In a city full of world-records and indoor amusements, is it still possible to find the wow-factor in Abu Dhabi?
We have looked on with anticipation as the giant angular structure of CLYMB slowly emerged on Yas Island, intrigued and excited about the new extreme sports venue on our doorstep. Time for us to take you on a tour inside the UAE’s latest record-breaking attraction!
This post is part of our local series Discover the UAE and our family attraction reviews series
What to expect at CLYMB Abu Dhabi with kids
CLYMB Abu Dhabi definitely achieves the wow factor from the second you ascend from Yas Mall to this geometrically stunning adventure playground.
There are two distinctly different activities at CLYMB Abu Dhabi so we will reviewing our experience in two parts:
As well as running you through the overall experience, age restrictions, dining and how to find CLYMB!
Indoor Sky Diving at CLYMB Abu Dhabi
What exactly is that I hear you say!? Rather than hurtling out of an aeroplane at 13,000 feet, indoor skydiving allows you to experience the sensation of skydiving and free fall movement via a purpose-built air tunnel – as the name suggests entirely inside!
The indoor flying experience at CYLMB Abu Dhabi is the largest of its type anywhere in the world (as at Feb 2020!). The flight chamber is a record-breaking 9.75 m wide and 26m high recirculating air tunnel.
The beauty of this is it is really open to thrill-seekers of all ages and abilities. Any air tunnel in the world will have its own restrictions but on the thrill v safety scale, indoor skydiving is really open to how much adrenaline you and your kids can handle.
The minimum age for the CLYMB flight chamber is 3 years old and the maximum weight 115kg. You shouldn’t fly if pregnant or with shoulder, neck and back problems – so that threw me firmly on the sidelines while the Globetrotters jumped right in!
How does the CLYMB flight experience work?
There are options for beginner flyers, return flyers and pros in the CLYMB flight chamber. You can see the current price listing here.
After checking in at reception, one hour before your allocated flight time you arrive to be suited and briefed on level 3 (any onlookers can head immediately to the Altitude Cafe on Level 4 for the best view, though parents should definitely come for your under 12’s getting the safety briefing).
First-time flyers are issued with an air suit, then attend a briefing in English with your flight instructor who will be with you throughout the experience.
During the briefing, they explain the hand signals you will use (it’s pretty darn cold and noisy inside the flight chamber so you will rely on signals), and make sure you can simulate the right position on land before you fly.
Participants are then fitted with earplugs, goggles and a helmet before your timed group enters the boarding area. Only participants may come in the actual chamber and boarding area, then you are one by one taken by the instructor for your flight experience. On a first-time flyer experience, you get 2 x 60-second flights.
The instructor helps you through your positioning, but do be aware there is very little free float time for beginners, most of you time the instructor is getting you in the right position and leading you around the air tunnel.
Each group has an instructor taking you through your moves and another experienced instructor controlling the amount of pressure coming from beneath. Our little Master J was at barely 50% whilst the larger adults in the group hit up to 70%, the professionals will be much higher!
Age and height limits for CLYMB Indoor Skydiving
The indoor skydiving at CLYMB Abu Dhabi has no height limits, participants need only be over 3 years old (yes!) and under 115kgs.
BUUUUT! And there are a few buts to consider with small kids. Do bear in mind they do NOT at present seem to have smaller sized air suits, as you can see on 5-year-old Master J here the suit was a big ridiculously large, though he was able to fit the goggles and mask.
And also, as I was not participating with the kids, only those taking part in the activity are allowed in the boarding area. Parents must wait on the outside. This might be fine if you have siblings together or you will be joining them on the flight but if you think they will be anxious, this separation may distress young children.
Even if you are on the boarding deck with them, they need to go individually into the flight chamber and be capable of paying attention to the instructor’s hand signals, as well as the briefing. If you think they are confident and mature enough for these steps, then go for it!
All up, the Globetrotters loved the flying experience, even Master J who was more reluctant after seeing the Pros before him somersault through the air! Master L – my silent thrill seeker – thought it was too easy and wanted a longer free flying time without them holding on so long, he was told this could happen as a return flyer.
Return in December 2020 – post-COVID
The Globetrotters returned to the indoor skydiving at CLYMB for their 1st Anniversary celebrations in November. Post-COVID face masks are now required throughout and more stringent safety and hygiene measures are in place, including the use of hairnets within helmets and extra hand sanitising, but it’s otherwise the same great flight experience.
The first time flight experience was now 2 x 2 minute sessions which felt much more substatial.
Check out the instuctional video the Globetrotters helped me pull together!
Indoor Rock Climbing and Bouldering at CLYMB
This was what my Master L had been begging to try for months! Having tackled fun experiences such as the pinnacle in Adventure HQ and the Extreme Zone active walls in the past, he was really ready to move on to some new challenges. And what a great new selection they found! There are 5 different climbing walls with varying difficulty.
Rock climbing experiences are allocated in 30-minute slots and you get a one-hour session as a beginner. You can check out full pricing and options for beginners through to experienced here.
You should arrive 30 minutes before your session time to be taken to the lower levels of CLYMB where they fit you with special rock climbing shoes. You are then greeted by an instructor and take on the practice bouldering wall to get a feel for the walls and skills needed.
Learn the difference between bouldering and rock climbing here.
You are then harnessed up and let loose on the beginner’s wall. This is about 6m high and proves a decent challenge for those just starting out – though fair to say all my three flew through this level in flying colours and were more than ready to move up!
Next, we changed floors and moved to the intermediate walls which provided them with 7 new challenges to tackle. The great thing about the set up here in CLYMB is there are slightly different paths you can take. Your instructor will tell you which colour to try for your difficulty level. This allows beginners and the more experienced to climb together on many of the walls.
On returning next time, we hope they will move to the intermediate-advanced wall or take on some of the more challenging paths.
It was great to see the Globetrotters working individually and challenging one another. In terms of a physical and mental challenge for their age groups, this sport is spot on.
All partipants must now wear surgical masks throughout; cloth masks will not suffice, you will be given a paper one if you do not have one. Climbing shoes can still be borrowed and stringent hygience measures are in place. You can only use liquid climbing chalk which your instructor will provide you with.
Height and age limits for indoor rock climbing at CLYMB
There is a lower age limit of 4 years old for the rock climbing walls. Our youngest at 5 / 113cm still needed one of the junior harnesses but found no problems with skill level. Another 4-year-old in our group did struggle so you would need to base it on their size and ability.
There is no upper weight or height limit, but you must be able to fit within the harness. As with the indoor skydiving, you need to be fit and well; no back, shoulder, neck or heart problems.
SUMMYT – Tallest indoor climbing wall in the world
Well it’s just not Abu Dhabi without another record, right? Whilst your kids probably have grand desires to tackle this one as soon as they’ve passed the beginners wall, take note that SUMMYT has a minimum age requirement of 14 years old and participants must past a test before they are allowed to tackle the giant 141 foot (43 meter) wall.
Other things to know planning your trip to CLYMB Abu Dhabi
Here’s everything you should need to plan your own family adventure to CLYMB Abu Dhabi on Yas Island.
CLYMB Abu Dhabi opening times
At the time of writing, CLYMB is open 7 days a week.
Sunday to Thursday 11am to 10pm Friday and Saturday 12 noon until 11pm.
Post-COVID hours have changed to 1PM to 9PM. Wednesday evenings are ladies only 5.30PM to 9PM. There are various closing dates to be aware of, please check here.
Finding CLYMB Abu Dhabi
CLYMB Abu Dhabi is located on Yas Island which is less than an hour from Dubai, about 30 minutes away from downtown Abu Dhabi and only 10 minutes from AUH airport and in the heart of Yas Island entertainment.
Entry is from inside Yas Mall, immediately adjacent to Ferrari World. Honestly, finding the right car park at Yas Mall has been my nemesis for years! Aim for the parking marked FASHION and park on the top deck, you’ll be immediately adjacent to the entry, a short outside walk along the Boulevard. As yet they have not updated signage within Yas Mall but do just keep following the signs to Ferrari World on the ground floor, you’ll get there!
In a taxi, it’s straight forward as there is a Ferrari World drop off zone that will take you right there. Alternatively, staying at any of the Yas hotels you can take the free shuttle service.
Booking CLYMB Abu Dhabi Tickets
Booking your tickets to CLYMB can be done online or booked at the venue if there are available slots. It’s best to book in advance especially for the flight experience to avoid disappointment, the costing is the same online or at the door.
We are not aware at this stage of any packaged special tickets along with the Yas Island theme parks and they’re not appearing on The Entertainer – yet! But watch this space we’ll update you if we hear of any specials.
Dining at CLYMB Abu Dhabi
There are two dining options offered, Base Camp on the reception level that gives you fabulous views over SUMMYT, and Altitidue Cafe on Level 4 where you can grab a bite while watching the flight experiences.
They’re nothing over fancy but you can certainly grab a nice cuppa and a snack or try one of their fresh healthy juices as part of your experience.
You are only permitted to otherwise bring bottled water up to 1 litre each into the venue.
As you are attached to Yas Mall, there are plentiful dining options immediately outside of CLYMB if you are planning to make a full day of it.
Enter CLYMB for free
If you just want to come along as a spectator, then there’s no problem entering either of the above cafes to watch the SUMMYT climbers in action from Base Camp or get a taster of what to expect if you try the indoor sky diving from Altitude Cafe, or from the flight deck Level 3.
This can be a great add on activity while you’re visiting Yas Mall or looking to build up the kids confidence before you commit to a paid session. Especially with the younger ones I’d recommend you do this.
Other Yas Island entertainment options to combine with CLYMB
As mentioned, you are immediately adjacent to Ferrari World, making this the ultimate adrenaline junkies choice. You can also take the shuttle from here to other entertainment options including the Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi.
Globetrotters Recommend CLYMB Abu Dhabi
Without a doubt, they are all itching to get back and try the climbing wall again. It is a great physical and mental challenge for them and as beginners, we felt there was enough variety that we could make several return trips and keep completing more challenges.
The flight experience is for your adrenaline junkies. The Globetrotters felt their flight experience was a little too short and perhaps the groups were a little too big (we had 9 in a beginners group). My middle son especially wanted to do more free-floating and felt too restricted.
We’d also like to see the kid’s flight suits come in smaller sizes if it’s something that they promote as available from such a young age.
We love that such an active recreation facility is available to us now in Abu Dhabi, and it’s definitely another record-breaker for visitors to add to their UAE bucket lists of fun indoor activities making it fun and accessible year-round.
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Read more Abu Dhabi Family attraction reviews
As Abu Dhabi residents for over 7 years, we have a great collection of Abu Dhabi attraction reviews and round-up guides for exploring the city, why not check out:
- Dubai’s Best Parks & Outdoor Spaces
- Take a peek inside the new Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi
- Inside Ferrari World’s new Family Zone attractions
- Best of Abu Dhabi Indoors
- AquaFun floating obstacle course on the Corniche
- Abu Dhabi’s Best Family Brunches
- Day Trip to the Historic Oasis City of Al Ain
You can also explore over on our new site Family Travel in the Middle East for more family adventures around the Emirates and the Middle East region.