Just before Christmas, we were offered the opportunity to visit Dubai with My Dubai Tourism for 4 full days of family adventure. We hadn’t visited Dubai as a holiday destination before, so we were pumped to get on board and experience it.
Palazzo Versace accommodated our family of four in connecting suites during our whirlwind stay and literally looked after our every need. The staff were warm and welcoming and the daily buffet breakfast and general service was fabulous. The rooms were beyond comfortable and impeccably clean, while the service on entry and exit of the hotel was 5 star.
If you plan to visit Dubai with your family, and are looking to keep the kids entertained with activities that have something for everyone, here’s my top 6 musts:
Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark
Atlantis was definitely one of the highlights of our adventures in Dubai. With waterrides and adventures suitable for all ages, it’s such a fun way to cool down and make memories with the family. Aquaventure is the biggest of it’s kind in the Middle East and is known for the thrill seeking rides as well as the kid-friendly activities.
Expect to spend at least 4hrs here if you want to have a go on all the rides. If you’re into thrills, make sure you have a go on Leap of Faith & Poseidon’s Revenge! The rides requiring the floats generally have longer queuing time so do plan which rides you want to do in advance to avoid disappointment. We visited in winter season so the temps were totally bearable (27 C) and the queues were non existent. My kinda day.
Conveniently, you pay at the door so no need to queue up for tickets / coupons inside. There are also lockers just near the entrance to keep your belongings in, as well as towels to rent if need be, and very comfortable shower facilities.
The Lost Chambers
Located within the Atlantis complex is the popular aquarium, The Lost Chambers. The largest of its kind in the region (Dubai don’t do things small ;), a stroll through the majestic aquarium and you get to witness a large variety of beautiful sea creatures.
The aesthetic and display is truly beautiful, with an overall lovely ambience. It took us just an hour to walk through the aquarium and view the incredible range of sea life, including sharks, stingrays, piranhas, lobsters, and tiny seahorses. We visited right after our day at Aquaventure and found it was a really nice way to wrap up our day.
Platinum Heritage 4×4 Desert Tour
My first time in the desert and the Platinum Heritage Vintage Desert Tour did not disappoint. This is a must for all! We opted for a private tour with a knowledgeable operator in one of their signature classic vintage Land Rovers.
We were picked up at our hotel in the afternoon and were transferred to the Dubai desert for an hour of 4x 4 fun at sunset. We witnessed the desert and its magic, had time to take photos and to explore the desert on foot, and went on to experience their Bedouin Camp where we were entertained and dined on the most delicious rustic and tradition local food. A authentic and genuine experience. We loved every second of it.
LegoLand / Motion Gate – Dubai Parks and Resorts
For my son, Seb, our plan to include Legoland in our itinerary was the ultimate birthday present. Seb turned 9 in December so it was beautifully timed. We have a house full of lego creations so over time, we’ve all developed an interest in lego at some level, and were all sort of excited to take a trip to the land of lego.
And it was awesome. For lego fans, there is inspiration everywhere. Legoland is divided into sections; Miniland; Kingdoms; City and the Factory. We visited all most during our visit. We were seriously impressed with Miniland, where we viewed landmarks and cities as well as real-size animals – all made from lego. We saw mini versions of the Pyramids and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and a model version of Petra. Jordan / Petra was our next adventure after our visit to Dubai and the kids were fascinated with what was to come.
Each has something special and all include Legoland amusement rides. The most memorable was the rollercoaster in the Kingdom and the underwater Lego Submarine ride.
There are many options for activities within the theme park. The kids spent time splashing around in Legoland Waterpark, while we relaxed in the cabana. There are waterslides for children of all ages as well as a lazy river to float through. You could easily spend a few hours or more here, as you take a break from the heat.
If you’re interested, you can take a tour of the Lego Factory, where you learn how lego is made. If you’re keen to take some lego home with you, you have the opportunity to purchase sets or individual pieces / lego figurines with may rare and hard to find pieces available at the Lego Shop. As you could imagine, this was a highlight for my son.
We were so enthralled with all the activities in Legoland that we missed out on Motion Gate. We look forward to making a visit on our next stay in Dubai.
At the Top – Burj Khalifa
What’s a visit to Dubai without a visit to Burj Khalifa? Known as the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa is undoubtedly Dubai’s most popular attraction.
Before heading to the building itself to see the view from the top, we took a stroll round Dubai fountain / Dubai Mall / Souk al Bahar to take a look at the building with prime view from ground level. We loved this area of town and were able to capture this photo of the landmark building:
Now we were ready to experience the much-talked about view from the top.
The whole experience of “At the Top” is very well organised. Your entry allows for a tour operator, who guides you through the experience as you make your way up to the top floor of the building, though various walkways and lifts.
Once you’re at the top, you get a spectacular 360C view of Dubai city from the top of the world’s tallest building. We made our visit at sunset so it was all the more spectacular as we looked out on the view in soft warm light.
In the lead up to Christmas, we couldn’t think of a better way to get into the spirit than with a visit to Dubai Opera for the Jingle Bells show.
Dubai Opera is just a 5 minute walk from Dubai Fountain, one of our favourite areas in Dubai city. We planned the evening with an outdoor meal at Katsuya (delicious sushi) where we watched the Dubai Fountain show prior to attending the 7.30pm show. It was such a beautiful evening, we felt like it was a real treat for the whole family.
The Jingle Bells Favourites is in it’s third year running at Dubai Opera, and for good reason. With top notch entertainers, featuring The London Concert Orchestra Show Band and Capital Voices Choir, we were treated with many festive favourites such as Jingle Bell Rock, Frosty the Snowman, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Silent Night, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Let It Snow and many more.
The energy of the show was electric, full of singing and laughter – a fab way to end of four days of adventure in Dubai.
If you’re planning a trip abroad with your family, consider Dubai as more than a stopover. We were pleasantly surprised with the ease of travel, friendliness of the locals, and the many adventures available to us. You could easily stay for longer and include many more experiences to your list of things to do. I have my sights set on a helicopter tour and hot balloon ride for next time.
Safe travels xo