
Al Sahra Desert Resort, 233 Dubai
Tel: (+971)(0)44 274 055
The Middle East is home to some of the most beautiful horses, so it’s no surprise that we’ve got an amazing riding centre right here in Dubai! Located in the desert, Al Sahra Equestrian Centre is actually part of the Al Sahra Desert Resort and offers a number of classes for kiddos and mamas of all skill sets. Don’t miss out on their amazing desert tour dinner either – we sent one of our Sassy Mamas out there to scope it out and it sounds an absolute dream. See what she had to say here.
Tel: (+971)(0) 4 567 8888
The Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island is a fabulous staycation for the entire family. We stayed two nights with three kids all under the age of 3 and had such a wonderful time. I must say mamas if you have been thinking about taking your kids on a Safari holiday overseas this is the perfect opportunity to test how they (and you) will manage it.
See our full review here.
Several locations across Dubai
Tel: +(971) (0) 50- 654 6965
Tel: +(971) (0) 50 544 6638
There are a few schools out there but our mamas in the know tells us this is one of the best places for kids swimming. Aquatix offers classes from 4 months all the way up to adults. Classes take place in small groups as opposed to one-on-one to combine the benefits of teacher-led instruction with seeing what your peers are capable of.
We have positive feedback from the Emirates Golf Club outlet but the program is the same wherever your little swimmers will be.
Tel: (+971) (0) 4 214 4888
Call these guys for a run-down of all the many trips they offer (they can tailor-make an experience to suit your group and will take into consideration ages of kids etc so you can rest-assured that your littles will be well catered for). All camping equipment, food and extras such as camel riding and falcon shows will be included – perfect if you want to pack up and go without having to deal with logistics or sandy stuff to clean afterwards.
Al Qudra (near Endurance City), 8168 Dubai
Tel: (+971) (0)4 809 6100
Located in the heart of the desert, Bab Al Shams is the perfect escape from the golden metropolis. This resort offers a number of kid-friendly activities, like camel riding, horse riding, desert tours and even falconry for a truly special day out. There’s also a great kids club called Aladdin Kids’ Club, sure to introduce your kiddos to a whole new world of fun.
Looking to start early mamas? Then Baby Splash could be your thing. Classes are open for babies from 3 months (provided they have had all the necessary immunizations!) You can only sign up for full terms but with the feedback we’ve had on Baby Splash you are likely to want to stay on. Instructor Helen gets top grades as does Natalie who is particularly good at getting naughty little boys to listen! And remember, it is good exercise for mama too!
Lakes Club (Fitness First)
Dubai Ladies Club, On the Beach Road (Next to Jumeriah Beach Park)
Uptown Mirdiff Shopping Centre (Fitness First Club)
Al Mansil Residences, (Fitness First Club), Old Town
Office 123 Oasis Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Tel: (+971)(0)4 388 4044
Sometimes we can only dreaming of flying…or can we actually fly? Bring the kiddies to a balloon flight over the Dubai dessert! Enjoy a magic carpet ride over a desert conservation reserve with endless ocean of sand dunes and emerald green oases. Spot native Arabian animals such as oryx, gazelles and wandering camels in their natural habitat – a perfect family adventure.
Your open top bus tour of Dubai will help you to discover all of the famous Dubai attractions, as you learn how the city transformed from a small fishing village into a modern, vibrant city.
Take a Day Tour for personal recorded commentary on Dubai landmarks, across three brilliant tour routes. All offer hop-on, hop-off buses, so you can jump off to visit the Dubai tourist attractions which interest you most.
If you’d rather take a Dubai tour by night, just hop aboard the Night Tour for live guided commentary on the illuminated city.
Bounce is a two-storey trampoline park that will have your kiddos literally jumping for joy. It’s so popular that the company have promised two new centres in the UAE in 2016. This warehouse-turned-trampoline park in Al Quoz has got a free jump area, a dodgeball court, an airbag-fitted section and a performance area with five Olympic-grade trampolines.
Festival Centre, Dubai Festival City
Tel: (+971) (0)55 193 2687
Fancy a bit of disco bowling? We thought you might… or at least your kids most definitely will! Bowling City has centres across the UAE with a mega branch (12 lanes) in the heart of Festival City.
Not in the mood to toss a bowl down an alley? There are a few karaoke rooms available too. Don’t be shy, just do it mama! Birthday parties- yep!
Also at Deira City Centre, 27th Street, Deira
Tel: (+971) 55 193 2687
Lots of different locations as well as home visits.
Tel: (+971) (0) 50 509 5673
Ex-competitive swimmer Dawn Venturas is THE swim teacher in Dubai and is always getting rave reviews. Sadly this means she gets booked up very, very quickly but as you know mamas… the early bird catches the worm. Dawn offers several different lesson variations; private, semi-private, stroke improvement as well as baby swim. She doesn’t take on new students mid term, so planning ahead is key.
Sheikh Zayed Road, World Trade Centre Hotel Apartments Block C
Tel: (+971) (0)4 306 5061
An outdoor sports centre that teaches young and old (from 3 years up) how to climb, swim, play tennis and skate- awesome! They even offer rock climbing tours to Oman and Ras Al Khaimah on Saturdays if you can get a group of 6 people together. If the entire family isn’t that adventurous you can always chill by the pool while the others go nuts literally climbing the walls.
And get this- they recently opened a skate park in Springs 7 for little rollers and their parents with unleashed skate potential.
Al Barsha South 3, Dubai
Tel: (+971) (0)4 422 8902
Dubai Butterfly Garden is located almost next door to Dubai Miracle Garden, it’s a completely separate attraction with its own gate fee. If you’re a family of four or more with kids older than 3 then a visit isn’t cheap at AED 50 per person. With over 26 varieties and 6000 butterflies there was lots to see: some flying, some feeding at the little fruit stations that have been set up and others just having an afternoon snooze among the blooms. The domes are big enough to feel as though you’re having an adventure but not so big to worry if the kids run off – which mine did – finding something new to look at around every corner.
Dubai Garden Centre, off SZR between Umm Suqeim Street and Al Manara
Open 7 days a week from 8am – 10pm
Tel: +971 (0) 4 340 0006
An absolute favourite with our kids, head to the Dubai Garden Centre and wander around the vast outdoor space, jam-packed with trees and plants of every kind amongst which there are hidden a variety of animal statues and very realistic looking creatures! Cross a bridge over a crocodile pond, spot monkeys swinging in trees and watch out for a dinosaur (who roars quite loudly and can frighten teenies). Okay, so you’re still outdoors but it’s mostly under shade and can feel like quite an adventure. When you’re feeling a little too warm, head indoors to watch pretty tropical fish and sea creatures in the little aquarium
Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai
Tel: (+971) (0)4 448 5111
Dubai Ice Rink is a must-visit leisure attraction and sports venue in The Dubai Mall. Located on the Ground Floor next to The Souk, Dubai Ice Rink assures unlimited fun for skating enthusiasts, offering several unmatched features including learn to Skate programs, cool Disco nights, foam parties and Dubai Snowfall, where visitors can skate under gently falling snow.
See our full review.
1 Jumeirah Beach Rd – Dubai
+971 55 601 0997
Fahrenheit Beachsports offers the widest range of active watersports in the region, covering all areas of watersports from motorized to non-motorized, including specific kids activities such as Shred Camp, Schools and Birthday parties. Time to get the most of the Dubai beaches and have some epic water fun!
Send the littles off for a little bonding over a camp-fire and a night under the stars with this awesome group, headed by Vahid Fotuhi – a super cool daddy whose love of adventure and the great outdoors is infectious. With approximately 7 trips to choose from each year, you can expect awesome locations and plenty of activities to keep kids as young as 3 happy – from teaching them about making camp-fires to discovering desert critters. Mamas are banned from all trips except 1 each year – we’ve already reserved our spot!
The Academies, Dubai, Sports City, next to International Cricket Council
Tel: (+971) (0)4 556 1800
So, let’s talk fitness mamas. FitRepublik is Dubai’s biggest fitness centre with offerings for aspiring Olympians and casual exercisers of all ages, from crossfit, studio classes, strength and conditioning and aquatics for adults and gymnastics, aquatics, martial arts and functional training also available for kiddos. They’ve got an amazingly experienced team on their hands as well who’ll see you from squat to lift with eagle eyes, aiming to encourage a love of fitness and exercise for everyone whether you’re an amateur or an expert. With a whopping 350 classes every week and Olympic facilities on their hands, we’re hard pressed to find reasons not to sign up.
4th Street, Al Quoz 4, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Flip Out is a flippin’ huge trampoline park – no, city – in Dubai. With more than 200 interconnected trampolines, it’s also got 10 bouncy attractions, including a double decker kids’ trampoline arena, trampoline football, volleyball and basketball, a dodgeball court and 3D wall-runners. You’ve also got to try archery tag, where dodgeball and paintball merge. Players target each other using safe, foam-tipped arrows.
The Fridge, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai
+971 50 426 1254
Time to play, spin, dance, jump, relax, and laugh all in circles! flowground is the first and only flow arts centre to bring the magic of hoop and poi flow to the UAE by providing classes, workshops & communal jams. Find your flow, embrace your inner child through creative play at flowground!
Office 702, Yes Business Center, Al Barsha, Duba
Tel: +971 55 914 4052
If you are not content with standard bus tours and desert sightseeing, and are forgoing four wheels to bring them closer to Dubai’s sights, just ask FlyBike – their professional guided excursions around the city will sure satisfy the thrill-seekers (if you are ready for it).
This online store’s got everything a camping guru could ever want, from the usual tent and sleeping bag fare to even toilet necessities and caravans! We love how they have a broad range of international brands and they deliver all over the UAE – and all for free if you spend over AED 500. That’s as good a reason as any to go on a road trip…
Dubai Festival City, Dubai
Tel: (+971) (0) 4 224 4033
There’s no harm having a bit of luxury adventures with the fam! HeliDubai offers a wide range of services from tours, corporate and VIP transfers, private helicopter charter and specialising in aerial filming and photography – the perfect flying experience!
Hatta Road (next to Desert Palm Hotel) Dubai
Tel: (+971) (0)4 323 8010
Tally up the kids and head out to The Desert Palm Riding School, next to the luxurious Desert Palm Hotel, for a lovely afternoon visit to the stables. Hand-led 10 and 20 minute horse rides for all ages are available every day (except Fridays) at a cost of AED 10-30 depending on how long your little one wants to trot around.
Not only does this feel like a bit of an oasis, compared to soft plays and theme parks, but it is a place where your kids can get down and dirty and enjoy the outdoors in a natural setting. It is a bit of schlepp so you would want to make sure you have at least 2-3 hours on hand to properly enjoy it. When we go we usually bring a picnic and feed the kids on the lovely big lawn just next to the hotel. Anything to make dinnertime easier, right mamas?
Mirdif City Centre, Playnation, First Floor
Tel: (+971) (0)4 231 6292
We believe you can fly mamas! Head to iFLY and try your wings in a 10 metre acrylic wind tunnel. You can even sky dive if you fancy… yeah, we didn’t think so. Kids from 3 years and up are welcome to fly about too but we definitely think it is better suited for the 6+ kids who understand the importance of actually wearing the ear plugs, helmet and gear handed to them… Rather pricey at AED 220 and up so save this one for a special treat or present for the kids. Flying birthday parties offered as well!
48 Jumeria Rd, Dubai
On your bikes mamas! If you don’t own your own push bike – or if you don’t fancy sweating it across town (or risking your life on some of our city’s crazy roads) then head to one of the next bike locations in the Downtown, Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah areas and rent your 2 wheels for however long you need to! Rental is easy – just call the hotline number you find on the bike and follow instructions. And you don’t need to return your wheels to the same location – if you want to get those legs moving then cycle on to one of the other official stations around town and leave there.
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
0529 308709 / 0527 473283
Get fit with Parkour & Movement-based fitness training at Parkour DXB! Private coaching and small group training available for adults and youth that restores natural, functional movement to your life and engage you with challenges and tasks that will test every aspect of your body and mind.
With expertise in not only luxury but culture, wildlife and history, Platinum Heritage reveals Dubai and the United Arabic Emirates with an authenticity beyond the reach of any other desert safari or adventure tour company. Their tours are exclusive and created for discerning travellers who expect the highest level of luxury, service, and attention to detail.
Opposite Deira City Centre, Near Park Hyatt, Dubai
Tel: (+971) (0)4 807 0708
Bring the fam to a seaplane tour because you deserve it, mama! Immerse yourselves in the iconic wonders of the UAE with a unique seaplane tour. From desert mirage to architectural marvels, their scenic tours provide the finest views of the country’s renowned wonders.
It’s an experience that will keep the kiddos in awe with the city’s intimate charm and exquisite detail of the UAE’s iconic attractions – as it fully showcases the splendour of cities that are surrounded by scorched desert and shimmering sea.
Sports City Football Academy, Dubai and Emirates International School, Umm Suqeim, Dubai.
(+971) (0)4 448 1555
If your tot has seemingly endless energy (we know how you feel, mama!), we suggest channeling it into a hobby! Sign your little kicker into Socatots football classes, suitable as soon as they are walking. Held at locations in Dubai Sports City and Umm Suqeim, maybe it’ll shape your toddler into the next Ronaldo!
Ibn Battuta Mall, Indian Court
Tel: (+971) (0)4 440 5962
A perfect place to take the kids or a group of friends for some chilled bowling. They have 12 bowling lanes, several billiard tables as well as karaoke and Playstation rooms (better stay away from that one if you are looking for an un-plugged family day out!). There is a café on site but to be honest, the food is pretty bad so focus on downing the pins with the kids and hit up the food court in the mall when you get hungry! They do good birthday parties if you are looking for a sports-themed event for a little celebration.
Safa Private School, Meydan Street (Junction 47 Sheikh Zayed Road)
Tel: (+971)(0)55 448 5381
Got a little 5 year or older mermaid? Then this is THE thing to do. Kids will learn how to master specific hand and leg movements to control the water, complete with choreography and music! The teacher line up is impressive with a vast experience in synchronized swimming and all students are divided up according to skill level- safety first. Needless to say, this is for confident swimmers only. Why wasn’t there anything like this when we were kids, we are wondering?! Well they offer classes for adults too. Get in that pool mamas!
Raffle International School (South Campus), 20th Street, Umm Suqeim 3
Fitness First Meadows (Community Club)
Al Sufouh Road, Dubai
+971 55 998 5806
We all know that swimming is great for our health (in fact, it’s one of the best kinds of aerobic and anaerobic work we can do, Mamas) – but not all of us are inspired by swimming laps in a pool. Getting your PADI Open Water qualification at THE Dive Centre Dubai means you can scuba dive whenever you fancy it, combining a serious fitness fix with a hobby you can enjoy for the rest of your life.
Al Ain Road, E66, Dubai
Tel: (+971)(0)4 809 6605
Built especially for the Dubai Sevens (only the biggest sporting event of the year), The Sevens also hosts a number of sports matches throughout the year. With a family friendly stand with its own private entrance into the stadium, the Sevens are a great option for a family day out with a number of kid-friendly activities and even a dedicated zone for them to run around in. Outside of the Sevens weekend, there’s a football school created by Arsenal FC for kiddos and every now and again there’s a gig to look out for.
The Yellow Boats provides one heck of a funky way to check out Dubai and UAE – via inflatable boats! Priding themselves on a safe sightseeing experience of the desert city and Abu Dhabi, book in with friends, family or even on your own to see all this town has to offer.
Tel: (+971) (0)4 606 6826
With early wake-up calls expected every morning, mama pack up breakfast to go and head to the Ras Al Khor Nature Reserve (and in particular to the flamingo roost at the junction of the Al Wasl and Oud Metha roads). The Nation’s first Ramsar wetland site at the head of Dubai Creek the reserve features saline flats, mud flats, mangroves, small lagoons and pools and a few tiny islands.
This is a super kid-friendly place to visit – in winter pretty pink flamingos steal the show but there are so many different bird species that can be viewed through fantastically sharp binoculars (this part alone is exciting for little people!)
Strict pathways lead to 3 hides deep in the mangroves, which literally offer you a birds-eye view of the wildlife.
Sassy Mama Tip: Ras Al Khor Nature Reserve is free to visit but you must register online first!