On the surface, you might not think there are that many things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids, particularly when it is often compared with flashier Dubai down the road. But rest assured there’s still plenty of family attractions in Abu Dhabi to keep the little ones entertained.
The city does generally move at a slower pace, but it is very family orientated and perfectly blends modern lifestyle with it’s traditional Bedouin past if you just dig a little beneath the surface.
From cooling off in the ocean at one of Abu Dhabi’s luxury resorts, to visiting the Louvre Museum or checking out all the purpose-built entertainment complex at Yas Island, you will find plenty of fun things to do with kids in Abu Dhabi.
Read more below.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The unmistakable structure of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque sits at the gateway to Abu Dhabi island. With FREE entry, we suggest if possible to visit early in the day (from 9am) to beat the crowds and the heat.
If you have patient little listeners we’d recommend joining one of the free tours held at 10am, 11am and 5pm daily. Don’t miss visiting the Mausoleum on the outer side of the mosque where Sheikh Zayed is laid to rest and Imams read the Qur’an 24/7.
Please note respectful attire, robes for men and women are hired for free on site. Take a photo, of course, but be respectful of the surroundings; no big group selfies or explicit poses or security will send you marching.
On the scale of waterparks, this one is pretty spectacular. This Abu Dhabi waterpark is particularly popular with families as it has three different slide and splash areas designed specifically with little ones in mind. Rides are split into 4 different “thrill levels” so there should be something to suit everyone in the family. It’s the perfect way to cool off after a hot morning of sightseeing.
(Also, don’t forget to check out our favourite Yas Island hotels that include water park tickets in your stay.)
Warner Bros. World
Right next door to Yas Waterworld you will find Warner Bros World – pretty spectacular on the scale of theme parks and entirely indoors so a perfect break from the heat. Covering DC Comics heroes and villains through to Looney Toon favourites and the Flinstones, its a great theme park for all ages.
Ferrari World & the Yas Marina Circuit
Got a need for speed or seriously love your roller coasters? This is THE place for you! With the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, and much more, this is an adrenaline junkie’s heaven! For smaller visitors, there’s plenty of driving tracks, though recommended minimum height to get the most value out of a visit is 1.3m.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Track
If Ferrari World isn’t quite enough for your adrenaline, and you’re not here for Grand Prix weekend (late November), how about booking an actual lap of the GP track? There are various different test drive experiences you can take as either a passenger or driver, over 18’s only though.
If that’s not quite in your budget, there are open nights at the track every Sunday and Tuesday, where you can walk, run or cycle the track – and it’s FREE (there can be queues for the free bikes or pay approx. 50AED to hire a nicer one).
Abu Dhabi Beaches
If your accommodation does not include a beach frontage, make sure you squeeze in a trip to the water. There’s everything from luxury beach clubs, to beach chair hire at places like Saadiyat Bake and Yas Beach, or simply take in one of the free or very cheap public beaches (some parts of the Corniche charges a 10AED fee just to give you a little extra privacy and facilities).
If the Corniche beach feels too much (it can get particularly busy at weekends), the family beach in Al Bateen is a good alternative. It might not have the spectacular views, but it does have calm water and a play park next door for kids to run around.
There are quite a few boating options around the city from very sedate eco-donut boats to high-speed boats for a thrilling ride along the Corniche to see the city skyline.
Click here to book a 1-hour speedboat tour from Emirates Palace Marina (Note no under 5’s or pregnant ladies, kids tickets available for 5 to 15 years).
For those hoping for a more sedate pace but still wishing to see the city from a new angle, visit Eastern Mangroves. There’s a delightful little set of restaurants here and you can hire an eco boat or book a kayak tour to make your way around this serene protected area.
The other option we’d recommend suitable for children is a traditional dhow for a twilight cruise along the Corniche. Catch the amazing Abu Dhabi sunset across the water and watch the city light up at night.
Observation 300 is based in Etihad Towers (that’s the shiny block of 4 towers opposite Emirates Palace – made famous in the Fast & the Furious 7 movie). Enter through the Jumeirah Hotel reception and take the lift to the 74th floor for the most stunning views of the city. We especially love the view over Emirates Palace and the new Royal Palace.
It’s a great place to come for morning or afternoon tea with a great range of teas, coffees and cakes. It’s a civilised placed but well-behaved kiddies are more than welcome.
See how to advance book tickets here or there are pay at the door options that include a meal voucher with your ticket.
This isn’t just a meal between breakfast and lunch, its an institution! Held at most of the large hotels in the city on a Friday lunchtime, come and see how it works. Many have kid-friendly options that include separate buffets and children’s entertainers.
Come and see some of our favourites chosen by City Insider Keri
A trip to Abu Dhabi isn’t complete without visiting the desert! Get beyond the city boundaries and take an afternoon/evening safari, or even an overnight camping option to see the giant sand dunes of the Empty Quarter. Try your hand at dune bashing, quad biking, sand boarding or camel riding. Finish your evening with a traditional Bedouin style meal, henna painting, locally inspired music and perhaps even some belly dancing and shisha.
Many companies arrange door to door pick up services or with a set pick up point in town. Click here to read more about getting around Abu Dhabi.
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