Family travel guide to an amazing Dubai experience

Dubai Mall Aquarium

One of the most challenging parts of overseas family vacations is engaging the children. Kids just want to have fun, loads of it. They want to return with plenty tales to tell their friends when school resumes. Parents on the other hand are concerned with finding the most suitable destinations in terms of whole family experience, safety and budget. Well, Dubai ticks all the boxes. From amazing blend of beaches, resorts, gardens, snow and desert, situated among breath-taking mega structures, the magnificent city offers fairy-tale experience for holidaying families. A recent visit to the just concluded Dubai Shopping Festival reveals the best destinations that will leave an unforgettable impression on children and parents alike.

Visiting Dubai during the annual Dubai Shopping Festival can be a great experience for the family. The month-long fiesta of sales, offers exclusive shopping experiences and extraordinary events for the whole family to enjoy. The last edition which saw millions of people hit Dubai’s malls to bag the latest bargains, brings together the best of Dubai’s retail offering, showcasing the top brands and shopping experiences from weekly flash sales, in-mall promotions and the opportunity to win amazing prizes from luxury cars and gold to cash at the daily raffles.

Organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), the 23rd edition of DSF featured an exciting array of entertainment, including spectacular fireworks shows and a range of free-to-attend family-oriented activities in malls, among others.

But aside the excitement of the yearly festival, Dubai also has some of the world’s best tourist destinations which cater to people of all ages. From the IMG Worlds of Adventure, an indoor amusement park to the Global Village, the world’s largest tourism, leisure, shopping and entertainment project. Throw in the newly commissioned architectural masterpiece, the Dubai Frame, and you are guaranteed a lifetime memory of an amazing holiday.

Global Village
The Global Village is the world’s largest tourism, leisure, shopping and entertainment project. It is the region’s first cultural, entertainment, family and shopping destination. Covering an area of 17,200,000 sq ft (1,600,000 m2), it welcomes over 5 million visitors every year. It features monstrous country-themed structures (or pavilions) of countries from around the globe.
Now in its 22nd season, it presents a new funfair area called Carnival, featuring 60 rides and more than 100 video games, infrastructure enhancements which include the Cultural Square and Global Village Boulevard.

IMG Worlds of Adventure
Great for children, and children at heart, the IMG Worlds of Adventure is an indoor amusement park, and Dubai’s first mega themed entertainment destination. The park is divided into four “epic zones”. Two of the four zones represent global brands Cartoon Network and Marvel, while IMG Boulevard and the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure zones are original concepts created by the IMG Group.
It is the largest temperature controlled indoor themed entertainment destination in the world, covering an area in excess of 1.5 million square feet. With the capacity to welcome more than 20,000 guests a day, the destination features roller-coasters, thrill rides, and other attractions based on popular Cartoon Network characters, iconic Marvel Super Heroes and animatronic dinosaurs.

Dubai Mall
With more than 1,200 shops, the Dubai Mall is the perfect place for family shopping. It is reputed to be the largest mall in the world by total area, the 21st largest shopping mall in the world by gross leasable area, and world’s second largest-ever mall opening in retail history behind West Edmonton Mall with about 1,000 retailers.
The mall has a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens plus 120 restaurants and cafes. Other major attractions include the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo which showcases more than 300 species of marine animals, including sharks and stingrays; Reel Cinemas, a 22-screen cinema, one of the largest theaters in the region, with megaplex that features four cinema suites and 17 commercial halls, including the first THX-certified cinema in Dubai.
While there, you can also explore the Rainforest Café which was made to emulate tropical ruins with moving ruins and light shows that can only be found at this location. There is also KidZania, an interactive children’s sized edutainment theme park that encourages education through play. It offers youngsters the opportunity to experience adult life through role play in a child-sized city.

Mall of the Emirates
Another amazing shopping destination for the entire family, the Mall of the Emirates is a multi-level shopping mall and currently features more than 630 retail outlets, 7,900 parking spaces, over 100 restaurants & Cafes, 80 luxury stores and 250 flagship stores. It also hosts family leisure activities including Ski Dubai (the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park), the 500-seat capacity Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre and Magic planet, one of the largest indoor family entertainment centres in Dubai.

Shops at the mall include a Carrefour hypermarket, Centrepoint, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols, Home Centre, Jashanmal and Marks & Spencer. The mall also offers over 100 restaurants and cafes including eight restaurants in the Fashion Dome.

Dubai Frame
Opened January 1 this year, the Dubai Frame is a 150 metres high and 93 metres wide architectural landmark in Zabeel Park, Dubai. This masterpiece has been described by The Guardian newspaper (UK) as “the biggest picture frame on the planet,” and “among the world’s best new attractions of 2017.” The location of the giant rectangular frame was carefully chosen to give visitors the best view of both the old and new Dubai. Built to resemble a huge picture frame, it gives visitors the perfect ‘bird’s eye view of the landmarks representing modern Dubai such as Emirates Towers and Burj Khalifa on one side, and older parts of the city such as Deira, Umm Harare and Karama from the other side. The concept takes the visitors to a journey through time on three different levels: old Dubai, present Dubai and future Dubai.

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