9 things to do with kids in Dubai over 9 days of school break

So here we are... In Dubai with no school for nine days.

Most families I know, are either not willing to drag children through airports again after having done exactly that the whole summer, have nothing left in the kitty after all the summer travel followed by spending the leftovers in school uniforms and supplies, or are just too happy to start getting back into a routine. In any case, most of us have been caught near off-guard, never suspecting the lovely surprise of an entire week off schools (and yes, hopefully some sleep again!)

As much as I would like to be in the ‘we are jetting off to Bali for a week’ crew, I am afraid we are with the majority of families here and staying home in Dubai, having some family time and doing the things that our crazy weekends just do not allow for. Ah, well … entertaining kids for nine days sounds easy … or does it? Here are 9 ideas (old and new) to keep your little people busy and excited for 9 days:

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

My kids can never get enough of the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, and I will not object. I find it soothes them and they always learn something new and exciting (did you know that octopuses have 3 hearts, 9 brains and blue blood?!). 

If you are all up for supporting worldwide charity, pair the visit with a stopover at the Discovery Channel Arabia.

The Green Planet Dubai

Brand new (opened on 1 September), The Green Planet is an indoor ecosystem with over 3,000 plants and animals dedicated to raising awareness of the fragility of nature in the rainforest, by replicating it under this very angular and funky structure in City Walk.

Just up our street! The perfect spot to meet parrots in all the rainbow colours, the fascinating sloths, all sorts of lizards, and the more scary Goliath tarantulas.

  • Where: City Walk, Jumeirah, Dubai
  • Opening hours: 10am to 10pm Saturday to Wednesday & 10am to 12am Thursday and Friday
  • More information on www.thegreenplanetdubai.com

Mattel Play! Town Dubai

We had been meaning to try this amazing play centre all summer but finally did when we were invited to a birthday party, and now … we are addicted!

Make sure you go with enough time though. A rushed visit is not a good idea, as the kids will find all their friends from Bob the Builder, to Barney, to Fireman Sam, to Angelina Ballerina, and Thomas and Friends. There are dress-up costumes in every station and plenty of opportunity for imaginative play. We love the top floor as well with a huge library to take a break from all the action and snuggle up reading a book or two, and the star was the drumming set that my son just couldn’t get enough of. The staff were so super lovely: friendly, attentive and at hand at all times.

  • Where: City Walk, Jumeirah, Dubai
  • Opening hours: 10am to 10pm Saturday to Wednesday & 10am to 12 am Thursday and Friday
  • More information on www.playtowndubai.com.

Splash N Party

In a villa setting tucked away in Al Safa (but do not let it put you off: it’s huge!), after having visited in early summer, we found this fab waterpark perfect to keep kids of ages 2 up to 10 cool in the hot months of the year. There are plenty of slides, water tunnels and splash pads to keep both my 2-year old, her 5-year old sibling and his buddies buzzing with excitement for hours. The little café is perfect for an early dinner before heading back home, with fresh fruit juices and healthy kiddie bites, but I did have BOTH kids pass out in the back seat before I made it to the first set of traffic lights!

  • Where: Villa 1, Street 8A, Al Safa 2, Jumeirah, Dubai
  • Opening hours: 9am to 8pm Sunday to Wednesday & 9am to 9pm Thursday to Saturday and Public Holidays
  • More information on www.splashnparty.ae

Movie: The Secret Life of Pets

As soon as it started showing in the UAE, we decided to have our very first expedition to the cinema as a whole family. It is not often that I can say this but it was an absolute success! We chose Reel cinema in Dubai Marina Mall because we love how it is small and cosy, perfect for the little people. 

Age-appropriate, with beautiful animation and super funny, it kept both our children quiet and with their eyes peeled on the screen for the entire movie (OK, with the help of pop corn). If your kids like The Minions series and The Lorax they will love this movie, produced by the same team.

The jamjar Studio

Have a whole family creative session at the jamjar Studio. You can use the Public DYI Painting Studio where there is also a coffee bar to keep mummy’s and daddy’s creative juices flowing, while the little Picasso’s will find inspiration in the music. Their 2-hour package is perfect for families and includes all painting supplies and easels.

  • Where: Unit H74, Al Serkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz 1, Dubai
  • Opening hours: Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 8pm, except Friday 2pm to 8pm. Sunday closed.
  • More information on www.thejamjardubai.com.

Flip Out Dubai

The kids may not have school to wear them out, but see what happens after one hour of ‘flipping’! Trampolines are all the craze at the moment and this new centre in Al Quoz (of Australian origin) is the largest in the Middle East and has all the elements that my little tribe will just love.

There are 2 areas to ‘flip’:

  • Adult Flipper: children of ages 6 and above, and adults
  • Little Flipper: Similar to the adults and with the same elements (but softer) and activities, but dedicated to the smaller children, ages 2.5 to 5 years inclusive

If you have Little Flippers, you won’t be allowed to join them but you can watch them from the cafeteria while they are assisted by marshals.

  • Where: near Noor Bank Metro station in Al Quoz 3, and next to Speedex. To access, when driving northbound on Sheikh Zayed Road, take the second service road after the Al Manara exit. 
  • Opening hours: Saturday to Wednesday 10am to 10pm & Thursday and Friday 10 am to 12am
  • More information on www.flipout.ae.

Top Chef Cooking Studio

My husband did their Grill-on-with-Weber session some time ago with a group of his friends (why BBQ and men go together will remain one of those mysteries of the universe). As an Australian, he wanted to polish his show-off skills and he was pretty impressed with their class - not an easy feat!. Our children are little gourmets but are still a little young, as Top Chef only caters for kids aged 7 to 12, but it is on my Bucket List for them as soon as they are old enough. Like with all cooking classes, they also get to eat their own three-course creations – bonus! Click on here for this month’s menu.

  • Where: Villa 196, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, Dubai
  • When: Mini Chef sessions are from 4pm to 5:30pm on scheduled days. During this school break they are on Saturday 10, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Saturday 17 September.
  • More information on www.topchefdubai.com.

Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ

It is still a little sweaty to go to outdoor playgrounds but you can still let the kiddies go physical at Adventure Zone with plenty of facilities and structures to work on their climbing ability, balance and problem solving, all very professionally controlled and monitored, and with the full safety measures.

They have a Cable Climbing Course, a Low Ropes Course which is only 50cm off the ground for the youngest, and 12 themed fun walls for climbing that go from dinosaur skeleton to a castle façade and even a quiz wall that will only allow you to carry on climbing once you have answered the questions correctly.

A height restriction of a minimum 90cm applies for all 3, and and also a minimum weight of 13 to 15 kg depending on the activity.

  • Where: Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, Dubai
  • Opening hours: 9am to 8pm Sunday to Wednesday & 9am to 9pm Thursday to Saturday and Public Holidays
  • More information on their website

 

And with this I would like to wish an Eid Mubarak to All of You celebrating, and to Everyone, happy 9 days of NO school!