Discover the UAE

The ultimate family-friendly destination and Globetrotters HQ!

Guide to the best family things to do, places to stay and eat in the UAE - for families!

Come and see the beauty and adventures that can be had in our adopted home the United Arab Emirates (UAE)  from the dazzling cities to the dusty deserts, amazing architecture and spectacular spreads – most importantly doing it with kids!

On this page we will guide you through Things to Do, Where to Eat and Where to Stay


Know before you go!!!

15 important things to know before visiting the UAE… with kids

Discover the UAE | OurGlobetrotters.NetMake this page your first stop if you have never visited the Emirates, or for that matter the Middle East before.  The UAE is a land of extremes; from cosmopolitan cities to rolling desert dunes; conservative but embracing of its Islamic cultural roots.  You name it, it can probably be seen or be done in the UAE – if not they’ll build it, on the grandest scale possible!

This post guides you through important things to know about Islamic and Emirati culture, dealing with heat, safety and caring for infants while showing religious respect, and helping you through some of the do’s and don’ts of Ramadan.  We also have guides in this section on the religious celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.


Navigating your way across the United Arab Emirates

Use this map to skip straight to destinations of interest, or read on below!

Discover the UAE Placeholder
Discover the UAE

What to do with kids in the UAE

With our own experience and the help of other parent bloggers in the UAE we have put together THE most detailed guide you will find on the web dedicated to family-friendly attractions across all seven Emirates.   Where we have more in-depth reviews, these are detailed below.

100+ things for families to do in the UAE 

100+ Family Things to do in the UAE

Our guide to cultural experiences in the UAE

In response to much negative publicity the UAE receives for ‘lacking culture’, this guide talks you through what to expect from traditional Bedouin culture, why it might not always be visible to the average tourist – and how you can seek it out!

Our guide to indoor activities to enjoy with the kids’ in Abu Dhabi

It’s getting hot, hot, hot in Abu Dhabi! Now approaching our 6th summer here, we’ve put together our guide to favourite places in the capital where you can look to escape the heat with the kids – and keep them physically and mentally challenged too!!

Abu Dhabi’s best parks and outdoor spaces

Visiting the UAE capital need not cost a fortune. When the weather is cool there’s plenty of outside activities for all the family to enjoy from bike paths to beaches.  This is one of the best listings you’ll find for free (and really cheap) outdoor activities.

Desert Camping in the UAE & Northern Oman

Time to get in touch with nature and head to the desert and beach.  Includes a preparation guide for dealing with all the sand and our favourite desert camping spots across the country.

Dubai’s best theme parks for families

With several new theme parks opening in the UAE since 2016, the Globetrotters have been putting each to the test to come up with this bumper guide on what to expect at Legoland Dubai, Motiongate Dubai and IMG Worlds of Adventure.

Legoland Water Park Dubai family review

UAE’s Best Water Parks

It’s no surprise that one of the world’s hottest countries has some of the world’s best water parks.  From the mega parks to the community splash areas, we talk you through all the best places to keep your cool in the UAE.

How to do a Dubai Stopover 

Only got limited time passing through Dubai International Airport?  We give you the low down on airport lounges and entertainment, airport hotels and if you leave the airport what can you squeeze into a short trip.  Includes a guide on how to transfer between Dubai and Abu Dhabi Airports.

How to do in Abu Dhabi Stopover

Should you stick it out in AUH airport, or use even a short layover to get out and explore some of the city’s major sites? We talk you through all the options and time you should allow for a smooth transit. (Hosted on Family Travel in the Middle East)

40+ Things to do in Abu Dhabi for FREE (or really cheap!)

Abu Dhabi is not nearly as expensive as you might think to visit. Check out these 40+ ideas from culture to recreation that won’t cost you more than 100AED ($36) for the whole family to enjoy (hosted on Family Travel in The Middle East)

Camls walking in the desert invitation to join Facebook Group Family Travel in the Middle East


Our top picks for UAE visitors in more detail:

Al Ain with Kids

Al Ain Palace Museum Historic Al Ain is a must for UAE visitors The Oasis City of Al Ain is the second largest city in Abu Dhabi but often left of tourist agendas.  This is a real shame as it really is the cultural hub and historic centre of the UAE.  Between its UNESCO listed Oases, brilliant zoo and plentiful museums, this should be the first stop to learn more about the country.  Not all of it will be overly amusing for kids, however, so we give you a detailed rundown of what to expect here.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – with Kids!

Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque with kids | Discover the UAE | OurGlobetrotters.NetNow considered not just one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Middle East, but the world, the stunningly elegant Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a mustn’t-miss attraction for millions of visitors to the UAE every year. But how appropriate is it for you to visit such an auspicious place with your kids?  We give you our hands-on guide how you can still enjoy this architectural marvel and keep the kids happy.

Read our full guide to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque here (hosted on Family Travel in the Middle East)

Dubai Miracle GardenWhere in the world will you find the world's largest flower garden? Dubai Miracle Garden | Discover the UAE | OurGlobetrotters.Net

Where else would you expect to find the world’s biggest flower garden than right in the heart of Dubai?  An amazing colourful and seriously eclectic mix of over 45 million blooms make up this new addition to the “must-do” list for visitors to Dubai.  Get in early in the day to beat the crowds, the heat and the shutterbugs to admire this floral marvel. Tucked away in the outer suburb Dubailand it’s hard to believe what lies ahead inside but kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy this new attraction.

Read our full guide to Dubai Miracle Garden here

Arabian Nights Village – A family-friendly desert experience

Arabian Nights Village | Family Adventure in the Abu Dhabi Desert | OurGlobetrotters.NetYou haven’t truly experienced the UAE until you get out of the big cities and experience the best the desert has to offer.  Arabian Nights Village sits about 1.5 hours away from Abu Dhabi, deep in the sand dunes.  There are evening and overnight tour options all perfectly suited to family groups that include modern desert activities like dune bashing and sand boarding as well as touches of traditional Bedouin culture. Enjoy sunset camel rides, traditional henna, music and meals, or simply relax around the village and enjoy the oasis pool.

Read our full review of the Arabian Nights Village experience

Dubai Garden Glow and Dinosaur Park

Dubai Garden Glow and Dinosaur Park | Family day out reviewNot just one adventure park but two!  A seasonal event that occurs over the cooler winter months in Zabeel Park, Dubai.  The Globetrotters take you on a tour of one of the latest and greatest attractions. Animatronics and a lot of neon, but still a magical evening experience for young kids.

Read our full review of Dubai Garden Glow & Dinosaur Park

Al Dhafra Festival – 10 tips for taking kids

Al Dhafra Festival & the Camel Beauty Contest | Discover the UAE | OurGlobetrotters.NetLooking to discover more of the traditional Bedouin culture of the UAE? Look no further than the Al Dhafra Festival. Held annually in December, the Western Region of Abu Dhabi comes alive with visitors from all over the GCC participating in a range of events from Saluki racing to date packing. The flagship event though is the camel mazayna – a beauty contest for camels.  A little off the beaten track, a little hard to find and understand for tourists as there’s limited information in English but an incredibly rewarding experience.

Here we give you our top 10 tips on attending this event with kids to get you prepared for a unique and memorable trip to the desert.

Yas – Your Next Island Destination?

Yas Marina Circuit | Discover the UAE | OurGlobetrotters.NetFinally, we have a complete go-to destination for family adventure and activity – and my luck its right here on our doorstep in Abu Dhabi – in fact, it’s only 10 minutes from the airport and just over an hour from Dubai International. From theme parks to shopping, relaxing at the beach or watching the action of the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix there’s something for all the family to enjoy here.

Read our full guide to visiting Yas Island here

A world to discover at Dubai Global Village

Global Village Dubai balloo sellerFor a couple of years now we have driven past what we thought was an abandoned fairground on the dusty windswept Emirates Road in outer Dubai. After a little research I discovered that after dark in the winter this monstrosity actually comes to life to bring you a “seasonal cultural extravaganza” and “an amazing array of festivals, shopping and entertainment”, as Global Village – what more could you want!

Read our full guide to Global Village here

An Aqua Park, Cheap Booze and random camels

Umm Al Quwain | Discover the UAE | OurGlobetrotters.NetThe UAE has an international reputation for flashy architecture, amazing tourist attractions and glitzy hotels within the boundaries of its traditional Islamic roots. Then there’s Umm Al Quwain (UAQ).  Fair to say it sits in a league of its own when compared with the other Emirates, particularly the very modern and diverse cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.  If the random camels don’t come as a bit of a surprise, the feeling like you have entered a time warp into another realm will probably hit you.  Find out why the Globetrotters found themselves in this corner of the world, and why despite staying in possibly the scrubbiest looking hotel we’ve ever seen, we’ll be back.

Read our full guide to Umm Al Quwain here

Legoland Dubai – Dubai Parks & Resorts

Legoland Dubai | Discover the UAE | OurGlobetrotters.NetThe much-awaited Legoland Dubai theme park is now open. Was it worth the wait? Who would it be best suited to?  Come and see our review.

UPDATED: We now also have coverage on theLegoland Dubai Water Park, come take a look at what to expect cooling off at Dubai Parks & Resorts.   We also have coverage on what to expect on a Daycation at Lapita Resort – the only resort currently on site at Dubai Parks and Resorts.

AquaFun at A’l Bahar on the Abu Dhabi Corniche

Overhead view of AquaFun waterpark in Abu Dhabi | Review by OurGlobetrotters
© Aqua Park Abu Dhabi

The latest water sensation to hit Abu Dhabi that will please residents and visitors alike!  Aquafun is a giant inflatable water park based just off the shore of the famous Corniche beach where kids and grown-ups can tackle over 80 different obstacles – all while trying to maintain their balance (though falling in the water when you’re at a desert beach ain’t half bad!).

Come and see what we thought and everything you need to prepare yourself for a trip to A’l Bahar, Abu Dhabi’s latest sports and entertainment hub.

The Wonder Maze

The Wonder Maze Abu DhabiA new addition to Umm al Emarat Park in the hear of Abu Dhabi, The Wonder Maze is a seasonal instalment which sees kids faced with 5 paths – but only one leads to the central tower! There are word clues they can solve along the way and plenty of fun to be had.  The best feature is that the maze walls are moveable; so think you’ve conquered it one week but come back the next and you will have to find a new way to the end!

You can read our full review of The Wonder Maze written in conjunction with Kidzapp UAE here or WATCH THE VIDEO.

Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi

WB Plaza | WB World Abu Dhabi Family Review Yet another record-setting building in the UAE, the new Warner Bros World on Yas Island has claimed the title as the world’s largest indoor theme park and it does not disappoint.  From DC Comic favourites, wondering the streets of Metropolis through to Gotham city, the sound effects and rides are incredible.  For a more light-hearted taste of family fun, wander through to Dynamite Gulch, Cartoon Junction and Bedrock.  This new Yas Island offering is bursting with entertainment and family fun?  Worth the price tag?

Come find out what we thought in our opening review of WB World Abu Dhabi.

Qasr al Watan

Qasr Al Watan Presidential PalaceThe new Presidential Palace of the UAE is the city’s grandest and most opulent building. Where the Federal Supreme Council meet and welcoming diplomatic guests, the Palace is now open for the public to view.  Take a guided tour or self-guide yourself around this stunning complex to marvel at its architecture and absorb the country’s history and governing traditions. 

Read our full review and what to expect inside Qasr Al Watan here (hosted by Family Travel in the Middle East)

 


15 important facts to know before visiting the UAE

Still want more on the UAE?! We have written guest contributions for:

Toddlers on Tour in Australia providing some great family-friendly UAE itinerary suggestions

Our Top 5 for kids in Abu Dhabi for Learning Escapes

Abu Dhabi with Boys for Travel with Boys

What to do with 48 hours in Dubai for Mum on the Move

Top 10 Things to do in Dubai with Kids for Where’s Sharon?

We also recommend 10 Things to do with Kids in Dubai from our friends over at Globetotting: The Best in Adventurous Family Travel and this 3 Day itinerary for Abu Dhabi by Trippy Passports

Our Interview with Amateur Traveler Episode 646 – Travel to the United Arab Emirates
Desert safari in the UAE - sign up form for Facebook Community

 


Where to Eat in the UAE with kids

Brunch at Aqua Restaurant, Rosewood Hotel | Our Globetrotters review top family friendly restaurants in Abu Dhabi

I always understood brunch to be a meal somewhere between breakfast and lunch; not in Abu Dhabi.  You see not only is Friday our weekend, brunch is really a fancy way of saying gastronomically amazing 4-hour lunch – at some of the most prestige hotels in the world.  Sounds posh and exciting, right? It certainly is, but can you bring the kids?  Yes!! Not only can you bring them, but the best brunches will also specially cater for them, here are five of the best we’ve found so far for kids entertainment – plus our favourite all-rounders for cuisine service and atmosphere.

For a little taste of luxury that the whole family can enjoy, check out Brilliant Brunch at Safina and why the Saadiyat Beach Club makes the perfect setting that all the family can enjoy.

Brilliant Brunch at Safina - Saadiyat Beach Club | Discover the UAE | OurGlobetrotters.Net

For one of the best brunches for food selection, don’t miss The Terrace on the Corniche at St Regis Abu Dhabi.

Desert selection at St Regis Brunch The Terrace on the Corniche

And for one of the most family-friendly options with a fabulous kids room, entertainment and amazing city views, you can’t beat Crust at the Four Seasons.


Where should families stay in the UAE?

Best Hotels Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi | Khor Al Maqtaa and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com


More great UAE ideas on Pinterest

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