An Auntie's Guide to Dubai with Kids |

An Auntie's Guide to Dubai with Kids

If you're an auntie yourself who's expecting family to come and visit soon, here's some tips and ideas to help plan their trip

Posted on

7 November 2016

Last updated on 14 January 2020
An Auntie's Guide to Dubai with Kids

As a Dubai-based Auntie with no kids, I was very excited to be welcoming my sister and her family to stay with us for a week in Dubai this October. This was their second visit so we’d done a lot of the usual Dubai things and I really wanted to up the ante this trip as the kids were now older... Aged 8, 10 and 13!

The Auntie's Guide to Dubai with Kids


Here’s where we took them, how they enjoyed it and other top tips to make sure your young guests have a fabulous time!

Top Auntie Tips

1. Don’t try and do too much in one day!
Dubai has so much to offer but you’d be surprised how long it takes little ones to take it all in and get max enjoyment out of it. Last trip I’d tried to cram 3 things a day in- big mistake! This time I planned one possibly two things in a day and it worked a treat!

2. Plan some down time.
Dubai is very fast paced and little ones may not be used to the pace of the city. They are happy enough just lazing around in your flat or villa as well as seeing all the amazing things on offer. They’re here to spend time with you so it doesn’t have to be jam-packed, full-action-adventure 24/7.

3. Don’t underestimate the heat effect.
To us residents, now is the time we really feel the weather cooling down. To my UK guests it was “boiling”! Factor 30-50 sun cream is essential, as is constant drip-feeding of water. Guests from other climates may not be used to drinking as much water as regularly as we do but they need to join in. I had the massive “auntie guilts” looking at some puffed out, red faces during this trip!

Dubai butterfly gardens expatwoman

4. Free things can be fun too!
Taking a party of 7 out to Dubai attractions can get expensive but I realized the kids were just as happy on the free beach, going for a walk or wandering around a mall as being at a water park. Not everyone’s budget can stretch to everything we actually did and with the exchange rates being quite tough at the moment the more we could do for free the better!

5. Don’t forget to feed them!
I can go all day on a piece of toast but had to remember to make regular pit stops for the little ‘uns! They really enjoyed the Lebanese spread we ordered from Cedar Tree- we ordered a selection of things for them to try the regional cuisine and they really loved that experience. Bananas and packets of Hula Hoops also saved the day on more than one occasion. Also they loved looking around our local Choitrams- that’s a great sort of free trip! Let them pick out their own produce of things they’ve not seen before.

6. Look for deals, discounts...
...offers, book in advance and save money, residents offers, vouchers- they can make a big difference to how many things you can do and save money for other treats. If you need a hand, here's a guide on how to fully experience Dubai on a budget.

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Top Auntie Trips

1. The Dubai Butterfly Garden- this one was a real hit!
We’d bought reduced priced entry tickets off for this attraction so it only cost us 35 AED each to get in (normal price 50 aed). I’d been once before and was really hoping the kids would enjoy it and “auntie win”, yes they did! We wandered through the 3 domes containing all different species of butterflies, ending up in the new stepped area which was really good fun. The butterflies came to us and we got to see some amazing specimens close up. It’s a really chilled place and excellent value. We spent a fun-filled 3 hours at this attraction.

Summary- definitely worth a visit, very calming and great price.

2. Al Qudra Lakes- exploring nature for free
I personally love the drive to Al Qudra Lakes and find the sight of the manmade lakes quite bizarre and unreal, so again was hoping they’d enjoy the trip. We headed towards Bab al Shams and stopped off at the small café next to the bike shop- you can’t miss it. We bought some ice creams and drinks from there and off-roaded a bit behind the shops to reach the duck pond that is on your left- it’s the first lake you come to and there is a rutted track up to it- so it’s not off- roading in soft sand- it’s a bit bumpy.

Al qudra lakes trip

The kids loved this as it was exciting and they had not believed me when I’d said there were loads of ducks and geese there. It was so funny when they had to back down! We parked by the lake and went for a wander around it seeing swans, geese, ducks and lots of other birds. If you then drive back to the main rutted road and head further into the desert, you’ll see more lakes on your right. We went for a drive around these and took some great photos and spent a very pleasant couple of hours here.

Summary- great trip, easy to do and best of all free (minus ice cream purchases).

3. Yacht Cruise- a bit of luxury on the high seas
We were going a bit more “Dubai” with this trip. Last time they visited we had done the Yellow Boats trip but they’d found it a bit hectic and they’d gotten really hot. So, this time I booked a 45 foot yacht for 2 hours for a private tour round the Marina and up to the Burj Al Arab. This was a much better option for the 7 of us and it had an indoors area in case the heat was too much.

Again, I’d bought a voucher for the My Dubai Cruises trip and it cost 899 AED for up to 15 people. So quite reasonable for a private experience! The yacht was really big, they provided water and juices and had life jackets for the kids. They really enjoyed the freedom that it was just us on the boat and it was a very special 2 hours. We got some great shots of us all with the Burj Al Arab and the Marina. We followed this up with a walk around the Marina to Pier 7 and had lunch at The Scene. We’d really worked up an appetite with the sea air and the walk and the kids really loved the food there!

Summary- a very special, luxurious and private trip that was enjoyed by all.

4. Aquaventure- water park hijinks
It has to be said that my sister is a bit nervous at waterparks and we’d gone to Wild Wadi on their last trip, this time it was the turn of Aquaventure. My sister was really nervous about this trip and we’d done a lot of planning in advance to make it less nerve wracking. We were also meeting my brother and his children at this attraction. The water parks can get quite full, it’s hard to spot your kids and it’s easy to end up on a scary ride by mistake! We’d each been assigned a child each, made sure the 2 less competent swimmers had life jackets and stayed with me and my sister and let the older more daring ones go off together.

Needless to say, the children absolutely loved it! This is one expensive day though… although there are some discounts if you are a UAE resident and book online in advance. We probably spent 2000 AED for the 6 of us, in total including entrance tickets, food, lockers and towels. We really “splashed” out but it was worth it for the sheer enjoyment the children had.

Summary- great place, tons of fun for everyone and you have to do one waterpark!

SEE ALSO: Enjoy all of Dubai with just 50 Dhs in your pocket

5. IMG Worlds of Adventure- thrills and spills time
This was one I’d had on the back burner and was possibly an either/ or with Aquaventure. However, they really wanted to do both and we had time so we went for it and I’m so glad we did. I’m not into rides at all and had already been and thought it was an ok place but I possibly wouldn’t go again. I’m so glad we did go as again all of us really enjoyed it. My husband came with us on this trip as he had the day off work so that meant 3 non- scaredy cats could go on the big rides and the rest of us could go on the gentle rides.

We went on a Thursday and it was really quiet- so would highly recommend a mid- week visit to avoid queues. We went on nearly everything and spent 4 hours there in total. It’s actually a really calming place as it’s so big and dark and not full of screams. It was one of the highlights of the trip. Again it adds up if you are a large party but IMG are doing 10% off online bookings in advance so we managed to take advantage of that, so we got in for 270 AED each.
The one really good thing about here is that food and drinks are really reasonably priced compared to other theme parks I’ve been to. A soft drink is 7 AED, pizza 35 AED are examples and they also have an Indian buffet for 95 AED all inclusive. Also, the merchandise is really reasonably priced as well- got a Hulk watch for 69 AED, souvenir photo for 100 AED.

Summary- really worth the trip, highly recommended and the kids and adults all really enjoyed it.

Family photo at dubai fountains burj khalifa

6. Dubai Mall- you can’t not go
I don’t think a trip to Dubai can be complete unless you visit Dubai Mall. There is so much to see and do here and it’s not just about the shopping. We did have a wander round some shops and we’d had a special request to visit Candylicious, no doubt due to the fact we’d watched Charlie & The Chocolate Factory that morning! We visited Dubai Dino and had a peak at the Aquarium (we’d been on a previous trip). The highlights were of course the Dubai Fountains and the new Burj Khalifa light show- they were totally amazing and a really fabulous end to a week of fun and adventure in Dubai.

Summary- this is a great way to end a trip to Dubai!


So, I hope you have found these tips and reviews of use and of help towards the next time you have visitors with kids coming to stay.

Written by EW's Gail