How to keep your cool with kids in the UAE’s hottest months
There’s no quicker way to cool off in the UAE than to head to one of the country’s famous water parks. You may be surprised to learn just how many water parks, splash parks, aqua parks and little oases you will find in Dubai and across the UAE.
From mega family vacation fun to simply cooling off after school, this guide will take you through all the most appropriate parks for children in the UAE.
This post is part of our series Discover the UAE.
Don’t forget to check out our posts on what to do indoors in Abu Dhabi and our guide to 100+ family things to do in the UAE.
Best Water Parks in the UAE
Let’s start with the big boys and look at some of the pros and cons of these mega UAE water parks for families.
- You are likely to need to set aside a full day to make the most of a visit
- No matter what time of year you visit, be prepared for the fact weekends (Friday and Saturday in the UAE) will be busy and involve queuing for popular rides
- In the hottest months of the year (June to September) be very cautious of how long you are outdoors and how hot surfaces can get, even if the water is chilled
- Keep an eye out for winter closures too, some parks use the coolest months of the year January/February to perform annual maintenance
Aquaventure – Atlantis the Palm
Arguably the most recognised of the UAE’s water parks, Aquaventure, part of the giant Atlantis the Palm complex is one of the world’s best. Super slick, adrenaline-pumping slides, shark-filled lagoons, zip lines to lazy rivers, you will find the lot here in this stunning exclusive location.
Splashers Island is a new addition that sits inside Aquaventure. Designed exclusively for the little ones under 1.2m, it features replicas of some of the favourite rides from the main park including The Cyclone and The Boa. This is still a pretty mega waterpark experience but much safer for your littles and all part of your entry fee. Pricing is split between over and under 1.2m and can be combined with the Lost Chambers and Dolphin Bay.
Opening hours: Daily 10am to 6pm
Yas Waterworld – Yas Island Abu Dhabi
Recently crowned as the leading water park in the Middle East in the 2018 World Travel Awards, it’s clear to see why this Emirati-themed park has become such a crowd favourite. This mega park is situated on Yas Island in the heart of the capital’s entertainment district.
You can experience 45 rides and attractions here with plenty of variety from serious adrenaline-pumping slides through to the classic Al Raha lazy river, wave pool and the Bandit Bomber suspended roller coaster (a Globetrotter favourite). There are plenty of options for the smaller kids with three dedicated splash areas varying from tiny infants to toddler slides and the crowd favourite tipping bucket. Yas Waterworld also offers a unique pearl diving experience and mermaid school.
There are numerous places to eat and, of course, opportunities to buy photos and merchandise. Towel and locker rental available. Thursday evenings are reserved for ladies only and they have occasional Ladies Only Days. Under 3’s are free (great value considering there are several slides and areas they can actually independently enjoy).
Look out for joint ticket deals with Ferrari World and Warner Bros World – reviewed here.
Open Daily 10am to 7pm
** Latest deals include Buy One, Get One Free 2-Day 2-Park passes, Nanny Special Rates and discounts for ADCB Cardholders
Wild Wadi Dubai
Another classic Dubai park, Arabain-themed Wild Wadi is set in the grounds of Jumeirah Beach Hotel. If the magnificent views aren’t enough, you are going to love the 30 rides across different thrill levels, including the ultra-popular Jumeirah Sceirah, one of the countries longest fastest slides.
Residents staying in any of the nearby Jumeirah Hotels have their entry ticket included. Summer specials and discounts frequently run. Pricing is differentiated on your child being over or under 1.1m tall. Infants under 2 free.
Open Daily 10 am to 7pm
Legoland Water Park – Dubai Parks & Resorts, Jebel Ali
Legoland is aimed at your 2 to 12 crowd and is on the more sedate end of the water park scale with its Duplo Splash Park and Build-a-Raft lazy river.
For your little ones though who are just starting to get into their thrills and spills but don’t want to be lining up with big burly teens, this is just perfect. Loads of rides and slides to choose from, a classic splash area Joker Soaker, wave pool and build a boat play area.
If I had a complaint, they definitely need more shaded seating given how many families are there with small kids but it definitely does the job in helping you keep cool in the hotter months.
Combo tickets available with other Dubai Parks & Resort Parks make it excellent value. Prices and offers vary considerably over the year as specials for Ramadan, Summer and festive events come up so best check their website for pricing.
Opening hours 10am to 6pm
Dreamland Aqua Park, Umm Al Quwain
This surprising little slice of paradise is probably about the only real highlight of Umm Al Quwain for most visiting families. Adjacent to Barracuda (of the bottle shop fame), Dreamland has a really chilled out vibe and a bucket load of fun!
The lush green grounds include a beer garden and camping overnight is permitted in their fully catered cabanas (book ahead weekends). You do feel slightly caught in a time warp (it is one of the countries oldest built in 1997 but has a reminiscent feel of about 1983), all part of this parks charm! A bit of a drive from Dubai but a rewarding and fun journey and you’ll definitely chill off – we’ve visited in shoulder season and it’s some of the coldest water we’ve felt in the country!!
Opening hours 10am to 6pm (later on Fridays)
Iceland Waterpark, Ras Al Khaimah
***UPDATE: IN EARLY SEPTEMBER 2018 THE RAK GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED THE SUDDEN AND IMMEDIATE CLOSURE OF ICELAND WATER PARK UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. WE UNDERSTAND IT MAY REOPEN AFTER EXTENSIVE REDEVELOPMENT***
With it’s Arctic theme, Iceland’s claim to fame is that it is the UAE’s largest water park. Iceland does suffer a little from being in the complete middle of nowhere relative to Dubai. It does, however, make up for this with its ticket pricing. One of the best value offerings for a family day out especially once you’re hitting off peak summer rates. Take a look inside here with fellow UAE blogger Lety from @thecuratorlady
Opening hours; CLOSED
Laguna Water Park, Dubai
A brand new addition to La Mer – Dubai’s premier beachside location for 2018 – you will find loads of splashing new fun at Laguna. Not as large as some of the other water parks but for a pretty decent price it packs a powerful punch of family fun. With four zones – Splash, Slide, Surf and Relax, there’s a little water fun for everyone.
Families can laze the days away meandering down the Lazy River or get lost in the magical AquaPlay, and no family area would be complete without a fun-filled Splash Pad for the little ones. The waterpark also features a Pool Lounge with infinity pool and juice bar, plus 11 luxury cabanas. Definitely worth checking out this new offering over summer for a fabulous change of pace.
Opening special prices AED 99 for residents or AED159 for visitors.
Open 10am to 8pm daily
Splash Parks and smaller water parks in the UAE – perfect for families
We know sometimes the big crowds and presence of a lot of ah, “larger kids” can be quite intimidating for some families, so we love this selection of purpose-built family parks with the younger ones more front of mind:
Splash Island by Blue Wave DXB
Hidden away in suburban Al Quoz, this is the perfect slice of water fun. Entirely indoors and completely temperature controlled, it’s your only year-round option in Dubai. You will find two indoor pools, one dedicated to swimming lessons and the new Splash Island aqua park. Splash island includes 8 slides, beams, waterfall and a bucket forest. It is best for 18 months to 12 years old. Under 5’s must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Open daily 10am to 9pm
Related Reading: Summer Sun Protection for Babies
Splash ‘n’ Party Dubai
Found in the suburban area of Al Safa, Splash ‘n’ Party is a little hidden kiddy paradise! Most well known for its weekend birthday bonanzas they are open all day every day for splashing fun. Attractions include a large splash pad with slide area as well as a sprinkler and splash play area and bouncy castle.
It’s ideal for your slightly smaller ones who are building up their sliding and water park courage. The staff here are incredibly engaged so you should be able to sit back and grab a cold drink from one of the food outlets while they’re in safe, supervised hands. They also run camps and school programs. Differential pricing for weekdays and weekends with one adult entry included per child.
Update: Latest additions include a bungee trampoline and zip line experience!
Opening Hours: Weekdays 9am to 8pm weekends 9am to 9pm
Splash Pad, The Beach JBR
If you’re looking for a little break from the sun, Splash Pad is the perfect little retreat. A beautiful shaded area at the north end of The BEACH you will find lots of smaller splashing, swimming and climbing activities here – basically a play park with lots of water added! It has a wet and dry section, change rooms on site and refreshments can be purchased. They run pre-reserved birthday parties or you can turn up on the day.
Lifeguard on duty and the water is temperature controlled making it perfect for year-round enjoyment when the beach water might not be in your favour!
Current pricing is 65AED per hour or 99AED for a full 24 hours (great for short stopover visitors who want to come and go).
Opening Hours daily 9am to 8pm (Ramadan hours may differ)
Murjan Splash Park, Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi
Tucked between the Dubai bound freeway in Abu Dhabi and Khalifa Park, this one is often overlooked but is a quaint, smaller scale park perfect for little ones who may be slightly daunted by the bigger water parks.
The main splash structure is undercover and includes a shallow pool and 4 small water slides, giant tipping bucket and a crawl tunnel. The park has a small scale lazy river 0.6 meters deep. The park also has a water wars section, bumper boats and surf wrangler.
Food and beverage outlets are on site along with change facilities and towel and locker rental. It is a little bit of a trek from the car park through Khalifa Park though which can be an effort in the heat with your littles. Entry is 50AED (cash only!) Guests under 1m are free.
Opening hours; Sun- Wed 10am to 7pm and Thu – Sat 11am to 8pm (Ramadan 5pm to 10pm)
Another hidden secret tucked in the streets of Al Karama, Aquaduck offers a variety of parties, indoor and outdoor play including a special splash park. Designed for your kids aged 3 to 14 years there’s a variety of slides, water cannons, a flume, tunnels, tilting bucket and little aqua extras that kids love.
Drinks and food are available on site from Aqua Café, and there’s also an arts & crafts room plus glow in the dark Karaoke Room. They are big on birthday parties, be warned the weekends can be a little crazy!
Weekday rates start at 110AED (1 Adult + 1 child) or 130AED on weekends, discounts apply to family groups.
Opening hours; Sat – Fri 10am to 8pm
Al Majaz Mini Splash Pad, Sharjah
Explore the tunnels and aquatic displays around this 800sqm Mini splash park located in the Al Majaz waterfront complex in Sharjah.
Entry 50AED per child, open til late at night (extended hours during Ramadan)
Opening hours; Sat – Wed 10am to 12am and Thu – Fri 10am to 1am (winter 6pm)
AquaFun Dubai & Abu Dhabi
The latest sensation UAE water parks are actually based on the water. Now in two locations at “The Beach” JBR and A’l Bahar on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, this is giant inflatable fun – and a great all over body work out too!!
Kit up in your safety gear then swim out to the water sports action. Try and keep your feet as you work your way around these giant obstacle courses. Test your strength and enjoy the adrenaline rush through the various jumps and challenges. You can read the full review by the Globetrotters here
Opening hours 9am to sunset
XPark Jr Splash Area, Dubai
Another fairly new addition for Dubai, just off Kite Beach this gorgeous new outdoor adventure park. Although not strictly a water park, it includes water features which the children can play in. There are streams to splash and play in and the park will have misters over the summer to keep exploring kids cool – your best outdoor alternative if you want to keep cool but not drenched!
The Park House Café will provide some cooling relief too with ice creams and snacks (open during Ramadan). One adult is permitted for each child, currently 45AED for 2 hours.
Open Daily 8am to 6pm
Umm al Emarat Park, Abu Dhabi
Situated in the heart of Abu Dhabi Island, Umm Al Emarat provides one of the cheapest ways to keep cool in the capital. There is both a wadi area and splash pad included in the Children’s Garden part of the park which costs just 5AED each to enter. Extensive opening hours make it perfect for after school or after dark.
Open Daily 8am to midnight
Hotel & Resort Water Parks
Not to be outdone by the big water parks, there are also numerous beach resorts in the UAE that have their own mini waterparks inside – brilliant if you don’t have long in the country but still want to squeeze in some water action.
Those with the best slides and water-based sports include:
Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi – with its own water slide and lazy river with extremely lush and opulent surroundings
Hiltonia Beach Club – Hilton Abu Dhabi – set on the Corniche beachfront, multiple pools and slides make this a kiddy paradise
Lapita – Dubai Parks and Resorts – stay in the heart of the theme parks and enjoy your own lazy river. Daycation options are available too.
See our full guide to our favourite family-friendly UAE beach resorts.
Head to the Beach in the UAE
While the beach sounds like a promising and cooling proposition, bear in mind once summer really hits, both the water temperature and the sand can rise to excruciating levels. You are best off taking your dip as it heads to sunset and avoiding the midday heat.
If you are visiting during cooler shoulder months though, the beaches are absolutely the top spot to be. You can find our favourite beaches and outdoor spaces in Abu Dhabi here – Dubai Beaches coming soon.
There you have it! In a country that prides itself on its outdoor lifestyle despite summer extreme temperatures, many experiences can be enjoyed right into the warmer weather months.
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Disclosures: We have not been paid to review or mention any of the above-mentioned water parks or splash park. We have attended some venues and events as members of the press, otherwise, all experiences have been attended and paid for ourselves. All opinions and recommendations are our own. Some ticket sales mentioned on this page are affiliate links that will cost you no extra but may earn us a small commission, thank you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.
© Our Globetrotters
Some images as credited or provided by media release.