Despite the rather mild and lovely June we’ve been experiencing so far in the UAE, there’s no denying that summer is well and truly upon us.
This year marks my fourth summer in the UAE, and second as a family of three. Now, I have always rather enjoyed UAE summers – the steady pace, the excuse to ‘stay in and chill’, though, having experienced my first summer with a tot last year, I will hold my hands up and say…it’s hard!
It’s hard when you can’t just pop to the park or have a stroll round the block. It’s hard when you can’t spend hours at the beach or have lazy afternoons in the park. And it’s damn hard when your tot is quite literally climbing the walls (and chairs and tables and beds and sofas) of your apartment like a caged animal desperate to get out.
And don’t get me wrong with the title of this post – the Malls of ours are brilliant – I love them! But, ah, sometimes, just sometimes, you just can’t do the Malls…every…single…day. In a bid to save the sanity of UAE parents everywhere then, I thought I’d put together this little post highlighting a few alternative things to do in the UAE this summer…that are not the Mall!
- Arabia’s Wildlife Centre
Housing the world’s largest collection of arabian wildlife, Arabia’s Wildlife Centre in Sharjah is a brilliant family day out for adults and tots alike. From cheetahs, baboons, birds, lizards, gazelle and goats, the spot forms part of the broader Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife – a purpose-built centre for breeding the regionally endangered wildlife. You can easily spend a good three hours watching, spotting and learning about the beautiful animals protected there. And the best part? It’s all indoors (for us humans anyway)!
Location: Sharjah (see map)
Price: AED 30 per adult
*A small update – apparently it is closed through June for refurbishment. If you’re planning to visit through the rest of summer at all, best to call ahead.
- Bounce & Balls At The FC Dubai With #MamaMeets
We enjoyed a lovely little kick around at The FC Dubai in Al Quoz the other weekend! Organized by the lovely Kellie behind Mama Knows Dubai, Bounce & Balls is the summer series of the regular #MamaMeets coffee mornings. Hosted in the blissful air-conditioned sports centre in Al Quoz, the mornings are a perfect way for tots to blow off some of that steam by kicking footballs and bouncing on the inflatables, while Mums can chit-chat and relax over coffee.
Timing: Every Monday 8.30am – 9.55 am & 10 am to 11.30 am
Location: Al Quoz, off Interchange 3, 15A Street, Dubai
Price: AED 50 per child
- Splash n Play
It’s hard to be indoors all the time. I totally get it! Dubai’s newest waterpark is therefore a great place to cool down at during the summer months for an admission fee that doesn’t break the bank. Perfect for tots and older kids alike, Splash n Play features splash pads, water slides and a big water bucket to play in, while parents can either join in, or relax and cool off in the restaurant and juice bar.
Timing: Sun – Wed from 9am – 8pm, and 10pm on weekends
Location: Safa 2 Street No. 8a Villa 1. Jumeirah, Dubai
Price: AED 100 (weekday), AED 140 (weekend) *Adults free
- Baby Friendly Fitness
This one is definitely with Mums in mind – we need to blow off some steam sometimes too, right? Pure Fitness offers a range of baby-friendly exercise classes available for ladies of all fitness levels, pre or post-natal. Taking place at a variety of locations across Dubai, classes include BuggEfit, BuggEfit BootCamp, Pure R.I.P Mums, PURE Pilates and more.
Timing: Various – see timetable
Location: Various including Al Quoz, The Lakes, and Barsha Mall (refer to timetable)
Price: AED 60
- Art, Dance And Messy Play At Soul Art Center
With a variety of summer workshops available, Soul Art Center in Downtown Dubai offers some wonderfully creative ways to spark tots’ imaginations and keep them occupied over the summer months. From ‘Me And My Child’ dance, art, and messy play classes, there are some great opportunities to spend quality time together at this quirky little venue.
Timing: 10:00am – 10:00pm
Location: Downtown Dubai, The Residences 1, Ground Floor
Price: Varies depending on class (refer to website)
- Kids Stay Free At DoubleTree Ras Al Khaimah
Fancy escaping the city for a relaxing weekend? DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island is setting new standards for family staycations with its latest offer, where kids under the age of six can stay and dine for free – how amazing is that?! Located less than one hour from Dubai, it is the first resort to open on the prestigious Marjan Island – a cluster of four man-made islands set in an upscale area in Ras Al Khaimah near Al Hamra. Lush!
Location: Ras Al Khaimah
Price: Rates start at AED 700+ per night for adults. Children under six stay free
- Enroll At Cheeky Monkeys Summer Camp 2016
Keep your tots busy and engaged through the summer mornings at Cheeky Monkeys. Featuring arts & craft activities, little Einstein lessons, dance classes, cooking classes, and messy play, there is something fun to put a smile on everyone’s face. The camps are also inclusive of one hour’s free soft play. See what I thought to the place here!
Timing: Weekdays 9:00am – 1:00pm
Location: Various – Barsha, Mirdif, JBR, Umm Sequim, Ras Al Khaimah
Price: AED125 per day, AED525 per week and AED1000 per 2 weeks
- If All Else Fails? Netflix!
Okay okay I hold my hands up! Despite the above suggestions, it’s hard to keep the tots entertained all the time, particularly if you’re on a budget. The parenting police are going to be all over me for this one, but when all else fails and you need a break, just pop on an episode (or ten) of Peppa Pig and be done! I’m sure most of you now know that the streaming service, Netflix, is now available in the Middle East? Two words – its fab!
Price: $7.99 per month (free for the first month)
If you have any suggestions to share, do pop them in the comments below for others to read x