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Best activities for kids – and adults – in the UAE

With great weather pretty much all year long there's always plenty to get stuck into in the UAE. So whether you have family visiting or you're just looking for more things to do to take advantage of the UAE weather, read on. Here's our pick of the best things to do in the UAE with kids:

*Article updated in December 2018. Prices and information correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.

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1. Legoland Dubai

Since it opened in 2016, Legoland has earned its place on the list of the best things to do in the UAE with family. It has six themed lands, each with its own educational and entertainment activities including rollercoasters, mini planes to fly, a boating school, and a submarine adventure. And of course it wouldn’t be a Legoland without plenty of chances for little ones (and big ones!) to create their own Lego masterpiece. Legoland Water Park, on the same site, has another 20 water slides, wave pool, a Duplo toddler area and a build-a-raft river where you can test your raft building skills.

Address: On Sheikh Zayed Road, opposite Palm Jebel Ali

Price: A day pass for Legoland Dubai costs from Dh295. A combined ticket for Legoland Dubai and Legoland Dubai Water Park costs from Dh395.

2. IMG Worlds of Adventure

This huge themepark in Dubai holds the title of the largest indoor themepark anywhere in the world. It covers more than a million square feet and is split into five themed adventure zones: Cartoon Network, Lost Valley, Marvel, IMG Boulevard, and Novo Cinemas. These are filled with rides, movie theaters, restaurants, experiences and stores. Some of the most popular rides include The Haunted Hotel, Amazing Ride of Gumball, Thor Thunder Spin and for the littlies, the Dino Carousel. Hands down this is by far one of the best things to do in the UAE with kids and you could easily spend more than a day here.

Address: E311 (Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road), near to Arabian Ranches, Dubai

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3. Al Ain Safari at Al Ain Zoo

This safari became the world’s biggest man-made safari when it opened a few years ago. It has more than 250 animals spread over 217 hectares. You and your family can be driven round in either small SUV vehicles or bigger trucks that can carry 26 people. Animals include giraffe, zebra, lion and springbok, as well as some locally extinct species such as the Addax and Scimitar Oryx. While you’re there, visit the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre to learn about the UAE’s relationship with the environment.

Address: Nahyan the First Street, Al Ain

Price: Zoo tickets cost Dh30 for adults and Dh10 for children. Combined zoo and safari tickets cost from Dh230 for adults and Dh200 for children.

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4. Hotel beach clubs

You can take your pick of good beach clubs, and spending the day at one is one of the best things to do in the UAE with kids if you want some down time. If you’re in Dubai, check out Club Mina at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina which has five outdoor pools (as well as the beach), including two which are shaded for kids. The Jebel Ali Golf Resort is another good Dubai beach club for kids with a creche for under 4s and a CoolZone for the older ones.

If you want to get out of Dubai, head to the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa. The supervised Kidz Paradise at the hotel will take kids of all ages (while you relax on the beach!) and has a kids’ pool with water-slides, two floors of indoor play area and games.

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5. OliOli UAE

This is one of the best things to do in the UAE with kids if you’re keen on balancing entertainment with education. It’s an “interactive children’s play museum” with eight galleries and 40 exhibits, all designed to stimulate the brain and imagination. There are forts and dens, a toddler gallery, Toshi’s Nets (probably the most popular attraction in OliOli) and a cars and ramps space which makes physics fun! You can buy tickets for two, three or four hours, and there’s a cafe to refuel when you need it.

Address: OliOli Building, Al Quoz 1, next to Oasis Center, Dubai

6. Dubai Miracle Garden

The Dubai Miracle Garden is probably one of the best things to do in the UAE with kids if you want to enjoy the outdoors. There are thousands of flower species arranged in the most elaborate formations, including the Taj Mahal, Burj Khalifa and Egypt’s pyramids. Next door is a butterfly farm which is a little dated but a great day out for a family in Dubai.

Address: Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, near to the Dubai Autodrome. Or by bus from Mall of the Emirates

Price: Tickets start at Dh40

7. Aquaventure Waterpark

This Atlantis The Palm waterpark is a firm favorite with adults and children, and has everything you’d want in a waterpark. There are some seriously adrenaline-triggering rides, lazy rivers, kids’ pools, cabanas, snack bars and loungers. It’s also surrounded other large attractions including an aquarium and meet-the-animal experiences. You don’t need to be a guest at the Atlantis The Palm to enjoy the park, day tickets are available.

Address: Atlantis The Palm, The Palm, Dubai

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8. Go snorkeling

If you enjoy getting your feet wet, drive over to the UAE’s east coast and you’ll be rewarded with quieter beaches and much more marine life. Stay at the cheap and cheerful Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort, rent some snorkeling equipment and swim out towards snoopy islands where you’ll see plenty of fish, as well as the odd reef shark if you’re lucky! If you wanted to upgrade the hotel, stay at the nearby Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort which is much newer than Sandy Beach so costs slightly more.

Address: Both hotels are off the E99 in Al Aqah on the Fujairah coast

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9. Sheikh Zayed Mosque

If you have kids or family visiting the UAE and you want to give them a glimpse into the country’s religion, take them to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The huge structure accommodates 40,000 worshippers and has the biggest handmade carpet in the world in its main prayer hall. The mosque is particularly beautiful at night when the marble structure absorbs the lights and takes on a blue twilight hue. There are guided tours every day so you don’t have to worry about swatting up yourself! Make sure you and your guests dress modestly or you may not be allowed in.

Address: Between Khlaeej Al Arabi and Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street

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10. Dubai Safari

Dubai Safari is a relatively new attraction, but already one of the best things to do with kids in the UAE, especially during the cooler winter months. The park covers more than 100 hectares and is home to around 250 species of animals roaming free including hippos, zebra, lion and antelope. There’s also a petting zoo with some less ferocious species, as well as an education center which explains the safari’s role in animal conservation and preservation. The park was recently closed for some renovations but is expected to reopen in January 2019.

Address: Al Awir Road, Al Warqa 5Dubai

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*Published December 2018. Prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.