Luxurious Dubai may be famous for its opulent hotels, fine restaurants and designer stores, but that doesn't mean it's the preserve of adults. In fact, Dubai may just be one of the best destinations for family holidays there is. Its incredibly varied selection of kids' attractions have something to excite people of all ages - just take a look at our top ten.
Top 10 things to do with kids in Dubai
Wild Wadi Water Park
This water park is one of Dubai's original family attractions. Located just in front of the iconic Burj Al Arab, it's a sure-fire winner among children of all ages and big kids alike!
The park is themed around the tale of Juha, a popular character within Arabian folklore. Kids can get to know the story as they explore the park's amazing mix of water-themed rides, including slides and surf simulators for adventurous kids, and smaller, gentler attractions for little ones.
Older children will no doubt love the Jumeirah Sceirah, which features two tandem slides that plunge riders down 120 metres at an incredible 80 km/h!
Wild Wadi isn't the only waterpark that'll have your kids shrieking with joy in Dubai. Situated at Atlantis, The Palm, Aquaventure is another fun-filled destination where the whole family can relax and enjoy themselves. The scariest rides are open to adults and kids above 1.2 metres tall, and include the breathtaking Leap of Faith. However, there's plenty else for little visitors, and those who just want to relax.
For instance, the Splashers Children's Play Area is specially designed for smaller visitors, featuring little open and closed slides, water cannons, climbing frames and much more. Shark Safari, meanwhile, is a thrilling experience for all ages, giving parents and kids the chance to don a special helmet and explore the atmospheric Shark Lagoon. And those who fancy a spot of quiet relaxation? Recline on the 700-metre private beach.
Also at Atlantis, The Palm, Dolphin Bay is bound to enchant the whole family. Here, children and parents can meet beautiful dolphins, with the attraction offering a range of optional experiences to help everyone get to know this wonderfully friendly, intelligent mammal.
On the Dolphin Encounter, for instance, kids can wade into waist-high water to meet, touch and play one of the dolphins. Children of all ages are welcome, but under-12s should be accompanied by an adult. Alternatively, why not enjoy swimming with dolphins?
Dubai is home to some amazing beaches, but when it comes to somewhere that will prove popular with the whole family, Kite Beach is hard to beat. It offers all kinds of activities both on the sand and in the water, including beach tennis, kite surfing, volleyball and kayaking, and has all the facilities families could need, including toilets, changing areas and cafes. Kids, however, are bound to be most drawn to the skate park, outdoor trampolines and the chance to splash in the sea with mum and dad.
Dubai Ice Rink
The Dubai Mall is far more than just a shopping centre - and this is best demonstrated by the fact that it's home to its very own Olympic-sized ice rink! Open to all ages and abilities, Dubai Ice Rink is a brilliant place to get the whole family having a giggle together. And if anyone feels a little unsteady on their skates, there are Learn to Skate programmes you can take to get a few expert tips and boost your confidence. You'll be whizzing around together in no time! Older kids, meanwhile, are bound to love the disco sessions, where they can really show off their moves.
Also in the Dubai Mall, KidZania is a unique attraction that gives your children the opportunity to enjoy the biggest game of make-believe they're ever likely to play. KidZania is essentially a "made-up town" where kids can play at being grown-ups. They arrive at the "airport" with a boarding pass and a pocket full of KidZania currency before going out into the world to try some of more than 80 role-playing activities. They can explore the miniature streets, go to work as fire fighters, police officers, doctors or something else entirely, earn money (after just a few minutes of 'work'!) and then go on treat themselves with their earnings.
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Our next attraction is also in The Dubai Mall - and yet again, it's something quite different. The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is a fantastic place for families, home to all kinds of intriguing creatures - think huge crocodiles, mesmerising stingrays, toothsome sharks and much more. The huge aquarium is best seen through its walk-through tunnel, though you can actually see quite a lot from outside the attraction too! The Underwater Zoo is located above the aquarium, and its highlight is King Croc, a 5.1-metre long Australian crocodile that's 40 years old.
Is there a child in the world who doesn't love trampolines? Kids of all ages will adore BOUNCE Dubai, an indoor attraction filled with more than 100 interconnected trampolines where everyone can bounce to their heart's content. The free jumping area is huge, while there's also a giant inflatable airbag and slam dunk hoops for active older kids.
Little ones, meanwhile, can safely discover the joy of trampolining at miniBOUNCE, a specially designed programme for kids aged three to five. Offering plenty of fun games and activities to get younger children bouncing safely with confidence, it is oodles of fun that they're bound to want to try again and again.
This vast indoor theme park is one of the biggest in the region, and it's packed with attractions that game-loving kids will adore. Spanning two storeys, SEGA Republic has everything from a four-level soft play area for the smallest visitors to the thrilling Lazeraze laser maze for older kids looking for a challenge and a thrill. There are more than 170 amusement, arcade and video games across 14 individual attractions here, so expect your children to be completely occupied for the whole day.
The Mall of Dubai isn't the only shopping centre in Dubai to provide more than retail therapy; the Mall of the Emirates has plenty to offer too. This includes Ski Dubai, an indoor ski area that spans 22,500 square metres. In addition to skiing, this attraction has some great activities design especially with children in mind, including the chance to meet Ski Dubai's resident penguin population, toboggan slides, and a thrilling bobsled course.
So much to do on a family holiday to Dubai
Dubai has such a wealth of kids' attractions that these alone could guarantee a great family holiday - but they aren't the only things that make this destination stand out. Thanks to the emirate's range of luxurious hotels and selection of attractions that appeal to all ages, parents are bound to have just as much fun as the children - and shared experiences that everyone can enjoy (mums and dads included!) are the secret to the happiest family holidays.