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Dubai with Kids: 20 Fun Things to Do for the Whole Family

Dubai with Kids: 20 Fun Things to Do for the Whole Family

Planning to visit Dubai with kids and wondering how to make this family city trip fun for everyone?

We were in the same situation when we visited Dubai for the first time. Despite traveling with young children, we didn’t want to spend our entire vacation at the beach or visiting theme parks. And, of course, we couldn’t drag the kids sightseeing around the city for days in a row…. But we wanted to see Dubai’s main landmarks, while at the same time keeping it relaxing and fun for kids and adults alike.

Dubai is very touristic, and at first, seems a bit artificial and superficial. And in many ways it is. You will not find much of the truly authentic Middle Eastern culture unless especially tailored for tourists. No remarkable nature or other natural wonders either…

But Dubai has plenty of other things to offer for every type of traveler! It’s a fascinating place where everything is big, bigger, the biggest, modern, spectacular (see our guide ‘Interesting facts about Dubai’ for more information)… And because it’s so diverse and has so much to offer, Dubai is actually one of the most family-friendly travel destinations in the world.

In this article, we share our tips for family-friendly things to do in Dubai with kids. Activities that we enjoyed the most.

We focus on those activities that not only give you a taste of Dubai, but are also fun for the whole family. Of course, you can take the kids to a playground, watch a movie, or visit a zoo – but unless you live in Dubai, I would skip these. Instead, go and explore this dazzling city and the surroundings! Find out!

Good to know: At the end of this article, we also include some suggestions on where to stay in Dubai with kids. You can see where we stayed, why we think it’s a great location for a family vacation in Dubai, and see the map where you can compare hotels and Airbnbs in that area. Read on!


Dubai is a perfect-weather destination and you can spend time at the beach or by the pool, do some water sports, and never leave your hotel. But if you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for more. So here are a few ideas on how to keep your kids busy on vacation in Dubai and do some sightseeing at the same time.

These are all family-friendly activities, based on our family trip to Dubai with our three boys of 5, 5, and 7.

Here are some fun things to do in Dubai with kids:

1. Go Sandboarding in the Desert

For our kids, sandboarding in the desert was an absolute favorite thing we did in Dubai!

Take a snowboard and slide down the dunes. Go back up the hill and slide back down again. And again… We only tried sandboarding a few times, as part of our desert safari tour, but the kids can’t stop talking about how fun it was.

Good to know: Pretty much all the desert tours in Dubai include sandboarding and they usually give big discounts for kids.

Dubai with kids - sandboarding in the desert
Our kids loved sandboarding in Dubai

2. Visit a Water Park

Dubai has three big waterparks – Wild Wadi Waterpark, Aquaventure Atlantis, and LEGOLAND® Water Park Dubai. And there is also Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi, just a short ride from Dubai.

No matter how long your Dubai family trip is, a visit to one of the waterparks is an absolute must!

We didn’t get a chance to try them all, but we spent a day at Aquaventure Atlantis and the kids absolutely loved it. Our kids were a bit too young for most rides, but with bigger kids, you could easily spend several days here (or visit several water parks on the same trip).

Good to know: Kids under 1,2m are not allowed on the ‘big’ rides. They can join you on a ‘Lazy River’ or spend time at the kids’ slides, and they will enjoy it just as much. But we found it a pity that our 5-year-olds couldn’t join us on all the rides, and we had to constantly split up and do the rides separately.

TIP: Dubai waterparks are really expensive and you will pay even more if you buy your tickets at the entrance. So be sure to book your tickets online in advance!


3. Go to the Top of the World’s Tallest Building – Burj Khalifa

Visiting the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa is a must in Dubai! It’s such a unique thing to do and something the whole family will enjoy. Our kids were so impressed with this experience that even a few years later as I’m updating this article, they are still talking about it.

With a height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft – just over half a mile), Burj Khalifa is huge. It’s difficult to comprehend how tall this tower is until you stand under it. Your neck will hurt trying to see the top of the building from beneath it!

We visited Burj Khalifa in the evening and the views of the city in the dark were amazing. If you can get sunset tickets, it’s one of the best times to visit. You can see the city while it’s still light, at sunset, and – if you hang around long enough – also in the dark.

It’s not a cheap experience, but if there’s one thing that is absolutely worth its money in Dubai, it’s this. After all, how often will you get the chance to visit a building this high?!

TIP: Be sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid long waiting times and disappointment. If you didn’t prebook, try going in the morning when it’s less busy and you might get in without advance reservation.

Burj Khalifa Dubai
Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain

4. See Dubai’s Dancing Fountains

The Dubai Fountain is another experience that you should really try to do when visiting Dubai with kids. The whole family will enjoy the music and light show of these dancing fountains at the foot of Burj Khalifa. It’s breathtaking!

There are a couple of shows in the afternoon and every half hour starting at 6 pm in the evening. The fountains are probably more impressive at night than they are during the day.

We found the fountains spectacular when seen from the top of Burj Khalifa as well. So if you are At The Top in the evening, make sure you don’t miss the spectacle from above.

TIP: There are also traditional boats that go on Burj Lake during the fountain show. We didn’t book in advance and couldn’t do this, but it looked absolutely amazing. Especially for the children!

Dubai Fountain Show as seen from the top of Burj Khalifa at night
Dubai Fountain show as seen from the top of Burj Khalifa

5. Ride a Camel

If you visit a place surrounded by the desert, you should certainly go on a camel trek! It’s one of those special experiences that you can only have in a few places in the world and it’s totally worth it.

Camel rides are also fun for the whole family, just maybe don’t embark on a very long ride with very young children. On the other hand, kids from about 3-4 years, should be able to do a tour like this, where camel riding is just one of the many things you do.

Our kids were so excited to ride the camel for the first time! Older kids might also love quad rides, but for our 5- and 7-year-olds, riding a camel was adventurous enough.

TIP: If you are visiting Dubai with teens or tweens, take a look at this popular desert tour that allows kids from 10 years old. It includes a camel ride, sandboarding, and a quad bike ride. All the fun activities in one tour!

Kids with a camel in Dubai desert
Kids loved interacting with camels. Riding a camel was a big hit with them too!

6. Visit LEGOLAND Dubai

If you are visiting Dubai with kids under 12, then you may want to check out LEGOLAND Dubai theme park as well. It has the same concept as all the other LEGOLAND parks in the world, with colorful shows and fun rides mostly tailored for the youngest members of the family.

In addition to the traditional theme park, there’s also a water park that you can visit here as well – LEGOLAND Dubai Water Park. This is a really fun water park with various pools, waterslides, and also family-friendly activities with huge soft LEGO bricks. However – just as with all the other water parks in Dubai – you will enjoy it more with somewhat older kids (ideally over 1.2 m tall).

Here you can find more information and get your tickets for the theme park, and here – for the waterpark.

TIP: If you are looking for even more theme parks to visit in Dubai with kids, you can also check out Motiongate Dubai, and potentially also Bollywood Parks Dubai.

Things to do in Dubai with kids - LEGOLAND Dubai
LEGOLAND DUBAI – Photo ViktoriyaF/

7. Go on a 4×4 Desert Safari

Ok, this is one of those activities that might not be for the whole family, but it’s so typically Dubai that it’s well worth trying. And yes, you can do it with kids.

Dune bashing in a 4×4 is really not for the faint-hearted. But what an exhilarating experience!

Our boys were excited and really enjoyed the ride, but towards the end, it became too much for them (and for us). The ride is really rough and you might get a bit car sick. But you’ll feel such an adrenaline rush! I vaguely remember myself saying ‘Oh my God’ over and over again… It’s an experience you will not quickly forget!

TIP: We did this highly-rated and extremely popular 4×4 desert tour and it included a taste of many other desert activities as well. Perfect for families with kids who want to experience the Dubai desert without going on many different tours. Just beware of that motion sickness and maybe take a pill for that before you go.

Dubai 4x4 desert safari is fun for the whole family
Dune bashing in a jeep was one of the most exhilarating things we did in Dubai with kids

8. Visit an Aquarium

There are two big aquariums in Dubai – The Lost Chambers Aquarium in Atlantis at the Palm, and the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo located inside the Dubai Mall.

The Lost Chambers Aquarium is located at Atlantis hotel and is often combined with a visit to the Aquaventure Water Park that’s also located at the same place. Whereas the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is located in a very busy shopping mall, close to Burj Khalifa.

You can see a part of the aquarium at the Dubai Mall without having to go inside and it’s absolutely impressive. If you choose to visit an aquarium, make sure to book your tickets in advance and go first thing in the morning as it gets very busy in the afternoon.

Kids at the Dubai Aquarium
Kids at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

9. Visit Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum was an unexpected surprise for us. It’s a really interesting place that gives you a good insight into Dubai’s history. You’ll also earn more about the Middle East and how a barren desert became a bustling Metropole…

Furthermore, the museum is located in the old Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787, the oldest building in Dubai. It’s rather small and compact and presented in such a way that kids will enjoy it too. It doesn’t take much time to visit (40-50 min) and there’s plenty to keep the kids interested.

We visited the Dubai Museum and Old Dubai as part of this popular tour. Alternatively, you can also get here by taxi or with a hop-on hop-off bus (take the Historical Route) and visit on your own.

Dubai Museum with kids
Dubai Museum is really interesting for adults and kids

10. Go Shopping at Dubai Spice Souk and Gold Souk

Dubai is so much more than modern skyscrapers! We were pleasantly surprised to discover Old Dubai and its traditional markets, souks.

The colors, tastes, and the hustle and bustle of a traditional market will impress any child. Don’t forget to smell the spices! The girls will love all the bling-bling of the Gold Souk.

You can buy pretty much anything here, just don’t forget to bring cash and haggle over the asking price.

Visiting Spice Souk in Deira, Dubai with kids
Our kids were really impressed with the Dubai Spice Souk in Deira

11. Dress up Like a Local

Since you are at a market anyway, why not buy something typically Dubai, something local that you wouldn’t find at home!

Or do as our kids did, and try a traditional outfit, such as abaya or kandura. And yes, we had to buy these clothes as the kids absolutely loved them. With these outfits and sunglasses, they looked like rich Arabian sheiks during the school carnival…

Kids wearing local traditional outfits in Dubai
Our boys wearing kandura – traditional Dubai clothing

12. Go for a Ride on a Water Bus, a Water Taxi, or a Metro

When we travel with kids, we try to take as many different means of transport as we possibly can. Often, that’s an experience in itself.

Dubai also has a big choice of all kinds of transportation available. From the most modern transportation options such as Dubai Skyrail to the more traditional ones, such as a wooden boat abra.

So when visiting Dubai with kids, hop on the water bus on Dubai Marina, take a traditional abra water taxi on Dubai Creek, or explore the city on a hop-on hop-off bus for a day. Kids will love it!

Also the Dubai metro is fun for kids! It’s different from most other metros as it actually runs above the ground, so you can see the city passing by. There are elevators at every station, so the metro is easily accessible with a stroller as well. It’s a fast way to get from one side of the city to the other and it’s fun for the children.

LEARN MORE: Tourist Guide to Public Transport in Dubai

Riding a traditional wooden boat Abra on Dubai Creek
Riding a traditional wooden boat abra on Dubai Creek

13. Take the Kids to a Toy Store

When it comes to shopping, only a few places in the world can match the variety and offer of the Dubai shopping malls.

We visited a couple of toy stores in Dubai and it was like nowhere else we’ve ever been. It felt as if we entered a fairy tale world with Santa and flying elves, Star Wars characters, helicopters and mini drones flying around, and kids racing on kick scooters… This is a true paradise for any child!

TIP: Try to agree on the spending budget (and the size of the toys) with your kids before you enter the store. Or – better – use an excuse of limited baggage space on the plane and promise to go for some really special ice cream afterwards. And in the meantime just look around and enjoy!

Kids with Star Wars masks at Dubai Mall toy store
Our kids at a Star Wars Stand at a toy store in Dubai Mall

14. Watch a Traditional Tanoura Dance Performance

If you have never seen a live Tanoura dance performance, you simply must! Tanoura is an Egyptian folk dance usually performed in Egyptian Sufi festivals by men. It’s also a popular traditional dance in Dubai.

Tanoura dancers wear long colorful skirts and perform all kinds of tricks while whirling. The traditional belly dance performances by women are also nice to see in Dubai. But if I were to choose just one of these, with kids, I would definitely go for the Tanoura dance. The lights and the colors of the traditional skirts will impress adults and children alike.

You don’t have to book a dance performance separately – it’s often part of various Dubai day trips or excursions, like this dinner cruise or this Dhow dinner cruise on Dubai Marina that we took one night (kids under 6 are free of charge).

Tanoura dance performance with a skirt lit in the dark in Dubai
Tanoura dance performance in Dubai

15. Explore Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina was one of our favorite parts of the city. It’s a very lively place, with lots of restaurants and cafés. There were also many street performances at the Marina when we visited Dubai during the Christmas – New Year period.

But what makes it special and fun with kids is the wide and safe waterside promenades. Dubai Marina has almost 7km of flat stroller-accessible walkways! It’s is ideal for all kinds of wheels too – scooters, bikes, hoverboards, etc. A paradise for kids! There are also playgrounds for the younger ones.

TIP: Dubai Marina is also a very nice place to explore by boat. There are lots of boat tours here (take a look at this private speedboat tour!), but there’s also an earlier mentioned water bus that has several stops along the Marina. It’s really cheap and – if I recall well – young kids travel free of charge. Perfect if a long walk becomes too long for the kids. We walked one way and took the boat back afterward.

Exploring Dubai Marina with kids
Dubai Marina is a great place to visit with kids

16. Hit the Beach

Dubai has so many really nice beaches. And I can’t imagine any family trip to Dubai without at least a few days spent at the beach. Even non-beach people like us spent many hours playing in the sand and enjoying the sun.

Some hotels have access to the beach and/or their own private beaches. So if you are in Dubai for a family holiday, it’s best to look for a hotel on the beach. Our hotel had an excellent location for that (more about it in our DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach Hotel review) and it was so easy and convenient with kids.

If you are staying at a hotel in the city and not by the beach, you’ll be glad to know that there are many really nice public beaches in Dubai. For example, Marina Beach near The Walk where we stayed looked like a perfect place to spend a couple of hours with your family. Not only can you enjoy all the beach has to offer, but there are also several playgrounds and plenty of space to run around for the kids.

Kids playing at the beach in Dubai
Kids playing at the beach of our hotel in Dubai

17. Taste Local Food and Drinks

One of the things that surprised us in Dubai was the incredible choice of food and non-alcoholic drinks. Dubai has a very international food scene and you can find food from all over the world here. Often, with a subtle Middle Eastern touch – a great mix!

Don’t dine at your hotel every evening and go out for dinner! It would be a real shame to go to a boring hotel buffet every night when there is such a great variety of really good restaurants in Dubai. Furthermore, dining at the hotel costs much more.

Our kids loved the Arabic bread and fresh fruit smoothies that all the restaurants served. My husband couldn’t get enough of local lamb dishes, and I loved the oriental spices that made every dish even more special…

Fruit smoothies at a restaurant in Dubai
Dubai restaurants serve the most delicious smoothies

18. Get Turkish Ice Cream

We had some excellent ice cream in Dubai. There are specialized places that really perfectioned the art of ice cream making. But our kids’ favorite was Turkish ice cream at The Walk in Dubai.

It’s not just any ice cream at a cafe, but the Turkish ice cream from a real Turk on The Walk. Not only do you get some delicious ice cream (eventually), but it comes with a whole show that the kids will absolutely love.

I won’t say much more about it, but if you like a good laugh and delicious ice cream, then definitely look out for it if visiting The Walk!

Family at Turkish ice cream stand on The Walk in Dubai
Turkish ice cream stand on The Walk in Dubai

19. Go Ice Skating or Skiing in Summer

If you want to experience winter in the desert, Dubai has that too! You can find an indoor ski area and an ice skating rink at the Mall of Emirates.

You don’t even need to bring any ski clothing or equipment – everything can be rented. We didn’t try this because, for us, Dubai was a sunny destination that we visited in order to escape winter. And we have plenty of time for winter activities at home in Europe.

But if you or your kids want to experience winter in the summer, then it might be something for you! Check out various ticket options here.

Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates
Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates – Photo by bloodua/

20. Meet Dolphins

One of the things that many of our friends who visited Dubai with children seemed to love the most was interacting with dolphins at Atlantis.

We skipped it for various reasons. But if your kids want to interact with dolphins and time and money are not an issue, then you may want to try it.

Atlantis at The Palm is the place to be for this and many other activities (waterpark, aquarium). And, like with everything else in Dubai, it’s much cheaper if booked in advance.


Where to Stay in Dubai with Kids

When visiting Dubai with your family, I highly recommend staying at or very close to the beach. A pool is also a must!

Our experience: We stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach Hotel in the area called Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) and it was perfect with kids! Our hotel was at the beach, had several pools, and very affordable family suites with great sea views. You can check rates and find more information for this hotel here.

What we also loved about staying here is that there is a nice waterfront promenade at JBR (aka The Walk) and so many nice restaurants just nearby. It’s a great place to go for a walk in the evening! In addition, JBR is close to Dubai Marina and it’s also quite easy to reach this part of the city by metro as well. When we go back to Dubai, I wouldn’t even consider staying anywhere else.

If you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation in Dubai with kids and can fit the whole family in a room of 4 people, Atlantis The Palm is also a very good option to consider because hotel guests can use the waterpark for free. So if you are planning to spend lots of time by the pool and can find a reasonable rate for a family room here, it might be worth it.

TIP: Using the map below, you can compare hotels and short-term rental accommodations in the JBR area. Simply insert your travel dates and group size, and you’ll find what’s available for your family stay. You can also zoom in and out to see more accommodations nearby. Check it out!


So, this is our guide to some of the fun things to do in Dubai with kids. There are many family activities in Dubai (and many more opening every year)… But if you are visiting for the first time and want to experience different aspects of this fascinating city, then I think that this list offers a very good mix of things to see and do.

If you are looking for more ideas for things to do in Dubai, make sure to check our guide to the best free and cheap things to do in Dubai. There are also so many great tours – take a look via the link below!

Read on for our recommendations on where to stay in Dubai with children!

READ ALSO: Best Dubai Tours

More tips for visiting Dubai:

What (not) to wear: Dubai Clothing Advice for Tourists
Budget: How Expensive is Dubai
Getting around: Tourist Guide to Dubai Public Transport
Quick trip: What to See & Do on Dubai Stopover
Interesting to know: Dubai Facts & Fun Trivia

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Things to do in Dubai with kids

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Monday 17th of June 2024

This post was exactly what I was looking for, I have kids with same ages! For how many days were you there? I am planning our agenda and would like to understand all what you did against the days you were there?


Tuesday 18th of June 2024

Hi Gaby, this first trip to Dubai with the kids was for about 10 days. But we didn't go sightseeing each day, some days were beach-only. Some places - like waterparks - really require a full day each. Whereas others, like e.g. Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, Dubai Mall, etc. are all together and can be done in about half a day. The desert tour, depends on the options you choose is usually about 4-6 hours in the late afternoon/evening. If you want to spend more time riding camels than just for a picture, I recommend this tour with kids. We did it just recently and it was great. PS We visited Dubai just a few months ago again and I have published more articles. There are also so many new attractions! I still have to update this guide, but in the meantime, be sure to check out these guides for more info: - Best Things to Do in Dubai - all the 'musts'. - Dubai Itinerary for up to one week - definitely check this one out as it will give you a better idea of who you can group various activities. - Dubai Travel Tips - this one is a practical guide with tons of helpful and recent information. - Tips for Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark - this is the best water park in Dubai, don't miss it! Have a great trip!


Monday 27th of November 2023

great review, some really useful points!


Monday 27th of November 2023

Glad to help, Liz. Enjoy Dubai!


Sunday 5th of November 2023

Hi Jurga, Thank you for the tips. Do you have any recommendation for the desert safari suitable for kids? We are also travelling with a 5 and a 7 year old girls. We checked the safari which covers a lot of things like camel ride, jeep tour, falcon show but it is pretty expensive.


Sunday 5th of November 2023

Hi Moulshree, there are desert tours that - at this moment - offer prices starting at around 30 euros per person. You can add additional options like dinner or a private driver which makes it more expensive. But regular tours like this one are really good value and they include dune bashing, sandboarding, and camel rides. You can read the description for what exactly is included and see all the options when you choose the number of people and travel dates, and you can then book the option that suits your family best. We did a tour like that and our kids loved it. But that jeep ride (dune bashing) can be quite rough if you are prone to car sickness. Otherwise, you can also opt for a 'quieter' experience like this that includes a camel ride and a visit to a Beduin camp where you can take pictures with falcons, etc. It's quite a lot more expensive than the cheapest desert tours, but it includes a long camel ride (the others are usually just a few minutes) and BBQ dinner. So all in all, a very good value for what you get too. Hope this helps. Have a great trip!


Sunday 23rd of April 2023

Hi Jurga, just wanted to say thanks for all your articles about Dubai. You answered all my questions and gave a lot of ideas for places to see. We are visiting next week, so excited.


Monday 24th of April 2023

Glad to help, Miley. Have a great trip!


Friday 28th of January 2022

so informative, and very well written, you have helped us so much! we will be definitely doing most if not all the recommendations you have highlighted.


Saturday 29th of January 2022

Glad to hear that you found it useful, Vanessa. Planning what to see and do in Dubai can be really overwhelming, with all kinds of new attractions opening up all the time. So don't even try to 'see it all'. Just pick the few places that interest you the most and you'll have a much better holiday than if you would try to cover as much as possible. Have a great family vacation in Dubai!

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