Top 10 family experiences in Dubai

Beyond its twinkling skyscrapers and high-class excess, the Emirati city is full of family-friendly experiences. Check out 10 of the best to get you started.

By Pól Ó Conghaile
Published 8 Apr 2019, 23:54 BST
Dubai Frame building at sunrise
Dubai Frame building at sunrise.
Photograph by Alamy

1 // Dubai Frame
One of the newest additions to Dubai's skyline has been dubbed the world's biggest picture frame. There's even a glass-floor walkway to test your stomach. 

2 //Mall rats
Dubai Mall and The Mall of the Emirates are gigantic, although prices are no cheaper than the UK. Arrive with a plan and an idea of what you're after (e.g. shoes); try to leave before you turn into zombies with sore feet.

3 // IMG Worlds of Adventure
The world's largest indoor theme park has four zones — Cartoon Network, Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure, MARVEL and IMG Boulevard. 

4 // Dune bashing
Older kids (i.e. those without booster seats) should dig this desert adventure. Four-wheel-drive vehicles lower the pressure in their tyres and take to the dunes like unhinged rollercoaster cars. 

 5 // Dubai Miracle Garden
From mid-November to mid-May, 150 million flowers are arranged into exhibits, including the world's largest floral structure: an Airbus A380. 

6 // Brunch
Do as the locals do on Friday or Saturday: treat yourself to a slap-up, all-inclusive and maybe even mildly debauched brunch. Meals can take hours, but be prepared to spend a small fortune.

7 // Ain Dubai
The world's largest Ferris wheel (the 'Dubai Eye') stands 689ft tall on the brand new Bluewaters Island development. If that's not enough, one of its legs also includes a rope-climbing platform.

8 // The Museum of the Future
Set to open next year, this fantastically shaped building will showcase the designs and products we'll be using in the decades to come. 

9 // Frying Pan Adventures
Pack an appetite for these four-hour food and cultural tours of Dubai's oldest neighbourhoods. Brilliant immersions, best suited to older kids. 

10 // XLINE Dubai Marina
Another superlative, this time in the shape of the world's longest urban zip-line. Riders reach speeds of 50mph on the kilometre-long trip over Dubai Marina. Over-12s only. 

Published in the Family 2019 guide, distributed with the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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