Ideas to keep your cool – and your sanity – in the Abu Dhabi summer months (and stormy days!)
To a certain point in the year, you can still take advantage of outdoor escapes at many of Abu Dhabi’s beautiful beaches like the Corniche, Hudayriyat, Saadiyat Beach, Yas Beach and Al Bateen Family Beach (we talk about all our favourite Abu Dhabi outdoor spaces here).
And there are many ways to keep your cool by getting wet at the likes of Yas Waterworld and various little splash park spots around the city.
But then there is the UAE summer….
Those blistering hot days from June to September when the mere idea of setting foot outside your house breaks you into a cold sweat.
OK, so summer might not be the best time to live in or visit Abu Dhabi…. BUT….. this doesn’t mean it’s not still an incredibly family-friendly place to visit.
As it’s low season, you can be spoilt for choice at really reasonable prices on luxury hotels and indoor play spaces. And no, not all boring soft plays!!!!
This post is part of our series Discover the UAE – packed with ideas to explore Abu Dhabi and beyond.
Please note this guide was first published in 2017 and has been updated annually to reflect openings and closings.
- Top 5 Active Indoor Escapes For Kids in Abu Dhabi
- Bonus Listing: The New Kid on the Block – Adrenark Adventure
- Best of the Rest, Theme Parks & Kids Summer Camp ideas in Abu Dhabi
- Other ways to beat the heat in the UAE
You can also join the conversation over on our group “UAE with the kids” on Facebook
Top 5 Active Indoor Escapes For Kids in Abu Dhabi
One of the things we love most about the indoor play spaces in Abu Dhabi is that the focus is on keeping kids active! Active minds and active bodies, we’ve got the lot in Abu Dhabi!
These are our top picks for things to do with kids in Abu Dhabi over summer 2023:
1. Bounce ME Free-jumping revolution, Marina Mall
This immensely popular indoor attraction allows kids to not only practice their trampolining skills but participate in dodgeball games, throw themselves on the giant pillow, down giant slides and, for the brave, test their zip-lining skills or the quick drop.
They have recently also added an X-Park obstacle course to their offering to extend this bright and colourful venue to well beyond just a trampoline centre.
You pay by the hour, with groups changing over on the hour. Children should ideally be aged 3 and up and must be toilet trained, but by our experience will get more out of it from 5 years+ and when they reach over 110cm.
After all the running around and energy burn, they’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep after this one, I promise!
They are also the birthday party hosts extraordinaire! I challenge that there’s hardly a parent in Abu Dhabi who I haven’t bumped into here! Parties provide an hour of play with your party host, followed by snacks and cakes in their dedicated party zone, what more could a kid ask for?
(I’d only suggest avoiding the peak of weekends when parties take over much of the venue and free jumpers are restricted on which areas they can actually use).
Bounce Abu Dhabi Opening Hours, Cost & Location
- Level 1, Marina Mall Abu Dhabi Sun to Thu: 10 am to 10 pm Fri to Sat: 10 am to 12 am (Friday trick nights 6 pm to 9 pm)
- General Access (>110cm) AED 85
- Mini Bounce and Junior Jumpers (<110cm) AED 80 per session
- Premium Access (including X-Park >110cm) AED 100.
- Multipass tickets are available and discounted subsequent hours – or get the 2-hour Superpass AED 120/140/180.
- Summer Camp running over July and August 2023
See full details & terms and conditions on their website or follow @bouncemideast
2. Air Maniax Adventure Park, Marina Mall & Yas Mall
With two branches now, this is one of the best indoor activities for active kids in Abu Dhabi. From giant inflatable games to a Warrior Assault course that keep kids (and adults!) moving, this is one of the best active indoor venues in Abu Dhabi.
They have specially dedicated areas for toddlers and those under 94cm, then increasingly difficult attractions, slides, and inflatable courses for your growing kids, all the way through until teens. You can even add a zigzag ride with premium access.
Like many active Abu Dhabi venues, expect party packages too. It’s a great Abu Dhabi indoor play space for your active kids (and parents of older kids can grab a coffee and snack upstairs while the kids let loose!)
Air Maniax Abu Dhabi Opening Hours and Location
- Yas Mall Branch, 1st floor, next to Waitrose/Opposite Kidzania
- Marina Mall, 1st floor, Al Marina (Behind Typo & Opposite Borders)
- Open Sun to Thu 10 am to 10 pm; Fri and Sat 10 am to 12 am
- General access starts from AED 85 per hour, through to all-day Premium access for AED 249
Inquire directly with Airmaniax for further pricing & entry information
3. Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ, Dalma Mall
This is the spot for your little adrenaline seekers to test themselves and try out new skills in a safe and fully supervised indoor environment. Originally set up as a retail store for all your outdoor needs, the Adventure Zone was added to bring children into the store and experience the outdoors inside whilst waiting parents get to browse in the stock…
There are four adventure zones to choose from – skate park, pump track, trampolines, and cable climb. Children’s parties can also be catered for at ‘The Lodge’.
After some initial tears, I was so surprised by how well the Globetrotters have taken to the activities on offer. The rock climbing and abseiling have been huge confidence builders for the kids, and they work up a real sweat, even in the indoor air conditioning!
Sadly, the larger branch at Yas Mall, which used to run some brilliant summer camps, has closed. Only the Dalma Mall branch remains open at a reduced size Nonetheless still a good spot for indoor activity.
Adventure Zone Abu Dhabi Opening Hours, Costs and Location
- You pay AED99 for 60 minutes, AED149 for a 120-minute session or AED179 for an all-day pass.
- Sibling discounts apply and multi passes are available.
- Dalma Mall location – Level 2 (near to cinema end)
- Sun to Thu: 12 pm to 9 pm; Fri & Sat 10 am to 10 pm
- A Summer Camp is running in July and August 2023.
See full terms and pricing on the Adventure Zone Website
4. Orange Wheels, Al Wadha Mall & Raha Mall
Some might consider Orange Wheels in the soft play category, but we really think it has the edge over many of the other soft play centres around. Bright, colourful and clean come to mind and a real variety of activities so you can please children of multiple age groups.
Your older, more physical kids can enjoy the climbing wall, while there’s plenty of space for the more creative in their art section. There is, of course, a huge soft play area set over multiple levels with spiral slides, an obstacle course, and a trampoline.
Smaller bubs will like the dedicated under 5’s play area and O-Town Roleplay, one of the better ones I’ve seen. Ideally, Orange Wheels caters up to 10 years (all children must be supervised, they no longer offer a drop-and-shop option).
A newer branch of Orange Wheels has also opened on Level 3 of Al Raha Mall. Designed for children under eight, the centre boasts a beautiful, imaginative role-play area as well as a less daunting soft play area than the one in Al Wahda Mall, a craft area and a baby zone. There’s also a nice cafe serving up all sorts of tasty treats for kids and grown-ups alike.
Orange Wheels Abu Dhabi Opening Hours and Location
- Ground Floor Al Wadha Mall extension. (A slightly tricky one to find! You need to first come to level 1 in the extension to get down to level G, or enter from the ground floor car park extension)
- There is a second branch on the third floor Al Raha Mall (near Zak’s uniform shop) aimed at children under 8.
- Open Daily 10 am to 8 pm
- Each session lasts 90 minutes for AED 80 or add an hour for AED 35, 1 free adult per household, each additional adult AED 25.
Inquire directly with Orange Wheels for further pricing & entry information
5. Kidzania, Yas Mall
Undoubtedly ‘The King’ of edutainment centres in Abu Dhabi is Kidzania. Located on the ground floor of Yas Mall, the centre comprises a huge interactive mini-city providing children with more than 40 opportunities to role-play in different professions, from dentistry to window cleaning.
In each role, participants earn ‘KidZos’ – the official currency of Kidzania – which they can then spend on a variety of attractions within the ‘city’ as well as in the gift shop (and even in other Kidzania branches, including Dubai).
Our honorary Globetrotter, Miss A, loved having the opportunity to make juice at the Lacnor juice factory, taking care of babies in the hospital, and training to be a pilot in the Aviation Academy.
The fun does, however, come at a price and makes for quite a costly day out for a family of four (or more). Children’s tickets start from AED105 AED for toddlers, and all accompanying adults must pay AED75. There are numerous offers available online as well as annual pass options which do make the experience more affordable.
I do believe that it is money well spent as nowhere else can children have such an engaging real-life experience. Be prepared to stay the whole day and perhaps wait until children are a little older (5+) to really make the most of your day.
Kidzania Abu Dhabi Opening Hours, Costs and Location
- Ground floor, Yas Mall – Ferrari World side (on the wing where you find AirManiax too)
- Open Monday to Thursday 9 am – 8 pm and Friday to Sunday 11 am to 9 pm
- Economy Tickets AED 185, Premium AED 255
Bonus Listing: The New Kid on the Block – Adrenark Adventure
Opened in April 2023, Adrenark, located in the Al Qana development, is a huge indoor adventure playground. With more than 20 activities, from soft play and fairground rides to climbing walls and cave exploring experiences, there’s something for the whole family.
There’s also a food court serving up all sorts of tasty treats.
Adrenark Adventure Abu Dhabi Opening Hours, Costs and Location
- Al Qana Development, Bab al Bahr
- Open daily from 10am until 10pm, 12 Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays
- Prices start at AED 79 for toddlers and increase to AED 299 for an unlimited access pass (multiplex karting excluded).
Best of the Rest, Theme Parks & Kids Summer Camp ideas in Abu Dhabi
Finding just 5 indoor ideas in Abu Dhabi was extremely tough; Gone are the days when a mass summer exodus of families is expected and everything in Abu Dhabi simply shuts down.
There are plenty of places still open and fighting for some family attention across the city. Here’s a sample of what else you can expect indoors:
Our Top Pick For Older Kids: Xtreme Zone
Part trampoline park, part soft play, part Active Climb, and part Phaser Zone (a futuristic laser tag/paintless paintball game!). There’s a lot going on here, keeping all the family moving at its heart. There are branches in Abu Dhabi Mall, The Galleria Mall, and Deerfields Mall.
- Open from 10 am to 10 pm daily. For more details and ticketing options visit xtremezoneme.com.
Our Top Pick For Younger Kids: Caboodle
Whilst all the places we’ve listed above cater pretty well to roughly tour 4+ crowd if we had to narrow down a favourite choice for your littlest ones in Abu Dhabi, it would be Caboodle in Galleria Mall.
Offering children plenty of imaginative play opportunities in a light and spacious venue, including a cafeteria and a hair saloon, this is our top soft play and edutainment choice for under 4’s.
Kids 3 and over can be left to play independently using ‘drop ‘n shop’ if you need to get a little shopping done, and they run plenty of additional mum & baby style classes too.
- Open from 10 am to 10 pm on weekdays, midnight on weekends.
- For current programs and special events, visit caboodle.ae
- Running a summer camp in July/August 2023 for your 3 to 8-year-olds
- (NB summer 2023, they are temporarily relocated within the mall)
Our Top Pick for Families: Louvre Abu Dhabi
A great option for families looking to do something to enjoy together, the Louvre Abu Dhabi has a weekend program #MakeandPlay. Held Saturdays and Sunday’s there are three sessions a day that run for 2 hours, AED 50 – learn more at louvreabudhabi.ae.
Also Consider: The National Aquarium
The National Aquarium can make for a great indoor family day out in Abu Dhabi. Based in the new Al Qana development, enjoy “an underwater adventure like no other” across 10 thematic zones. There are daily feeding times you can join in, and an animal encounter program at additional cost.
Open daily, 10 am to 10 pm; general admission starts from AED 105 – learn more at thenationalaquuarium.ae
Abu Dhabi Theme Parks
Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi
This category of indoor entertainment got a lot more exciting in 2018 with the introduction of Warner Bros World on Yas Island.
Packed full of your favourite characters, rides and experiences, WB World Abu Dhbai offers an awe-inspiring escape from the summer heat. Look out for special events such as ‘Superhero Saturdays’ as well as special exhibitions of film props and costumes.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
The other obvious Abu Dhabi indoor choice is Ferrari World. The world’s first entirely indoor theme park attached to Yas Mall, this is the perfect place for your older thrill-seeker kids. Younger ones may still enjoy it, but there are height restrictions that might see them missing out on a fair bit of the action.
Do note that the new Family Zone opened in March 2020 greatly increased the number of rides available for those under 1.3m. If you’ve previously dismissed it as inappropriate for the little ones, maybe give it another look this summer.
CLYMB Abu Dhabi
We’d also add in here indoor adventure centre CLYMB. Although not exactly a theme park, the world’s largest indoor skydiving centre and the largest indoor climbing wall in the world (though only open to your highly experienced 14+!) makes for a great fun day out on Yas Island.
There are plenty of beginner climbing walls and bouldering to keep kids occupied.
The latest addition to Yas Island and the indoor entertainment scene is Seaworld. Separated into 8 ocean realms, Seaworld takes you on a journey from the poles to the tropics following their them of One Ocean. The experience includes up-close animal encounters, thrilling rides and a variety of live entertainment.
To find out more about Seaworld and the adjacent Marine Research and Rescue Center, click here.
Who says you can’t have snow in the desert? This brand-new theme park is one of the largest snow parks in the world, featuring 20 rides and attractions, including toboggan slopes, bumper tubes and the mesmerising crystal carousel – all in a very chilly 2° C.
To find out more about Snow Abu Dhabi, click here.
Dubai Parks & Resorts
Although technically over the border in Dubai, the Dubai Parks & Resorts complex is still within an hour’s drive for most in Abu Dhabi. The Dreamworks attractions at Motiongate are entirely inside in the air conditioning, including the Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and Dragon rides.
Mid-summer, you can expect queue-free non-stop riding as a plus. However, the downside really is getting there. From the car park, it’s quite an epic transfer by transit tram to get to the parks themselves, then a walk to the entrances, which are not shaded.
A few of you have asked about our experience at Legoland Dubai in the summer too. In my personal opinion, not enough of Legoland is indoors to make this a comfortable summer experience.
Whilst the individual attractions may be inside, the walk between rides is mostly outdoors. Legoland Dubai Water Park next door can still be bearable out of the peak heat of the day – but as mentioned above it’s the epic transfer from car to park that would put me off with small children.
Note Legoland WaterPark is closed on Wednesday – see the summer timetable here.
Sadly, Bollywood Parks is now permanently closed, but a new attraction, the indoor park Neon Galaxy has recently opened to give an extra activity during your trip to Dubai Parks & Resorts.
Summer Camps in Abu Dhabi
The good news and saviour for many working parents in Abu Dhabi is Summer Camps. You will find almost all nurseries will remain open for at least part of the summer to cater to the 0-4 age audience at least 5-6 hours a day (and these are open to all kids, even if you don’t normally attend term time).
But what about older kids? I have asked some fellow Abu Dhabi mums for guidance on this one and what a great list of suggestions we got back. As well as those venues detailed above in our top 5, there are recommended summer camps at:
- Zayed Sports City – varied sports program across their exciting venues running from 8:00 to 15.00, available for boys and girls aged 5-12. From 840 AED per week (ice-skating camp).
- Mathnasium – Educational Program run in 5 locations in Abu Dhabi, ideal for your 6 to 12-year-olds, 9:00 to 14:00. Daily 250AED/Weekly 1150AED (TBC for 2023)
- Emirates Palace Summer Camp – Run in collaboration with Manchester City Football Club (training every Friday), kids are split by ages 3-5, 6-8, 9-14. Daily 375AED/1595AED. There will also be a ‘teen hub’ for 13 to 16-year-olds featuring escape rooms, gaming rooms, dance competitions and much more! Prices start at 285 AED per day.
- Abu Dhabi Country Club – 15 activities on offer run daily 9:00 to 14:00, pricing TBC.
- Cheeky Monkeys Al Forsan – Geared to children aged 3 to 8; kids can enjoy creative activities, science experiments and silly chefs as well as their huge soft play area.Two sessions: 9:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 18:00. A 10-session pass is AED 990.
- The Al Hosn Summer Camp will teach children a variety of traditional and modern artistic techniques, including weaving, mosaic making, candle making and decoupage. The camp runs from the 24th of July until the 10th of August. AED 150 per day.
You can also join the discussion on our local Facebook group – With the Kids AD.
Soft Plays and Edutainment Centres in Abu Dhabi
Whether you love it or loathe it, there comes a point where you will probably need to give in to soft play areas if you’re here all summer.
These will usually involve some sort of climbing structure, role play area, baby ball pit, and at the larger ones, video games and more extreme fairground-type rides.
Some of the ones more aligned to the edutainment category and a bit more bang for your buck with extra activities and a pleasant setting are:
- Caboodle at The Galleria Mall
- Happynest at Gardens Plaza
- Cheeky Monkeys at Al Forsan (above Spinneys)
- Kidz Factory at Dalma Mall
- Pop in and Play World Trade Centre & Yas Mall
And if you’re looking to mix it up and find something – anything new! – you can try one of the larger chain soft plays and indoor entertainment centres that we’ve not previously mentioned above, including;
- Action Zone – Capital Mall MBZ and Boutik Mall Reem Island (1AED Mondays and a new trampoline park Jump Up has now opened, replacing the bowling alley)
- Busy Bees Entertainment Center – Makani Mall and Central Mall Khalifa City
- Crazy Cars 4 Kid – Dalma Mall and Deefields Mall
- Fun City – Yas Mall, Dalma Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall & Al Seef Village Seef
- FabyLand – Deerfields Mall
- Kiddos – Deerfields Mall and Dalma Mall
- Rolling Wheels – Dalma Mall and Al Wadha Mall
- Sparkys – Khalidyiah Mall (includes ice rink), Mushrif Mall, Deerfields Mall
- Wanasa Land – Al Wadha Mall, Madinat Zayed Mall and Bawabat Al Sharq Mall
- Zeal Entertainment – Dalma Mall, mixed entertainment indoor bowling and focus on VR and gaming for your tweens & teens
Most of these work on either a play-by-the-hour basis, or for rides and other attractions a pre-paid card is needed (which invariable never has enough credit left on it when you need it and is non-transferable to other branches, or you bring the wrong card and have to pay again).
Other Cafes and Indoor Venues in Abu Dubai
If endless hours pushing strollers around shopping malls or peeling your older kids off their iPads doesn’t appeal, you can also look out for:
- Dice Board Game Cafe in Sheikha Fatima Park, great dining and a lively gamer atmosphere suitable for all the family
- Splatter Rooms in Al Seef Village Mall will let you unleash your creative side
- Prison Island in Abu Dhabi Mall will test your thinking power in their escape room experience (8 years +)
- Abu Dhabi Children’s Library located in the Cultural Foundation Centre, Al Hosn can be a calming way to keep cool and join in activities with other young children
- Central in Yas Bay for a combo of ten-pin bowling, dining and gaming arcade all the family can enjoy
Other ways to beat the heat in the UAE
A couple of years ago, I put together this guide for desert-dwelling parents to help keep your sanity when it’s scorching outside – including how to structure your day, where to find other parents, and activities that are on around town, particularly for younger children.
Drop-in playgroups and other kids’ classes that run over the summer
- Volunteer group Abu Dhabi Mums, run from the first floor of the clubhouse at The Dome, Al Rawdat still has daily morning playgroup “mix & match” on the schedule.
- Various swim academies are running summer intensive weeks, and our favourite kids’ music classes Music Monkeys will continue with summer programs targeted at the 0-4 age group.
Have we missed any of your favourites? How do you look to fill your summer days in Abu Dhabi?
First time with your baby in the heat? Read our guide to dealing with summer heat & babies
More UAE Family Ideas
We’ve got a bunch of them! Check out our dedicated section of the blog Discover the UAE. Here we cover;
- Important Facts to know before visiting the UAE
- Best places to stay in Abu Dhabi
- Guide to best Abu Dhabi brunches for families
- Abu Dhabi’s best parks and outdoor spaces
- 40+ FREE and really cheap things to do in Abu Dhabi
- Best Eid escape destinations
And so much more! You may also want to check out our partner site familytravel-middleeast.com, and if you are exploring more of the country and the region beyond Abu Dhabi, join our Facebook group Family Travel Middle East.
Disclaimer: We have been provided complimentary or discounted access to several of the venues mentioned in this article over the past 11 years, but we are also regularly paying customers at all of the top venues mentioned.
We have not been paid by any of the places mentioned to provide an opinion. All reviews, as always, are our own. Some ticketing recommendations are affiliate links. This post was originally published in June 2017. We have done our best to update as of June 2023.
Please check pricing and opening times with the individual venues before visiting – all are subject to change without notice. If there are any factual inaccuracies or venues you’d like to see added, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
© Our Globetrotters | Some images supplied by the venues & courtesy of Lynette Fortey-Burnett, contributing writer