The Burj Al Arab has become the modern symbol of Dubai. Whenever Dubai is mentioned this beautiful iconic building is almost always the first thing that comes to mind.
Dubai has a lot of fun things to do for kids; water parks, theme parks, skiing, and more; but admission and tickets to these places add up fast, making a Dubai vacation pretty costly.
Here is a list of things you can do with kids in Dubai that are free or cheap, combining them with some paid attractions will help stretch your vacation dollars and make your vacation all the more memorable.
A visit to Dubai is not complete without at least seeing this building which is home to what is billed the world’s only 7 star hotel. The nightly cost to stay at this hotel starts at around $2000, but you don’t have to stay there to see it, at least from the outside.
You are welcome to enjoy a meal or snack at one of its restaurants or bars, but it will be expensive. We had lunch at the Al Iwan, the Arabic buffet restaurant on the first floor, a couple of years ago. We paid a over $400 for 3 adults; the price for a lunch buffet is 505AED ($138US) per person. Children 3-12 is 50% off, under 3 is free.
There are other restaurants, bars, and lounges in the hotel, expect to pay high prices and you must have reservations to get on hotel property; you’re name is checked off at the gate; no reservation, no entry.
If you don’t want to actually go inside the building you can see it as you walk along the shore of Jumeirah Beach. If you’re not staying in one of the hotels along this stretch of sand you can spend the day at Jumeirah Beach Park, entrance to the Park is 5AED ($1.36US), a considerably cheaper option than staying or dining at the hotel! Great views of the building can also been seen if you’re on Jumeirah Beach Road.
Superb views of the Burj can also been seen from Kite Beach, entrance is free. Kite Beach is on the shore opposite the Al Manara Road junction
Safa Park in Dubai is a large green space in the middle of the the city’s modern high rise buildings.
The park has 3 lakes, a waterfall, and a fountain. Park facilities include boat and bike rentals, barbecue area, sports fields and courts, snack bars, and stores.
Entrance fee is 5AED for adults ($1.36US)
Za’abeel Park in the more residential area of Dubai is another large municipal park in the city that holdsthe distinction of being the first technology driven park in the Middle East.
The park has children play areas, lake with boat rentals, an ice skating rink, mini golf and cricket, 3D cinema, picnic and barbecue areas, cafes, and more.
It is also home to Stargate Dubai a futuristic indoor space themed educational and entertainment center.
Park entrance is 5AED ($1.36US) for adults. Entrance to Stargate is free. All park attractions are priced separately.
If you time your visit on Friday mornings you can wander around the Ripe Food & Craft Market in the park. It’s Dubai’s largest open market featuring food at very reasonable prices and local crafts as well.
Al-Mamzar Beach Park located close to Hamriya Port is one of the best beaches in Dubai. It has 5 coves along the coast, green space, swimming pools, a park train, play areas, rollerskating rink, bike rentals, barbecue areas, chalet rentals, restaurants, and more.
Park entrance is 5AED ($1.36US) per person.
Air-conditioned chalets can be rented daily for 150AED ($41US) for a small that fits 4 people and 200AED ($54US) for a large that fits 6. All activities and attractions including pools require separate fees.
Mondays and Wednesdays are ladies day, meaning the park is open only to women and their children (male children up to a certain age only)
Russian Beach, on the lower end of Beach Road on the opposite side of the Burj Al Arab is an open free beach.
There are some showers and restrooms, but the facilities are limited. However the shops and restaurants along Beach Road are close by.
JBR Beach is another free beach. It’s located next door to the Jumeirah Beach Resort. It has clean facilities including restrooms and showers and a bit of green space. There are also many ocean view restaurants around where you can enjoy a nice lunch or snack.
Take a ride on the Metro. It’s not so much the destination, it’s the ride on this state of the art driverless automated train that kids love! You can start at Dubai Mall to Dubai Marina and back again.
Fares are 2-6AED (.50 – 1.50US) depending on the length of the ride.
The kids will love the space age looking stations! My grandsons thought they were cool, they look straight out of s sci-fic movie!
The Dubai Miracle Garden is a refreshing break from all the buildings, although they do have a floral version of the Burj Khalife.There are kid’s play areas, , and floral displays.Admission is 30AED ($8.25US) per person
Kids 3 and under are free.
Take a wooden boat across the creek, (an Abra found along the creek in Bur Dubai), to the Gold Souk in Deira. You can just wander along the alleys for a bit of window shopping.
The amount of “Bling” in the shop windows is amazing. You don’t have to buy anything, assuming you can resist the temptation of different shades of gold just calling your name. I can never resist and end up spending way too much, next time I’m leaving the credit cards locked in the hotel safe!
You’ll find these abras along the creek in Bur Dubai ferrying people across the creek. It’s the best way to get to the Gold Souk in Diera to avoid the problem of finding parking.The kids will love bobbing along this wooden boat that have been modernized with the addition of diesel engines. You’ll get a different perspective of the Dubai skyline.The cost of an abra ride is 1AED, .27 cents US!
Take a day trip to the Emirate of Sharjah and search for bargains at the Blue Souk.The tile on the outside is worth the trip! The inside is filled with shops selling everything from electronics to antiques. There are several snack bars inside as well.
Built in 1787 the Al Fahidi Fort is the oldest building in the city. It houses the Dubai Museum where you can learn about the region’s history. They have various exhibits of historic books, traditional dress, and dhows (wooden boats).The Museum is located in Bur Dubai.
Admission tickets cost 3AED (.80US) for adults and half price for children.
Built in the late 19th. Century along the Creek at Shindagha is the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House. Once the seat of the local government and the official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, the grandfather of the current ruler, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, this imposing building has been converted into a museum that showcases the progression of Dubai from Bedouin tents lining the creek to the amazing buildings we see today.The ancient wind towers served to cool the building and is a testament to Arab architectural ingenuity. For those interested in architecture this museum is a must see! Admission cost is 2AED, (.54US)
Located behind the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House
is the Camel Museum. The museum will probably tell you everything and more that you want to know about camels. This museum is a testament to the Emiratis’ passion for their beloved animals and explains why they they gained such prominence in Arab history.The museum blends history with technology with their camel race simulator. Visitors can virtually ride a camel in a race. Admission is free.
Take a breakfast picnic to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary . The sanctuary has 3 hides, head to the Hide 2 at the junction of the Al Wasl and Oud Metha roads, that’s by the flamingo roost. If you’re there at high tide the kids will love watching the big pink birds.Admission is free, just register in the visitor’s logbook.Check out the Dubai Dino. This is an almost complete skeleton of a dinosaur called
Amphicoelias brontodiplodocus. It was discovered in 2008 in Wyoming, USA and transported to its new home at the Dubai Mall.Talk to the Dubai Dino Team, they’re armed with some interesting facts.Best of all it’s free!
While you’re at The Dubai Mall have a look at the Dubai Aquarium. The gigantic aquarium is the Centerpiece of The Dubai Mall. You can view the aquarium inhabitants from the mall viewing panels for free, but if you want to walk thru the tunnel for a more up close and personal look you must purchase a ticket. Tickets include a walk thru the tunnel and a visit to the Underwater Zoo.Directly across the Dubai Aquarium is Candylicious one of the world’s largest candy stores. It’s also the home to Spun Candy where candy confectioners make handmade candy on site. You can even design your own candy and watch them make it for you.A visit to the store is free, but what you fill your basket with is totally up to you and your budget.If you’re at The Dubai Mall, wander around, window shop, and enjoy the fountain and store fronts, some of them are pretty cool. My grandkids loved the kiosk selling Camel Milk Candy, there’s a large golden camel at the front!If you’re hungry wander over to the huge food court or one of the many restaurants throughout the mall. Better yet grab an outdoor table at one of the eateries along The Dubai Fountain and watch the show. The fountains shoot up to 500 ft. and dance to all types of music. There are daily afternoon shows (except Fridays) at 1:00 and 1:30, and evening shows every day every half hour from 6:00 to 11:00.This area also offers wonderful views of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building..Let the kids splash around in the fountain at Marina Walk, it’s fun and it’s free! Just bring a change of clothes for them.You can grab a cup of java from the Starbucks next to the fountain and keep an eye on the kids from the outdoor tables.Catch a ride on the Marina Water Bus. This air conditioned boat shuttles between Marina Walk, Marina Mall, and Marina Promenade. The cost is 2AED (.54US) each way, kids ride free.
Feed the ducks in the lake located in the Dubai Media City Park, it’s a bit of green space with a couple of cafes near by. Along with the ducks you may see some office working having lunch or just taking a break. There are no facilities, and no admission fees.
Head a bit out of town to the Mirdif area to Mushrif Park. It’s the largest park in Dubai. The park has pools, gardens, playgrounds, camel and horse rides, train rides, bike and walking paths, but the best attraction is the International Village. The village has 13 child-size houses from around the world, perfect for tots filled with imagination.Admission is 3AED (less than $1US)
The Burj Park is a man made island between the Burj Khalifa lakes. It offers an excellent view of the Burj as well at The Dubai Fountain show nearby; best of all you can enjoy the Burj and the fountain away from the jostling crowds at the mall.There are no shops or cafes here, but the mall is steps away, you can grab a drink or snack from there and have a picnic in this small green space in the middle of downtown Dubai.Admission is free and it’s open 24 hours.
Creek Park along the Dubai Creek in the heart of the old city is one of the oldest parks in the city. It’s home to the Children’s City, Dubai Dolphinarium, and Wonderland Theme & Water Parks.There are barbecue and picnic areas through out the park as well as play areas and walking paths. You can also ride the cable car for views of the city.Park admission is 5AED ($1.30US) per person and must be paid even if you have tickets to the attractions inside. Cable car tickets can be purchased separately.Children’s City in Creek Park is an interactive museum geared towards kids from 2-15 years old. They have fun displays to teach kids about the world we live in.They have a toddler’s section for little ones to climb and play, a human body section, a planetarium, and more.Last time we were there children went it free and adults were 5AED ($1.30US). It’s a great place to spend a hot summer afternoon. It’s air conditioned and there’s a small snack bar where you can purchase lunch or snacks, or you can bring your own and eat it there.For more info on Children’s City click here!
Address: Creekside Park, Gate 1, Umm Hurair.
Open: Saturday to Thursday 09:00 to 21:30; Friday 15:00 to 21:30
For more things to see and do in Dubai click here!