Abu Dhabi’s best indoor activities for Kids – Summer 2017

Ideas to keep your cool – and your sanity – in the Abu Dhabi summer months

Abu Dhabi's best ideas for summer activities indoors

Ramadan has started, the sunglasses are fogging up and the kids are getting cranky… summer must be on its way in Abu Dhabi.

To a point, you can still take advantage of outdoor escapes at many of Abu Dhabi’s beautiful beaches like the Corniche, Saadiyat Beach, Yas Beach and al Bateen Family Beach.  And there are many ways to get wet at the likes of Yas Waterworld, Murjan Splash Park and variously little splash park spots around the city.

But then there is summer.  

Those blistering hot days from June to September where the mere idea of setting foot outside your house breaks you into a sweat.

OK, so summer might not be the best time to live in or visit Abu Dhabi…. BUT….. this doesn’t mean it’s not still an incredibly family-friendly place to visit.  As it’s low season, you can be spoilt for choice at really decent prices on luxury hotels and indoor place spaces.  And no, not all boring soft plays!!!!

Read on to Discover:

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi


Top 5 active indoor escapes for kids in Abu Dhabi

1. Bounce ME

Bounce Abu Dhabi | Best Indoor Activities for Kids Abu Dhabi

The Australian free Jump revolution has excitingly hit Abu Dhabi!  This immensely popular indoor attraction allows kids to not only practice their trampolining skills but participate in dodge ball games, throw themselves on the giant pillow, down giant slides and for the brave, test their zip lining skills or the quick drop. Children should ideally be aged 3 and up and toilet trained, but by our experience will get more out of it from 5 years+.  Guaranteed good nights sleep after this one, I promise!

You pay by the hour with groups changing over on the hour (except Ramadan see below).

They are also the Birthday party hosts extraordinaire! I challenge that there’s hardly a parent in Abu Dhabi who I haven’t bumped into here!  Parties provide an hour of play with your party host, followed by snacks and cakes in their dedicated party zone, what more could a kid ask for?  Here’s our Master L enjoying his 5th birthday celebration with the team from Bounce Abu Dhabi.

Bounce Abu Dhabi Opening Hours & Cost

Level 1, Marina Mall Abu Dhabi

Sat to Wed: 10am to 10pm
Thu to Fri: 10am to 12am

General Access (>110cm) AED80; Mini Bounce and Junior Jumpers (<110cm) AED70 per session. Multipass tickets available.

Ramadan & Summer Specials 2017

Sat to Wed: 10am to 1am (next day)
Thu to Fri: 10am to 2am (next day)

Unlimited Access Passes for all of Ramadan; Standard AED299; Premium (includes zip line, quick drop and slide) AED499

Note food outlets closed during daytime hours for Ramadan

See full details & terms and conditions on their website


2. Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ

Adventure HQ at Dalma Mall | Indoor activities for kids in Abu Dhabi

This is the spot for your little adrenaline seekers to test themselves and try out new skills in a safe and fully supervised indoor environment. Originally set up as a retail store for all your outdoor needs, they added the Adventure Zone as something to set them apart – that they have and now families flock to their stores for all the extra activities (while you guessed it, the waiting parents browse in the stores!).

In Abu Dhabi, there are two branches in Yas Mall and Dalma Mall.  They each have their own unique setup of adventure activities for kids, so it really is worth checking them both out.

  • At Dalma there’s five adventure zones to choose from – the boulder wall, skate park, pump track, trampolines and cable climb.
  • At Yas there is a high ropes course, low ropes course, climbing pinnacle, boulder wall, caving, and zip line.

Each venue also has “The Lodge” catering for kids parties.

After some initial tears, I was so surprised by how well the Globetrotters have taken to the activities on offer.  They are still too short to participate in some (the cable climb and high ropes courses have height limits over 120cm).  The rock climbing and abseiling have been huge confidence builders for the kids, and they work up a real sweat, even in the indoor air conditioning!

Some of the activities even the tiniest of tots can join in like the caving and climbing (from 90cm).  For this reason, no age limits are set but some attractions have height & weight limits.  I would suggest waiting until they’re 3 years old and can listen patiently to instructions, but you judge what’s right for your child.

Adventure Zone Abu Dhabi Opening Hours & Costs

You pay AED65 per 30-minute sessions for each activity.  You can have multiple sessions at once and pay a discounted price, plus multi-passes are available.

Dalma Mall location – Level 2 (near to cinema end)

Sat to Wed: 10am to 10pm
Thu to Fri: 10am to midnight

Ramadan Timings: Everyday: 2 pm to 1 am

Yas Mall Location – Level 2 (right in the centre, next to the Apple store)

Sat to Wed: 10am to 10pm
Thu to Fri: 10am to midnight

Ramadan Timings: Everyday: 2 pm to 12 midnight

2-4-1 passes available at Dalma Branch using the Entertainer – Click here to purchase at 10% off! (GLOBETROTTERS10)

Ramadan & Summer Specials 2017

Summer Membership are available for early bird purchase up to 21 June for AED360 – giving 30 days of unlimited access Sunday through Wednesdays. (Full pricing after this time TBC).

Discovery Sports are running a Summer Camp at the Yas Mall location

  • Every Sunday – Thursday
  • Starting 25th June
  • 8:30am – 2:00pm
  • Bring your own packed lunch
  • Ages from 4 upwards – Children grouped with same age/ability each day

Camp is AED 200 for the day or AED 800 for the week.  Depending on age and height children get access to every activity in the Adventure Zone (Caving, Rock Climbing, High Ropes, Zip Wire and Low ropes).  They will also take part in multi sports like dodgeball, tag, football and arts and crafts activities tailored to their specific age (signing the Globetrotters up now!)

See full terms on the Adventure HQ website


3. Little World Fun Discovery Center

Little World Discovery Center | Indoor activities for kids in Abu Dhabi

Have you every heard the term Edutainment?  In Abu Dhabi language it’s a new way of saying we offer far more interactive experiences for kids than just dump and run soft play!

And Little World, based in the Nation Galleria Mall at Nation Towers on the Corniche is definitely no ordinary soft play.  It really does live up to its name as a discovery centre; there’s no boring, same-old concepts here.   If your kids want to get physical, creative and mentally challenged (or if you’ve got kids that like a mixture of these things), you’ve found your place.

With more than a dozen zones, it’s easy to move from one activity to the next.  The Enchanted Tree House dominates the centre of the room and gives kids a great active start, as does the backyard. It’s brilliant to see what catches their eye next as they jump from one activity station to the next.  The theatre seems very popular, as is the water exploration and creation station.

Most of the activities seem engaging enough to include slightly older school age children too – often play centres seem over focused on the under 7’s crowd. Their focus on computer science and innovation station is great.  For the younger audience, there’s plenty more to choose from with the tot spot, builders zone and touch tank popular.

Children 0-3 years must come with a carers, while children 4 and over can be left in a safe supervised environment (This is a great one if you are staying on the Corniche or at the St Regis) The coffee shop upstairs also gets a top billing from parents! (Closed daytime Ramadan).

Little World Fun Discover Center Opening Hours & Cost

Level 1, National Galleria

Sun to Wed: 10am to 10pm
Thu to Sat: 10am to midnight

AED95 per hour for non-members for children over the age of 2.  Membership rates and specials apply.

Ramadan & Summer Specials 2017

Offering a Ramadan Camp for kids 4 to 10 years old who are finishing school early.

  • Runs May 28 to June 22, 2017.
  • Sun to Thu 2-5pm
  • Price: 1 day AED180 | 1 week AED900 | 2 weeks AED1,800 | 3 weeks AED2, 700

They are also offering two different and really unique summer camps:

Option 1: Destination Discovery – A Science Safari at Little World this summer

A weekly themed STEM curriculum led by early years and primary qualified teachers.

  • Starting June 22nd to Sept 8th
  • Sun to Thur 10am-2pm
  • Age 4-10
  • Price: 1 Day AED250 | 1 Week 1150AED | 2 Weeks AED 2100 | 3 Weeks AED 2700. 15% sibling discount 

Option 2: MineCraft Tech Revolution – a Computer Explorers UAE Summer Camp

Delivered by Computer Explorers UAE for your tech-savvy kids. Hands-on engineering projects and lots of physical and practical challenges.

  • Starting June 22nd to Sept 8th.
  • Sun – Thur 10am-2pm
  • Age 6-14
  • Price: 1 Day AED250 | 1 Week 1150AED | 2 Weeks AED 2100 | 3 Weeks AED 2700. 15% sibling discount

Learn more about Little World


4. Orange Wheels

Ornage Wheels Play Center Al Whada Mall ~ Indoor activities for kids in Abu Dhabi

Some might consider this in the soft play category, but we really think it has the edge over many of the others.

Bright, colourful and clean come to mind and a real variety of activities so you can please children of multiple age groups.  Your older, more physical kids can enjoy the climbing wall, while there’s plenty of space for the more creative in their art section.  There is, of course, a huge soft play area set over multiple levels with spiral slides, an obstacle course and trampoline.  Smaller bubs will like the dedicated under 5’s play area and O-Town Role play, one of the better ones I’ve seen.

Ideally, Orange Wheels caters up to 10 years (all children must be supervised, they no longer offer a drop and shop option). Older kids might like the newly opened sister centre Orange Spin – with bowling, laser tag and a huge variety of simulators and teen/tween themed games.

They are also home to classes for ballet, karate, music and language courses (term time) and another popular spot for birthday parties.

Orange Wheels Abu Dhabi Opening Hours

Ground Floor Al Wadha Mall extension

(A slightly tricky one to find! You need to first come to level 1 in the extension to get down to level G, or enter from the ground floor car park extension)

Sun to Wed: 10 am to 9 pm
Thu to Sat: 10 am to 10 pm

Ramadan & Summer Specials 2017

Summer Camp will run from 10 July to 25 August from 9 am to 3 pm (Pricing TBC).

Special pricing structure for Ramadan & Summer

  • First Hour: AED 60
  • Succeeding Hour: AED 40
  • Baby Rate for (3 hours) 18 months below: AED 35

Inquire directly with Orange Wheels for further pricing & entry information


5. My Works at Fun Works Yas Mall

Mini Works - Fun Works Yas Mall | Abu Dhabi's best indoor activities for kids

One of the more extensive that I would classify in the “soft play category”.  What sets this one apart though is the extensive My Works, as well as your normal soft play. My Works consists of 10 hands-on areas including bake works, car works, energy works, build works, art works and recycle works.  I think this one works best when you can get a little group of friends together.

Fun Works itself at Yas Mall is a massive complex.  There is the giant multi-level Wizz Works soft play section, as well as Mini Works for the under 3’s.  My only criticism of the soft play here  (though this can be true of many) is that the Mini Works and Wizz Works are on completely different levels, this makes it hard if you’ve got tots and bigger kids to keep everyone happy and be in two places at once.   It does have the advantage of feeling much more spacious and less claustrophobic than some of the others.

Being attached to Yas Mall is also rather handy too. I find it far more light and spacious than many of the other Malls, and there are loads of free activities and giant toy shops in the Mall too that can help pass those long summer days.

Fun Works Yas Mall Opening Hours

Level 1, Yas Mall (Cinema Entrance – next to food court)

Daily 10 am to midnight

Ramadan & Summer Specials 2017

Enjoy “Funday Monday” – every Monday all rides and blue swiper games are just AED 1.

Newly launched is their “100 Days of Play Membership” for AED99 – basically, you get 100 days of play at Play Zone and Mini Works as well as the Fun and Learn centres across all Fun City, Fun Works and Fun Ville in Abu Dhabi. Brilliant value if you are in for a long summer.

Power cards and My Works 2-4-1 offers are on the Entertainer – click here to purchase at a discount (GLOBETROTTERS10)

15 important facts to know before visiting the UAE


Best of the Rest, Theme Parks & Kids Summer Camp ideas

Finding just 5 ideas was extremely tough; Gone are the days where a mass summer exodus of families is expected and everything in Abu Dhabi simply shuts down.  There are plenty of places still open and fighting for some family attention across the city.

Here’s a sample of what else you can expect indoors.

Theme Parks

As a one off treat, don’t rule theme parks out of the summer itinerary.  The obvious choice in Abu Dhabi is Ferrari World. The world’s first entirely indoor theme park attached to Yas Mall, this is the perfect place for your older primary kids and teens.  Younger ones may still enjoy it but there are height restrictions that might see them missing out on a fair bit of the action.

(See this guide we wrote for British Mums comparing the UAE’s top theme parks and height restrictions).

During Ramadan and including Eid Ferrari World have a special to enter free on a Thursday to Saturday night and only pay as you go for rides, or buy deeply discounted general entrance tickets – see the Ferrari World website for details.  Note: Formula Rossa (world’s fastest coaster) closed for maintenance until 17 June 2017. Limited food and beverages outlets open during Ramadan  

BUY FERRARI WORLD TICKETS

BUY COMBINED FERRARI WORLD / YAS WATERPARK TICKETS

2-4-1 vouchers are also available with the Entertainer – Click here to buy with our discount  (GLOBETROTTERS10)

Dubai Parks & Resorts – Although technically over the border in Dubai, the Dubai Parks & Resorts complex is still within an hours drive for most in Abu Dhabi.   I’d include Motiongate as a day trip idea.  The Dreamworks attractions are entirely inside in the air conditioning including Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and the newly opened Dragons attractions.  You can expect queue-free non-stop riding as a plus, however, the downside really is getting there. From the car park, it’s quite an epic transfer by transit tram to get to the parks themselves then a walk to the entrances, not shaded.  I can’t imagine doing this over 40c is any fun at all with young kids… (but we’re going to give it a try!)

A few of you have asked about Legoland Dubai in the summer too.  In my personal opinion, not enough of Legoland is indoors to make this a comfortable all-round experience. Whilst the individual attractions may be inside, the walk between rides is mostly outdoors and I’m imagining a lot of rides simply too hot to even touch in the summer heat.  Legoland Dubai Water Park next door though may still be bearable out of the peak heat of the day – but as mentioned above its the epic trek from the car park that would put me off (and it’s not indoors so doens’ty make this list!)

Read our guides to Legoland Dubai and Legoland Dubai Water Park

Dubai Parks & Resorts are now on the Entertainer!  Download the 2-4-1 specials here with our discount code (GLOBETROTTERS10)

Legoland Dubai - Partley inside but not enough to beat the heat
Legoland Dubai – Partly inside but not enough to beat the heat in summer

Summer Camps

The good news and saviour for many working parents in Abu Dhabi is Summer Camps. You will find almost all nurseries will remain open for at least part of the summer to cater to the 0-4 age audience at least 5-6 hours a day (and these are open to all kids, even if you don’t normally attend term time).  But what about older kids?

I have asked some fellow Abu Dhabi mums for guidance on this one and what a great list of suggestions we got back.  As well as those venues detailed above in our top 5, there are recommended summer camps at:

Art Class at the Bulb ~ Indoor activities in Abu Dhabi
Our Miss Z loves art classes at The Bulb
  • Zayed Sports City – varied sports program – Airport Road
  • The Bulb – art classes and STEM programs – Al Rayyana Community Center
  • Mathnasium – Educational Program – Khalifa City
  • The Club –  (members & friends) – Mina Port
  • My First Gym – Fitness focus from babies to 13 years  – Delma Street, City
  • Hallabolou – Education & STEAM programs varied by week – Marina Village

Soft Plays

Whether you love it or loathe it, there comes a point where you will probably need to give in to soft play areas if you’re here all summer.  These will usually involve some sort of climbing frame, role play area, baby ball pit and at the larger ones, video games and more extreme fairground type rides.

Some of the nicer ones (in our humble opinion) more aligned to the edutainment category and a bit more bang for your buck with extra activities and a pleasant setting are:

And if the 4 walls of your house are starting to close in on you, you can try one of the larger chain soft plays;

Most of these work on either a play by the hour basis, or for rides and other attractions a pre-paid card is needed (which invariable never has enough credit left on it when you need it and is non-transferable to other branches, or you bring the wrong card and have to pay again).

keep-calm-its-only-summer-2 | BabyGlobetrotters.Ne


Other ways to beat the heat in the UAE

A couple of years ago I put together this guide for desert dwelling parents to help keep your sanity when it’s scorching outside  – including how to structure your day, where to find other parents and activities that are on around town, particularly for younger children.  A good source of information for older children particularly is Yalla Abu Dhabi.   You can pick up their guide in most schools and malls as well as their online directory.

Drop in play groups and other kids classes that run over summerMusic Monkeys | Expat Entrepreneurs | OurGlobetrotters.Com

  • Volunteer group Abu Dhabi Mums, run for from the first floor of the club house at The Dome, Al Rawdat still have daily morning play group “mix & match” on the schedule (20AED drop in rate).
  • Zayed Sports City offers the likes of ten pin bowling and Ice Skating [Use Entertainer 2-4-1]
  • Various swim academies are running summer intensive weeks, and our favourite kids music classes Music Monkeys will continue with summer programs targeted at the 0-4 age group.

Have we missed any of your favourites? How do you look to fill your summer days in Abu Dhabi? 

First time with baby in the heat? Read our guide to dealing with summer heat & babies


More UAE ideas?

We’ve got a bunch of them!  Check out our dedicated section of the blog Discover the UAE. Here we cover;

And so much more!  Subscribe to our newsletter for latest stories from the UAE, Middle East and around the world – with kids!!!

100+ family things to do in the UAE - a suggestion list covering all 7 Emirates of activites and attractions appropriate to families

Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary birthday party access to Bounce but are also regular paying customers. All other attractions we have paid for ourselves or have been invitees to functions held at the venues. We have not been paid by any of the places mentioned to provide an opinion. All reviews, as always are our own.  We are an affiliate for the Entertainer and Get Your Guide ticketing services.

All information correct at time of publishing in June 2017, but please check with the individual venues before visiting.

© Our Globetrotters

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