New Years Day is the new New Years Eve – and whether you’re nursing a sore head or starting the year as you mean to go on (having fun as a fam), this is the perfect time to catch a few precious moments before school and work resumes. From New Year’s Day Brunch to adventure, we’ve put together our top picks for January 1st 2015.
Aquaventure Water Park
Now this little number’s one of our faves for a splashtastic day with the kiddos, however they’re actually closing on January 11! With a number of thrilling waterslides (yes, with options for both mama and the littlies!); the Splasher’s Children’s Play Area with its massive jungle gym is a definite must for younger kiddos. Don’t forget to hit Aquaventure’s private beach afterwards for a spot of suntanning and a golden glow this new year.
Aquaventure, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, www.atlantisthepalm.com/marineandwaterpark/aquaventure.aspx
Complete The Walk Of Champions
From the flag (Palm Strip) to The Burj Al Arab, start with an early lunch at Dubai Marine Beach Resort before heading off along the beach track for sundowners at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel (and plenty of ice cream and refreshment stops along the way). Take the kids bikes or borrow/invest in a boba baby carrier (available at Babysouk.com) to avoid the ‘are we nearly there yet’ moments and give little legs a much needed break.
Dubai Bowling Centre
Nothing beats a bit of competition to kick off what we hope will be an exciting and successful 2015, so why not take a trip with family and friends to Dubai Bowling Centre for an inexpensive afternoon of fun. There are 16 professional bowling lanes and 8 can be equipped with bumpers so your little ones can have a bit more of a chance at bowling to victory. Er mamas, don’t even think about, you will have to play without, no cheating now!
The Dubai Shopping Festival
It’s the first day of the year mamas, and you know what that means. Post-Christmas sales! The Dubai Shopping Festival is having their 20th anniversary and that means you can expect to get half off on designer items, homewares and more (in some cheeky cases we’ve heard you can score 75% off!). With complimentary gifts and more, remember to bring the fam along and dine at one of the restaurants: if you spend over AED 100 you’ll be automatically entered into a competition with a prize of AED 350, 000 in cash.
The Dubai Shopping Festival, www.mydsf.ae
Fly A Kite or Rent A Standup Paddleboard
Dubai’s Kite Beach has become the ultimate family destination. With beachfront cafes, a popup SALT food truck offering the yummiest Wagyu burgers in town, kids playground and vast expanse of golden sand to frolic on (plus umbrellas and beds to rent now), there’s everything you need to get set up for the day. Teach the kids to fly a kite or rent a standup paddleboard and spend January 1st the way you mean to go on – as a family having fun in Dubai.
Find Salt at Kite Beach, daily, 12pm-10pm. Instagram:@findsalt
Get Your Skates On
The ice rink at Dubai Mall offers the perfect (icy) playground for the whole family (and cold air is particularly good for nursing a sore head mamas. Just sayin’.) Let your tiddlers (below 100cm) learn to skate with Penguin skating aids to grip onto and practice a few Torvill and Dean style moves with the hubster (or just aim at staying vertical!).
Dubai Ice Rink, Dubai Mall, (+971) (0) 4 448 5111, www.dubaiicerink.com
Go For A Spin
No matter what you’ve been up to the night before, New Year’s Day is all about getting your moves on (even if you are suffering from the shakes). Rally the troops, get dressed and get on your bikes! Personally, we love taking on the Jumeriah Open Beach tracks (remember that parts are closed at the moment) or hitting up Al Barsha park and going for a ride and a stroll.
Global Village is back at it again with their massive fun-filled al fresco theme park, brimming with festivals, markets and no shortage of entertainment! Open November through April, over 70 countries are taking part and you won’t want to miss Illumination World – a space full of glowing recreations of famous landmarks from across the world. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out yet, why not on New Year’s Day?
Adult tickets are AED 15, whereas children under 3 go free. Mondays are specifically designated family days.
Global Village, Exit 37, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road, Dubai, (+971)(0)43 624 114, globalvillage.ae/en
Hang Out On The Beach At JBR
While you and papa might not be feeling all that energetic, the kids will be – so pack up their bikes, scooters and roller skates and head to The Beach at JBR for whizzing up and down the beach path before a water splash session (for the littles) and lunch at one of the many yummy eateries on offer.
Head To Dubai Creek
Get down to the heart of Dubai and enjoy a family walk along the creek before stopping for a caffeine fix (and babycino) at The Archives newest sibling, Creekside Café. Continue on your family adventure with an abra ride along the creek and reflect on this beautiful city we call home.
Hit The Slopes
For the first time in forever (yes you guessed it) Ski Dubai has been transformed into a Frozen winter wonderland and what better way to spend New Years Day than covered in snow. This is something the whole family will enjoy with a variety of activities for all age groups. Expect fun sing along sessions with tunes from the Frozen movie, interactive story telling in the party room and arts and craft sessions including making and decorating your own snowflake. There will also be tons of paraphernalia from Disney’s most successful animated movie of all time, and well if that’s not enough, “Do you want to build a snowman?” Yes that’s right, there will be an opportunity to build your very own Olaf, or get your photo taken with man himself. What fun!
The Frozen activities will run until February 5th 2015 and they are totally free with a Ski Dubai entrance ticket, so don’t miss out!
Snow park entrance – AED 140 Children, AED 150 Adults
Horse Around At Desert Palm
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, an afternoon at Desert Palm is an absolute must for any fresh-air loving families out there – and the perfect adventure before the school term resumes. 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 and a whole lot of horsing around. Hand-led 10 and 20 minute horse rides for all ages are available at a cost of AED 10-30 depending on how long your little one wants to stay in the saddle for.
Not only does this feel like a bit of an oasis in the desert but it’s also a place where your kids can get down and dirty and enjoy the great outdoors. Take a picnic and feed the clan on the lovely big lawn overlooking the polo fields – there are often horses grazing nearby and trees to climb. Heaven.
Pssst…read our full review here mamas!
Desert Palm Riding School, Hatta Road (next to Desert Palm Hotel) Dubai, (+971) (0)4 3238010, www.dubaipoloclub.com
With only 3 days left in January to experience KidZania’s Sharing Wishes festivities, New Years Day is literally the perfect day to head down to the magical city full of lights and sit under the stars. Children will enjoy special activities and of course there will be lots of fun games to experience, but most of all your tots will be encouraged to reflect on their future dreams and to share their wishes for a better world. What a lovely way to start 2015!
Sharing Wishes celebrations end January 3rd, 2015. Babies – free, 2-3 Yrs old – AED 95, 4-16 yrs old 140
Kidzania, Level 2, The Dubai Mall, (+971)(0)44 485 222, www.kidzania.ae
New Year, New…House?
So you’ve been complaining about those scratches on the wall, the sofa pillows that are slowly killing you not to mention the lack of cozy garden furniture. Want to give your house a makeover? What better day to start than the first day of the New Year. Take the fam on a drive around town and let each person pick something that will make them (and you!) love your house just a little bit more in the new year. Did we hear someone say DragonMart, Satwa, IKEA? Do it mamas!
The Ripe Food and Craft Market
This family-friendly farmers’ market goes down a storm with mamas everywhere and they’re holding one on the very first day of the year. Grab some organic grub for dinner and peruse the handicrafts market as the kiddos play with animals at the petting zoo amongst other activities. (The first day of the year isn’t such a bad time to start going green, mamas!)
Ripe, 8 A Street, Al Manara Street, (+971)(0) 4 380 7602, www.ripeme.com/market-dubai
Throw Some Dough
Nothing quite hits the spot (and settles that carb craving) like a fresh pizza so why not head to Sapori di Bice and get the kids to have a go at making their own? Mama and papa get to sit while the kids create doughy shapes (hearts, stars and other cute versions) that are then transferred to a huge wood fired pizza oven and delivered piping hot and ready to eat. Mmmm, Mama Mia!
Sapori Di Bice, City Walk, Jumeirah, (+971) (0)4 344 2550, www.saporidibice.com
Watch Paddington Bear The Movie
Opening on December 25th, Paddington Bear is all set to complete our holiday celebrations this year with a much anticipated movie following his antics. Book in advance on the Novo Cinemas website and you can bag yourself a seat and the chance to win a trip for 4 to London mamas! Kiddies as young as 2 will love this one – and as they watch mesmerized perhaps mamas and papas can enjoy a much needed sit down (and a few moments of shut eye? Ssshhhh!)
Feel like a braai, mamas? Al Basha, an amazing poolside Arabian restaurant, is hosting a barbecue to ring in the first day of the year. Soak in the sun or skip inside before tucking into some fab mezzes and kebabs – and make sure to keep an eye out for the authentic Arabian entertainment that’ll be going on throughout the day as well. (We’re just happy we’re not the ones in charge of the barbie!)
Runs 12:30-3:30pm. AED 299 with unlimited drinks, AED 110 per child aged 6-12 and kids under 5 go free.
Al Basha, Habtoor Hotels, Habtoor Hotels
Bubbalicious New Years’ Day Brunch at the Westin
Now this one’s a hot spot for good reason: the Westin’s New Years’ Day Brunch is one that’ll kickstart your year right. Though at a bit of a steeper price, it’s well worth the money with the quality of the food you’re getting here. Running from 1pm-4pm, it’ll be three hours of gourmet greatness – perfect for the foodie family looking for a special day out.
AED 650 for free flow champagne brunch, AED 225 for kids.
Westin Mina Seyahi, Al Sufouh Road, Jumeirah Beach, (+971)(0) 4 399 4141, www.westinminaseyahi.com
The Market Place
Looking to let the littlies sleep in after the previous night’s festivities? The Marriot’s fab restaurant The Market Place is doing a drunch (okay, maybe it’s not quite brunch) running from 12:30pm all the way up to 12:30am. With live entertainment and a kiddos’ buffet, remember to book in for a three hour slot to indulge yourself this January 1st.
AED 175 for an adult buffet, AED 275 for an adult buffet with house beverages and AED 60 for kids.
The Market Place, JW Marriot Hotel Dubai, Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, Deira, 16590 Dubai, www.marriottdiningatjw.ae/restaurant, (+971)(0)46 077 977