Things to do with kids in Abu Dhabi

Must-see fun Abu Dhabi sights with kids

The capital of the UAE is a luxurious getaway for you and the family. You’ll never be stuck wondering what to do in Abu Dhabi with kids. The exciting Ferrari World theme park and spotting wildlife are just a few fun activities.

  1. Discover the thrilling Ferrari World theme park
  2. Have a splash at Yas Waterworld
  3. Enjoy a shopping spree in downtown Abu Dhabi
  4. Visit the Galleria shopping mall and its surrounding area
  5. Head to the beach and spot wildlife
  6. Have a night under the stars on a desert safari

Take a look at our excellent Abu Dhabi holidays and be inspired to visit this ever-changing land. Kids will love you for the fantastic shopping opportunities and the pristine beach that are all on offer here.

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Rough Guides

1. Discover the thrilling Ferrari World theme park

If you fancy a bit of Formula 1 action with the family, head to the jaw-droppingly huge Ferrari World theme park . Allegedly the world’s largest indoor theme park (and occupying what looks like a vast red spaceship that’s recently crash-landed), this offers a range of rides for hard-core adrenaline junkies and dedicated tifosi. Other attractions on the island include the Kyle Phillips-designed Yas Links golf course.

Best for: Car enthusiasts

While you’re there: If you’re looking for some real adrenaline, take a ride on the Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster. It’s top speed is close to 150 mph.

2. Have a splash at Yas Waterworld

Head to Yas waterworld for some family fun. There’s a huge collection of attractions with over forty rides and slides to choose from. There’s a whole host of other attractions for all ages and swimming abilities, from the gentle Tot’s Playground through to the stomach-churning Jebel Drop water slide.

Best for: A water splash

While you’re there: Don’t miss getting a souvenir in the many gift shops on-site.

3. Enjoy a shopping spree in downtown Abu Dhabi

The area immediately east of Sheikh Rashid Street (2nd Street) is the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi, and where you’ll find the city’s liveliest street life and densest concentration of cafés and shops. The parallel Hamdan Street and Sheikh Zayed the First Street are the two major thoroughfares, each lined with identikit office blocks stacked tightly together like Lego bricks. Just south of the latter lies the Madinat Zayed Gold Centre , Abu Dhabi’s low-key equivalent to Dubai’s Gold Souk, with two floors of shops selling traditional and contemporary jewellery. Older kids will love browsing (or window shopping!) for a souvenir here.

Best for: City shopping

While you’re there: Head to Burnout Café if you’re feeling well, burnout, and need a pitstop.

4. Visit the Galleria shopping mall and its surrounding area

Immediately beyond downtown, on the far side of a narrow sea inlet, a cluster of dramatic skyscrapers announces the city’s financial district, Al Maryah Island. Abu Dhabi’s biggest and most futuristic urban development, the island is home to a modest crop of wacky skyscrapers. One of the area’s features is the very chic Galleria shopping mall (looking like some kind of postmodern armadillo) which swoops down to water level. There are plenty of kids clothes shops here and play areas to keep kids entertained in the mall.There is an attractive pedestrianized promenade, dotted with cafés and restaurants, and stretches down along the water to the quirky Cleveland Clinic building, resembling a pile of haphazardly piled transparent Lego bricks.

Best for: Shopping mall

While you’re there: There are plenty of places to eat inside the mall, so you can really make a day of it here

5. Head to the beach and spot wildlife

One of the chain of islands running between downtown Abu Dhabi and the mainland, Saadiyat Island (“Island of Happiness”) is poised to become the twenty-first-century jewel in Abu Dhabi’s cultural crown. One of Saadiyat’s draws is the Saadiyat Public Beach, a beautiful blue-flag, lifeguard-patrolled beach, with a gorgeous swathe of fine white sand and facilities including toilets, showers and the Bake bistro kiosk. Enjoying a day on the beach is one of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids. The protected dunes backing the sands support a delicate ecosystem whose vegetation survives on the ultimate slimmer’s diet of atmospheric moisture and coastal fog, as well as providing a nesting site for green and hawksbill turtles (mainly April to July) and local and migratory birds which kids will love to point out. Reptiles and mammals ranging from gerbils to gazelles can also be found here, while Indo-Pacific humpback and bottlenose dolphins can occasionally be seen in the waters offshore. Spotting the animals here provides a great thrill for kids and is one of the best things to do with children in Abu Dhabi.

Best for: Outdoor fun

While you’re there: Have a family round of golf on the Saadiyat Public Beach.

6. Have a night under the stars on a desert safari

Nearby Dubai has a haven of attractions for kids. One thing that virtually every visitor to Dubai does at some point is go on a desert safari. The main attraction of these trips is the chance to see some of the desert scenery surrounding the city. The vast majority of visitors opt for one of the endlessly popular half-day safaris (also known as “sunset safaris”). These are offered by every tour operator in town and cost from around 175dh up to 375dh. Whoever you decide to go with, the basic ingredients remain the same. More expensive tours will also generally offer superior service, better-quality food and a wider range of entertainment at their “Bedouin camps”. Kids will love having a magical night under the desert sky and the stars.

Best for: Adventure

While you’re there: Why not be even more adventurous and try sand-skiing?

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