I recently visited Dubai with my family - a trip filled with SO MUCH adventure, activities and fun. It was kindly sponsored by Dubai Tourism, who basically let us choose everything we wanted to do in Dubai. Here’s my take on the whole trip…
We flew there via Emirates Business Class, which was a great treat for the whole family. The in flight entertainment kept us all occupied for the majority of the flight, and the rest of the time was spent fully reclined and dozing away!
So we arrived in Dubai and checked into the Manzil Downtown Hotel. The first thing that hits you when you enter the hotel is the utterly gorgeous oud scent - I can’t even describe the scent other than to say it’s one of my fave oud fragrances to date. The staff were always friendly and accommodating. The hotel restaurant served all sorts of food and every morning we had a hearty breakfast, trying out new dishes.
Our first stop was Green Planet; this is an interactive indoor vertical rainforest, filled with all sorts of animals. Don’t worry - it’s only the birds that are generally free roaming! Leens and Hubsy opted to stroke a snake, and they both felt very brave afterwards! Hubs entered a bat cave and we all generally got to marvel at other animals and learn about them. The kids even enjoyed learning about insects - everything was fascinating to them! There was flora and fauna, and even the world’s largest artificial tree (I didn’t realise it was artificial until they pointed it out!). It didn’t feel like a museum or a zoo - it was a bit like a little fantasy land where you could really engage with all the wildlife.
We managed to fit in a visit to the Dubai Frame, which is an architectural landmark in Zabeel park. It’s 150 metres high, and you can catch a lift and go to the top. There, you get a view of “old Dubai” on one side and “new Dubai” on the other side. Down the middle of the room is a large pane of glass, where, if you walk along it, you can see all the way to the bottom! Very surreal.
The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we visited the Oli Oli Children’s Museum, which is an interactive children’s play museum. Here the kids (and, at time, adults!) enjoyed games and car building. The stimulating activities really got the kids engaged straight away, and I saw a diverse age of kids playing there. There’s really something for all kids to enjoy, from building to climbing to playing to colouring to splashing!
In the evening we went on the awesome Desert Safari where we rode a Land Rover, watched a Falcon Show, rode camels and ate dinner under the moon in tents! The company Platinum Heritage (who offer the Desert Safari and a few other activities) did a really great job in organising the safari and ensuring we got a well rounded experience of the desert. I particularly liked that the evening entertainment was a group of men doing a traditional dance and drum beats, as opposed to the typical belly dancing that I’d seen a million times before!
On day 3 we visited the Dubai Miracle Garden and WHAT a sight! Honestly, I was expecting a standard flower garden but my mind was blown at all the creative ways they’d managed to arrange the flowers. There were arches, objects, shapes, Disney characters and even just a sea of colourful flowers. Being surrounded by such beauty is so soothing! The flowers in full bloom, with their myriad colours and arrangements made us all constantly go “WOW!”. Can you guess how many flowers they’ve used in the whole Garden?…. 150 million!
We dropped by IMG, which is the world’s largest indoor theme park. Here they had various adventure zones such as Marvel and Cartoon Network. These had themed rides and other activities, just like a theme park. The space was HUGE! You forget you’re indoors and there’s plenty to do with restaurants available too.
That evening we visited the highly recommended Global Village. So many people told us we’d enjoy the Global Village and they were right! It’s the world’s leading multicultural festival park, showcasing areas dedicated to all the countries of the world! It was a great way to experience the taste of various cultures, loads of entertainment and to play games! There was so much to see and the Village is absolutely huge so we were kept occupied the whole evening. The atmosphere was fun yet relaxed and educational at the same time!
The next day we went on a SEAPLANE with Seawings! Woah, this was mind blowing, and definitely a tick on our bucket list! The whole family rode the seaplane on a tour with a bird’s eye view of the city and coastline. You really get to appreciate the whole of Dubai and the incredible structures they’ve built there. Some amazing views to see here. The whole trip was exciting and the plane landing was SO smooth!
We also got the chance to go to the top of the infamous Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa is a skyscraper that’s 800 metres tall. It’s the tallest manmade structure in the world… and we got to visit the top of it! Such a surreal view up there. The whole experience was very smooth and once at the top, we were served snacks and drinks as we gazed upon Dubai from that phenomenal height. The kids really enjoyed it and nobody got scared of the height! Also, it’s really cool how fast the elevator took us up to floor 148 in just over a minute! I recommend booking this way in advance as it gets really busy.
When we left the Burj Khalifa we went straight into Dubai Mall and decided to visit the Aquarium. This is a 10 million litre aquarium tank on the ground level of the Dubai Mall, where you get to see all the sealife in plain view. From sharks to fishes, rays and even a diver who was in there! It’s extraordinary and you can’t help but stare for ages at the beauty of the animals and the huge tank. It’s truly captivating and I highly recommend this for the whole family. The kids could hardly believe their eyes!
We also managed to spend the evening in Kidzania. Now this was an experience I wasn’t expecting at all! Kidzania is located inside Dubai Mall, on level 2. It’s a kids’ “edutainment” concept, which combines an educational approach to teaching kids some life skills and be entertained at the same time. Everything was well organised, tidy and the staff were super friendly. The kids were given fake “Kidzania money” and had the opportunity to “work” and earn some wages to go and spend in the store. It’s like a mini world, where kids rule. Great to keep the kids occupied all day with loads of activities, entertainment, rewards and plenty of laughter along the way.
On our last day in Dubai for me and my family, we had the opportunity to go on an epic Hero Boat ride. What a dream! The Hero Boat ride is where we become our own captains and ride our own boats whilst getting a tour of modern Dubai. We even held a jellyfish! I drove one boat and Hubsy drove the other one, with the kids behind us. Speeding through the water, viewing the open waters and being taken on this kind of tour totally exceeded my expectations. I cannot recommend it enough. Definitely one of my favourite moments of the trip.
Finally our last stop was the Atlantis Waterpark. What a great way to end our Dubai holiday. This is a water park with zip lines, slides, tunnels, splash areas and swimming pools. We rode on the rapids and Hubsy even went on the Leap of Faith slide, which he says is one of the scariest moments of his life… but a huge adrenaline rush! This was another favourite for the whole family, and nobody wanted to leave at closing time! The facilities were great, everything was clean and tidy, and there were plenty of activities to keep everyone having fun all the time.
All in all, it was honestly the trip of a lifetime. I’m so glad the kids got to make these memories and as a family we’ve shared some unforgettable moments. A big shoutout also has to go to Uber, which was the only way we got around Dubai. I’d only ever used Uber in the UK and to my surprise it was not only available in Dubai, but the service was excellent! Drivers were always on time, and the whole interaction was really smooth. Some of the cars even had Wifi! We later found out that UberOne is available there, which is a fleet of all electric cars and you could even get a Tesla! Ibraheem would’ve loved this. Maybe one for next time!