The newest kiddie hotspot in Dubai
If I was planning the perfect place for my kids to play, The Journey would be it. This brand new space is just what all us mamas (and kiddos) in Dubai have dreamt about for years, and it’s so awesome that I might just set up camp there and let the littles run wild for the next two weeks (seriously)!
Located just off Kite Beach in Umm Suqeim, this sprawling outdoor area has everything from a vegetable garden and little orchard to little ‘wadis’ to splash in, beautifully crafted wooden play structures to little nooks for hiding – and the best bit? It’s all set within the most beautiful natural environment complete with trees, grass and flowers for the littles to roam about in.
I caught up with Candy, the amazing mama who has brought The Journey to life (while my kids had the time of their lives in her completely fantastic space) and learned a little about what inspired her, and what’s yet to come. Mamas, if you’ve already been and are as hooked as we are – there are some mega treats in store, and we can’t wait!
South African born and bred, Candy has been in Dubai for 15 years (if you remember Kite Beach in the days when all that existed was a little shack for a gym then you would definitely have met her). Bubbly, blonde and with 3 kids of her own, aged 23, 22 and 13, Candy has worked for His Royal Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum on the Fazza Beach Club for years, a completely awe-inspiring project that’ll see Kite Beach transformed into one of the world’s leading sporting beaches complete with football pitches, a skate park and plenty of very beautiful natural areas. But her underlying itch? To create somewhere really special for kids of all ages that will allow them to reconnect with nature and get away from the tv/ipad/computer (hallelujah!).
The Journey took 8 months to build but over 3 years to plan and is the closest thing that our Dubai born babies are going to get to mucking about in the countryside – complete with getting dirty, exploring and having the (safe) freedom to roam. Oh and there’ll be a cafe for mama to relax in, or for healthy but yummy kids food when you just can’t face cooking again (um…yes). Plus there are all sorts of classes, from archery to cooking to arts & crafts, AND a mini farm that’ll allow kids to get up close and personal with all sorts of animals, from milking cows, to riding horses, to collecting freshly laid eggs. Heavenly.
The Journey is perfect for any kiddie crowd – imaginations can soar with outdoor play kitchens, water play areas, teeny forests and amazing wooden structures that have been made for climbing, exploring and conquering. And if this doesn’t sound good enough, 2016 will bring a whole lot more, including a weekly farmers market where kids can come and sell whatever they’ve produced – from homemade cakes to jewellery! Plus, a huge air-conditioned barn where horses, cows and other farm animals will reside, and kids will get the chance to ride, pet and love a few furry friends. There’ll also be a library, a reading corner, and a huge range of classes (from yoga to ante-natal), and while the kids play, little rabbits will hop around. How completely idyllic.
For little adventurers a Bear Grylls style survival course will teach everything from how to build a camp fire to making shelters – oh and there’ll be overnight sleeping which sounds so magical that I might have to bag a spot myself.
And nope – it isn’t going to be overrun with people as a maximum of 100 visitors will be allowed into The Journey at any time so there won’t be any jostling for space. This is a place where kids and animals can run wild – and where the forecast is always happy. Candy, we salute you! Turns out that life really is all about The Journey – and in this case, the destination too.
The Journey is open everyday from 9am until 5pm (hours will be extended to 8pm during the next phase of development).
Entry costs AED 30 per person for 2 hours. Memberships will also be available.
The second phase is due to open at the end of January…and we just can’t wait.