Dubai is such an amazing place. The city state boasts the world’s tallest building, one of largest suspended aquariums in the world located in one of the largest indoor malls, and so much more. There’s lots to see and do in Dubai you won’t know where to begin. We’ve been there several times and still haven’t seen it all.
For our family one of the best things about Dubai is that it is very kid and family friendly. Many of the venues are geared for families with children. But it’s not cheap! Many of the attractions such as Ski Dubai and Atlantis’ Aquaventure come with a very hefty price tag. But don’t despair, there are many things you can enjoy with the kids without breaking the bank. One of them is a day at the Dubai Mall.
Dubai Mall is one of the world’s largest indoor malls. It’s home to 1200 retail stores, The Dubai Aquarium, an ice skating rink, a real dinosaur, movie theaters, and more. Sure most of the things in Dubai Mall are not free, but there are many that are free or very inexpensive.
First let me start some of the free and less expensive things you can do with the kids and end with the most expensive activities.
Browse the candy and toy stores, they’re pretty amazing! Of course this can get costly if you decide to go on a shopping spree, but if you can manage to keep your credit cards in you wallet, or stay on budget, the kids will be delighted.
The Toy Store located on the lower ground floor is a child’s dream store. It’s a huge store filled with just about every toy imaginable. It’s also lots of fun. The store front is filled with sales associates demonstrating cool new toys, best of all they interact with the kids and even let them try out the toys. Great marketing! You’re welcome to browse thru the store, touch, and even play with the samples that are scattered throughout. Getting out of the store without making a purchase can be challenging, but we managed several times. Well ok, we got the kids out fine, but on one visit my husband insisted on purchasing one of the flying gizmos!
The kids loved the Al Nassma kiosk also located on the lower ground floor. The kiosk sells beautifully boxed chocolates made from camel’s milk.
The kids thought camel’s milk candy was cool, but I’m not sure they really liked it. They did love the gold colored camel that was part of the decor. The sales associate was nice enough to let the boys ride the camel and take photos.
My grandson Dion picked up a small box of chocolates for his mom and my husband bought several bars to munch on. If you’re adventurous you may want to give it a try, but the chocolates are pretty pricey!
There are several other sweets shops nearby including Patchi that sells high quality chocolates made in Lebanon. The kids loved choosing samples which the sales associates handed out freely.
Candylicious located on the ground floor directly across from The Dubai Aquarium is actually a bunch of candy stores under one roof. The store is huge and houses different sections of various products.
In the front you’ll find Garret popcorn shop selling a variety of yummy popcorn. The popcorn is sold by weight so you can buy as much or as little as you want. We picked up a couple of bags to munch on.
Further in the shop you’ll find the Chocolate Moonshine Co. This family owned US company prides itself in making artisan that are gluten free and have 0 trans fats.
You’re encouraged to sample the many flavors and create your own sampler box.
We picked up a couple of boxes to enjoy when we returned home. They really are yum with lots of interesting flavors.
In the back of Candylicious you’ll find candy confectioners busy making handmade candy at Spun.
If you want you can order custom candy in the flavors and colors of your choice or have them write a message on one of their large lollipops.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
You can watch them make colorful hard candies and lollipops….[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
and browse their cool candy creations like this sushi tray.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
On the other side of the store there’s a wind booth where you can buy a ticket for a chance to grab coupons for a chance to win prizes. Each ticket costs about $5 and gives you a couple of minutes in the booth to grab as much coupons as you can. My grandson Dion tried it and won a bag of goodies. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
My grandson Devon loved watching the candy maker make cotton candy, he loved eating it too! The cotton candy cost about $5. If you want to save it for later the candy maker will happily bag it for you.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
Now that the kids are on a candy rush you can head to the Dubai Fountain located on the lower ground floor. You can’t miss it, just follow the signs! There’s a fountain show every half hour or so, check at the mall for the schedule. Enjoy the show for free anywhere along the promenade or grab a cup of coffee from Tim Horton’s or a burger from 5 Guys and take a seat in their outdoor seating area. For more upscale fountain side dining check out Wafi Gourmet for lunch or dinner. They serve delicious Middle Eastern cuisine and have outdoor seating where you can watch the fountain show during your meal.
Check out the DubaiDino on the ground floor. Hard to miss just follow the dino tracks!
This real dinosaur was discovered almost intact in 2008 in Wyoming. It was air-freighted to its new home at the Dubai Mall and is now on display in the Souk Dome. You can gaze at this 25 foot tall behemoth, read its story, and chat with the Dino Team. They’re real friendly folks and will happily answer your questions. Best of all this is free![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
Another popular free attraction is the outer wall of The Dubai Aquarium located across from Candylicious. You’re welcome to watch its many inhabitants swim by as long as you want, as long as you can fight the crowds!
If you want to walk thru the tunnel you’ll have to buy a ticket.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
If you get hungry you certainly have lots of places to choose from. Just about every floor has a restaurant. But when you have kids the food court is a good choice. There are so many choices I’m sure you’ll find something for everyone, the challenge is finding a table![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
After lunch or dinner if you have room try the ice cream of the feature from the Ice Cream Lab located in the food court. The kids got a kick out of watching the ice cream makers make their ice cream for them. If ice cream’s not your thing there’re many other sweet shops in the food court.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
You can work off that ice cream at the Dubai Ice Rink. Or you can just watch the skaters! The Olympic size rink is located a couple of floors below the food court.
Check for times and prices before you go.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
Or you can check out Sega Republic and indoor theme park located across from the food court. You’ll find rides and arcade games all centered around Sega video games. There are different passes available for purchase.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
Or you can just walk the upper level of the mall and browse the shops.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
The boys loved the Lamborghini store and took photos by the gold Lamborghini on display.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
Or you can head back to the Dubai Aquarium, it’s very cool. Tickets start at about $25 per person to the Aquarium and the Underwater Zoo.
The Underwater Zoo is located on the upper floor, once you’ve walked thru the aquarium tunnel you’ll be directed to the elevator or escalator to the zoo. There are many cool exhibits and habitats in the Zoo.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
You can purchase the ticket that includes a ride in the glass bottom boat and get a different view of the aquarium critters. We did this one year, it was very cool![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
If you or the kids love flying and splurging is within your budget then book a session with the Emirates A380 Experience. It’s a flight simulator that puts you in the cockpit of this beautiful plane.
As I said this is a bit of a splurge! A thirty minute session costs a bit over $100!
The Emirates A380 Experience is located on the ground level right next to the Emirates Official Store. The boys loved the store, they were able to buy model planes, pilot and flight attendant uniforms, and other logo stuff at fairly reasonable prices.
If you want to ride the high speed elevator to the Burj Khalifa’s observation deck you can purchase tickets at the Dubai Mall. The ticket booth is located not far from the Dubai Fountain. Tickets start at about $30 per person depending on which floor you want to go to and the time of your visit.
Whatever you decide to do at the Dubai Mall I’m sure you’ll have a great time. There is so much to see and do you’re sure to find something that fits your tastes and budget. Remember you don’t have to spend a cent, but it’s sure hard not to!