Stuck indoors on a hot afternoon, the kids climbing the walls and desperate for an outing, I made a last-minute call to try out the new water splash park at JBR’s uber smart beach development. Bundling swimming gear, 2 excited toddlers and a rather bemused baby into the car, we whizzed up the Sheikh Zayed Road ready for an adventure! Things didn’t exactly get off to a good start – having not been in the JBR/Marina area for some time, I hadn’t realised just how many road works are going on and how difficult it is to get to where you want to go without making endless u-turns, taking wrong exits and cursing far too loudly with so many little ears present. The kids, sensing my stress, decided that actually they didn’t want to go to the water splash at all and world war 3 erupted in the car – excellent – our afternoon plan was going to need salvaging and I crossed all fingers and toes that this place would be worth it!
Finally parked up (in a very smart basement car park next to the Hilton Hotel), my eldest – still insisting he was absolutely definitely NOT going in the water park – was coaxed out of his seat and we made our way up to street level, determined to have some fun! For those of you who have, like me, been living under a rock for the past few months, you have just got to get down to JBR to see how much it has changed. Walking along a beautiful esplanade complete with bouncy running track, the beach on one side and a string of cafes and restaurants on the other – reminiscent of beautiful beach destinations in Europe – hooray! And then there it was, the splash park looking incredibly appealing in the heat so we wandered towards it (past an outdoor cinema – yes you probably already know about that but I didn’t and I am adding this to my list of wants this month!)
The modern splash park is fairly small and enclosed and costs AED 60 per child per hour. There is a very clean little changing room onsite and a water-less playground within the fenced area. I was surprised, and grateful, at how quiet it was but this could largely be due to the hefty price tag and also because the overhead shades did very little to keep the afternoon sun out – make sure you cover your little ones up well and smother them with sun cream – apparently mornings are far shadier.
Within minutes of arriving, my eldest and youngest were having a ball, one running from water jet to fountain before dodging water cascading from overhead sprinklers and the other crawling among each of the water features, putting her little hands over the nozzles and not minding being sprayed at all. Middle child meanwhile stood on the side suspiciously eyeing up the water area before venturing cautiously towards some water fountains and dipping his toes. The great thing about this mini water splash park is that it’s so compact that you feel in control – definitely no danger of losing anyone here. Perfect for all ages from crawlers to swimmers (although there isn’t much space for the latter), there are kids playing with water toys, running under huge tipping buckets and enjoying the modern version of running through the garden sprinkler on a hot summers day. Mama ended up getting totally drenched – this is definitely a place for swimwear and not, as I found out, ideal when fully clothed as you are more than likely going to end up in the water (or under a bucket when you least expect it) which is lovely and cool and lots of fun with the little ones.
There are plenty of friendly staff on duty to help kids navigate their way and make sure everyone is behaving (no food inside etc) plus balloon modelling which proved perfect for getting the kids out and ready to leave. The fenced area is divided into water splash and a fairly sparse playground which is a little bit pointless and far too hot to consider at the moment – the ground in the non-water areas was very hot for little tootsies so it’s worth bringing water shoes. Similarly if your babes are at crawling stage, put them in something that covers their knees and feet to prevent grazing. An hour of play was ample, the park does offer passes for all day entrance which might be good if you’re stationed on the beach and the kids need to cool down every now and then but my little ones were more than ready to leave after their 60 minutes were up. Make sure you keep your receipt to qualify for free car-parking (usually AED 20 per hour).
The splash park is located on The Beach, JBR, Dubai Marina (just in front of the Hilton Hotel.)
Open everyday: 9am – 8pm