Water parks, Water sports, there’s water, water everywhere and we’re going after it!
The desert city’s heating up for the summer (yes, already!) and we’re planning on living at water parks over the weekends – okay, well not really but we’re pretty keen on beating the heat. We’re sure you’re in the same boat (pardon the pun), so we’ve put together a guide to best places for the fam to get all washed up together whether you’re skidding down a waterslide or catching some waves at a water sports lesson. Check out our list of the most fun water activities in Dubai below. Surf’s up, mamas!
Here’s one that’s guaranteed to be a splash with the kiddos. Al Majaz’s 800 square metre park in the super cool Al Majaz Waterfront Development in Sharjah is the first of its kind, with waterfalls, water tunnels and awesome displays for the littles to get lost in. It’s also a more affordable day out at just AED 30 for entry, always a plus in our books!
Al Majaz, www.almajaz.ae
So how’s this for a change: an indoor waterpark where you don’t need to get (too) wet? Aimed at younger kiddos, this fun play area in City Centre Mirdif is an absolute delight with an awesome educational focus, where tots will learn about water and its importance! Definitely more affordably priced than the glitzier waterparks and without any of the blistering heat, there’s a number of fun rides including bumper boats, swinging boats and more.
Aquaplay, City Centre Mirdif, Dubai
(+971) (0)4 231 6311, www.theplaymania.com/aquaplay
This absolutely gorgeous water park is exactly what we’d imagine the lost city Atlantis would actually look like (minus the waterslides). Perfect for kids of all age ranges, the more adventurous can chart a course for The Tower of Poseidon and its monstrous Aquaconda slide while those looking for a more relaxed time can cruise on down the artificial river in a rubber ring. Mama can catch a breath on one of the sun loungers while the littles go to town in the Splasher’s Children Play Area (awesome for younger ones), or can take the ride of a lifetime over at the super intense Tower of Neptune with a slide that takes you right through a manta ray and shark tank – yikes!
Atlantis The Palm, Crescent Road, The Palm
(+971)(0)44 262 000, www.atlantisthepalm.com
Well, it had to be said mama. Easily the cheapest option on the list, hitting up one of Dubai’s numerous beaches is always a great shout and you’ll be able to bring your own food and make a full on family day of it. With a smattering of beaches across the desert city, you won’t be hard pressed to find one to fall in love with. One of our favourites is the Al Mamzar Beach Park, loads to do for the fam there! Oh and Kite Beach of course – with its cafes, skate park and chilled vibe – we love! Read our guide to some of the best beaches in Dubai for some inspo on your next weekend jaunt.
There are a number of fab beach clubs across Dubai that we frequently haunt and you don’t even need a membership for most of them, as they’ll do day passes. With swimming pools, private beaches, water sports and a place to chow down once everyone’s energies have been spent, we’ve put together a little guide to our favourite family-friendly beach clubs! Oh and be sure to check out Privilee, a leisure membership that gives you access to some of the UAE’s best beach clubs and resorts – including their lush pools and private beaches (plus loads of other perks) – once you join you’ll be hooked!
Dreamland’s an old hand at this watery play stuff and with good reason. It was the first water park in the region (created in 1997) and it’s only gotten better with age, with water slides to spare and chilled out play areas for the fam to catch their breath. Highlights include the, Lake-O-Waves, the largest wave pool in the region and of course the Family Raft Ride where you’ll slip down slides in a family sized rubber ring. And once you’ve had enough of the water, you can head over to the petting zoo or amphitheatre full of shows for a bit of dry entertainment. It’s a little way away from Dubai so consider making a weekend out of it! You can rent a wooden cabana for a quirky camping experience, which comes with barbecues, access to all the rides and even a night swim.
Dreamland, 655 Umm Al Quwain, UAE
This gorgeous ‘surf shack’ style set up at Dubai Marine Beach Resort’s private bay is one of Dubai’s newest watersports concepts. Perfect for every single member of the family, this fab centre brings us every type of watersport with a focus on making sure that experiences are unique and memorable – but also totally safe! Think clear-kayaks (perfect for spotting fish with the kids), inflatable tows, fly-boards, kids SUP’s and loads LOADS more plus fitness classes, kids birthday parties, surf safaris, group activities – the list is endless! This is water play at it’s very very best. The Sassy Mama crew tried their hand at wake surfing – and loved it (even with plenty of failed attempts and having inhaled most of the Arabian Gulf!). For a good laugh, check out our Instagram feed for a few pics and watch out for more…we’re hooked!
+971 (0) 4 304 8161, www.fahrenheitbeachsports.com
Okay so this one required about a forty five minute drive out to Ras Al Khaimah, but it’s literally the coolest of the lot. You’ll have your regular water park rides (i.e. your wave pools, your water slides, your lazy river), but you’ll also have awesome ice and snow themed rides just to up the ante. The super dramatic Penguin Falls is definitely a must-ride for the thrillseekers, whereas the littles can head on over to Kids Cove for tiny water adventures.
Ice Land Water Park, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
(+971) (0)8 0096 9725, www.icelandwaterpark.com
Splash your way through a full day of LEGO® themed family fun at the only water park in the region designed specifically for families with children 2-12. With over 20 water slides including family raft, body and tube slides plus a LEGO® Wave Pool, DUPLO® toddler play area and slides designed especially for the littler kids and – our fave – a ‘Build-A-Raft-River’ where you can build your own custom LEGO raft from soft lego bricks before floating in it down a lazy river. AWESOME!
Located on Sheikh Zayed Road between Dubai and Abu Dhabi as an integral component of Dubai Parks and Resorts
Splash N Party is one of the city’s newest, coolest and most exciting aqua parks – set up in the residential area of Safa 2 (think massive villa with its outside space transformed into a colourful water wonderland!). With everything from water slides to a splash pad plus activities including regular stage shows and sing-alongs, bungee fun and loads more, the only struggle you’ll have is getting your children to leave! Oh and they do birthday parties too – time for a splash bash?!
Got a kiddo under 12? This modest fenced off area at JBR is a great place to cool off with water fountains, water cannons and buckets ready to rumble. With a day pass available at AED 95 or an hour pass at AED 65, it’s a good hour’s worth of entertainment and the tots can skip on over to the dry playground after they’ve towelled off. Here’s a tip though mamas, the floor can get a little hot where it’s unshaded so break out the flip flops!
Beach Splash Area, JBR The Walk, near the Hilton Hotel
If you’re keen to get your kiddos on a surf board then this is a fab place to start. The Surf House in Umm Suqeim (just near Umm Suqeim Park) is one of the coolest spots we’ve found in town – a dose of California in Dubai. Owned and run by a super sassy dad, the Surf House is a cafe, shop and base for renting everything from SUP’s to surf boards – and they offer all sorts of classes – from private to group, for ages 5 and up (we are SO giving it a go soon…) led by instructors all of whom are qualified lifeguards and expert surfers. All have accreditations in Level 1 Surf Coaching, ILS and first aid certificates and all are handpicked for their passion for and enthusiasm for surfing. Oh and they also offer yoga classes. Perfect.
+971 (0) 50 504 3020, www.surfingdubai.com
Get ready for fun, mamas! This fantastic theme park based on the folk hero Juha is the place to cool off during the summer months, whether your kiddos are big or small. The fam can laze along the stretch of Juha’s Journey or get ready to scream on the Tantrum Alley, while surfer dudes and dudettes will want to check out Wipeout and Riptide Flowriders to catch some waves. And for the really tiny ones, there’s a massive watery jungle gym and there’s changing facilities in the changing rooms – check out the Wild Wadi Water Park helpful guide for mamas with babies!
Wild Wadi Water Park, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai
(+971) (0)4 348 4444, www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/dubai/wild-wadi
This amusement and water park in our own backyard is one that’s a bit more modest by Dubai’s standards and in all honesty, that’s what adds to its charm. Open literally every day of the year, head on over to their Splash Land area to brave Flood River’s meter high waves or get involved in a full on water war with water guns and more.
Wonderland Amusement Park, Riyadh Road, Next to Creek Park, Garhoud Bridge, Dubai
(+971) (0)4 324 3222, www.wonderlanduae.com
Jazz up your beach day by heading over to The Beach for a splash about on Arabian Water Parks’ fantastic inflatable mini water park! It’s all completely safe with life jackets available and it’s located in the moderate shallows of the gulf with lifeguards constantly on watch. There’s definitely something to be said for their nifty floating play area, which has everything from trampolines to climbing walls. They’re definitely taking bouncy castles to the next level.
The Beach Water Park, The Beach, Jumeirah Beach Residence
(+971) (0)4 551 6180, www.arabianwaterparks.com
This is definitely a choice for the young’uns. As the most toddler-friendly park in the UAE, we’re loving the local flair to all the rides and decor from Yehal, a playground for the tots, to the Marah Fortress laden with bouncy swings. Of course, there’s slides, dumping buckets and sprayers galore so get ready to get wet mamas!
YAS Waterworld, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
(+971) (0)2 414 2000, www.yaswaterworld.com
Whitewater rafting? Near Dubai? Yep, it’s a thing now thanks to Wadi Adventure where you’ll be able to zip down the longest manmade whitewater channels with the fam. Kiddos looking to catch some waves can head over to the surf pool where they’ve got lessons for all skill levels, or you can just chill out at the swimming pool and kids splash area – it’s literally chilled in the summer to combat the crazy heat. Once everyone’s all dried off, shoot on over to the aerial obstacle and ropes course. It’ll take just under a couple of hours to get to Wadi Adventuree by car, but it’s well worth it.
Wadi Adventure, Jabel Hafeet, 88202 Al Ain, UAE
(+971) (0)3 781 8422, www.wadiadventure.ae
Happy Splashing, mamas!
Editorial Disclaimer: This article was first published on 20 April, 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness