Ideas for keeping toddlers to teens entertained indoors in Abu Dhabi on those hot or rainy days!
Abu Dhabi, UAE, is amongst the hottest cities in the world, so it should be no surprise that there are plenty of indoor kids activities in Abu Dhabi to help you keep your cool with the kids in the summer months – and you better believe it can rain in winter!
We have been searching out all the most kid-friendly ideas to keep you busy indoors in Abu Dhabi. We’ve broken them down into a few categories so you can easily find what you’re looking for:
Click on the map to find Abu Dhabi indoor activities for kids, or keep reading to find out more!
Don’t forget to check out what’s happening indoors down the road – another huge list here of 75+ Dubai indoor activities for kids
Keeping Active – Indoor Sporting Activities in Abu Dhabi
Bounce Marina Mall
Found in Marina Mall, this top-rated indoor entertainment centre allows kids to practice their trampolining skills, join a dodgeball game or try the giant slide. You can also add ziplining or the quick drop or join in with the X-Park obstacle course activities.
Starting from 3+ years old, discounted rates and restricted areas apply to junior bouncers under 110cm. Multipass tickets are available and discounted during subsequent hours. For X-Park entry, you must be over 125cm.
Air Maniax is Abu Dhabi’s largest indoor inflatable play park. Two branches can be found in the capital at Marina Mall and Yas Mall. Kids can enjoy an inflatable arena, warrior assault course, ninja warrior course, Meltdown and Zip Zag ride.
Added to this is a multi-sports area, donut ride and a toddlers-only area for the little ones.
The minimum height for the main Inflatable Arena and Zip Zag is 94cm, while the minimum height for Meltdown, Extreme Slide and Warrior Assault is 107cm. Family passes are available, as well as all-day passes for truly wearing the kids out indoors!
Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ, Dalma Mall
If you’re looking for something to do with super active kids who are starting to bounce off the walls, look no further than Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ at Dalma Mall. There is an excellent ropes course, a trampoline zone, a skate park and a pump track.
You can pay by 30 minutes, 60 minutes and 90-minute blocks, with each activity lasting half an hour, fully supervised by their staff. Deals are available on Groupon and The Entertainer. Suitable from 4+
Zayed Sports City
This multi-use recreation facility, near the Grand Mosque end of Abu Dhabi Island, has plenty of action going on throughout the year, making it one of the best locations for kids’ activities in Abu Dhabi.
Summer favourites at ZSC include the giant Bowling Centre – which also includes an amusement arcade – and the ice skating rink. ZSC often rund a summer camp program for kids too.
Plenty more indoor sporting action can be found at Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Khalifa City. There are indoor horse riding lessons at the Equestrian Center, catering to all ages and abilities.
For your older kids with an eye for detail, the shooting range offers beginner lessons in 22″ Rifle and clay Shotgun kids, or try the VirTra300 Simulator, all starting from age 12.
Action Zone Jump Up!
Bouncing good fun at three venues in Shams Boutik Mall – Reem Island, WTC Mall on the Corniche and Capital Mall in MBZ. You will also find the usual array of arcade-style games at the Action Zone venues and VR games. Suitable for 3+ years old.
Packed full of jumping and climbing fun, you will find Xtreme Zone in two locations Abu Dubai Mall and The Galleria.
The branches are a little different, with bowling, billiards and bouncing found at The Galleria, whilst the centre in Abu Dhabi Mall includes climbing walls, trampolines and a Phaser Zone.
Learn more at xtremezoneme.com – (Website currently under maintenance -for further details, check with the Malls directly.)
One for your good old fashion roller skaters! As well as operating from Dalma Mall, they have another branch in the basement of Al Wadha Mall extension. There are training sessions on offer as well as a drop-in rate, pay for the half-hour or hour. Gear can be hired.
Crazy Car for kids
Found in Dalma Mall, Deerfields Mall and Bawabat al Sharq Mall these mini go-kart courses are great indoor fun for when the outdoor track at Yas is simply too hot to handle
A brand new indoor park featuring a variety of different activities, rides and experiences. From exploring caves to climbing walls to fun fair rides, rope courses, net mazes and soft play, there’s something for kids of all ages. Located in the Al Qana development.
Edutainment, Pretend Play & Kids Classes in Abu Dhabi
National Geographic Ultimate Explorer
Far more than just a retail store, Nat Geo in Galleria Mall, Al Maryah Island, includes an immersive family experience. You can shuttle off to space at Space Jump (12 years+), program a robot drilling on Mars and chat to a panda on Critter Cam.
All this is made possible through a unique blend of virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D technology and immersive play-based learning experiences.
Little World Fun Discovery Center
One of Abu Dhabi’s best indoor exploration centres for kids. The staff are highly engaged with the children following fairly structured activities through various “Zones,” though the kids are also free to switch activity zones as they please.
The highlight for many is the enchanted tree and backyard, the touch pool and tech lab get a lot of attention too. Your creatives will love the art zone and theatre stage.
Found in Nation Galleria, in Nation Towers on the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Under 4’s require supervising while your 4 to 10-year-olds can be left supervised.
Orange Wheels in Al Wadha Mall extension, ground floor, is a complete mixed bag of family entertainment. From the entrance, it looks like a giant soft play structure, but delve inside, you will find plenty more activities, including pretend play activities, a creative arts section, and a gym and beauty salon.
For smaller kids, there’s a dedicated under 5’s Junior Play section, whilst older kids can try out the climbing walls. There is a great little cafe for mums and dads to take a break too.
The newer branch of Orange Wheels at Al Raha Mall is a fantastic place to take preschoolers and younger children. There is an imaginative play zone with little houses allowing for all sorts of make-believe play as well as a soft play climbing area suitable for under 8s.
There is also a well-appointed cafe next to the baby soft zone in the Al Raha Mall branch where parents and carers can indulge in a variety of drinks and snacks whilst still being able to see their little ones.
This is a lovely little play centre in the Galleria Mall offering babysitting as well as the opportunity to stay and play with your kids. There is a wonderful make-believe village as well as a big soft play climbing frame and foam pit.
Crafty kids can get arty in the art and craft area and there is also a selection of smaller toys to play with. There’s also a nice little cafe with lots of tempting treats for both children and adults.
There’s also a separate play area for babies and toddlers known as Droplets which contains a variety of water-inspired activities created with younger children in mind.
Learn more at caboodle.ae (Note temporary venue relocation within the Mall for summer 2023 as they renovate)
Pop in and Play
One for your Lego fans who love independent playtime. Children from 4 years of age can be left in a supervised environment absolutely packed full of different Lego-based activities. Younger ones aged 3 years old and under can also enjoy the Duplo soft play area but must be supervised.
There are now three Abuy Dhabi branches in World Trade Centre Mall next to Lulu Hypermarket, Yas Mall on the first floor near the old House of Fraser store, and new in the Galleria on level 3.
You may have come across Kidz Factory at Friday Brunches or kids’ birthday parties, well, they also have a store set up inside Dalma Mall. This is one of your more hands-on entertainers for crafty kids and includes cooking classes, ceramics and construction – check out their full program of what’s on offer.
Got a budding artist? This is the perfect indoor escape to try this summer at Al Seef Village Mall. Workshops and freestyle sessions can be booked to make colourful creations you can take home.
If you want to teach your young children about the world of work, Kidzania is a great place to start. Here, children enter their own real to life town where they must “work” to earn Kidzoos, the official KidZania currency, which they can then spend on fun attractions or in the gift shop. The jobs are fun and well explained by the facilitators around the centre. Located in Yas Mall.
Abu Dhabi Children’s Library
If you want to avoid noisy play centres, then you can’t miss a little adventure at Abu Dhabi’s Children’s Library, located at the Cultural Foundation Centre, near Qasr al Hosn.
Abu Dhabi is lucky to have one of the world’s most beautiful and thoughtfully designed children’s libraries. Spanning three floors, the library is divided into age-appropriate spaces with a variety of immersive and interactive features and exhibitions.
As well as mountains of books, there are several cosy little nooks to sit and read in, These range from the back of old Landrovers to swinging seats to upholstered sand dunes allowing for some memorable family reading experiences.
While the library is family-friendly, children are expected to behave appropriately for the space; this might be difficult for some children as the design does shout “come and play”, especially the swings on the first floor! Make sure you familiarise children with the rules of a library before you visit!
The National Aquarium, Abu Dhabi
Another fantastic opportunity for learning and enjoyment comes in the form of the National Aquarium located in the Al Qana development. Home to 46,000 marine creatures, it is the largest aquarium in the Middle East and plays a huge role in marine rescue operations and conservation.
We recommend doing the behind-the-scenes tour – especially if you are visiting with kids. This gives you the opportunity to visit the animal hospital and see how aquarium staff care for sick and injured animals. There are also opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the aquarium’s inhabitants, including the chance to swim with sharks!
Real marine enthusiasts, who are residents in the UAE, should check out the Aquarium’s junior marine biologist programme.
Abu Dhabi Indoor Theme Parks
Abu Dhabi has one of the greatest selections of indoor theme parks anywhere in the world, mainly located on the adventure playground of Yas Island. Without a doubt, if your budget can stretch, they are one of the best kids’ activities in Abu Dhabi.
Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi
World-class indoor theme park entertainment hit Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island in 2018 with the opening of Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi – at this stage, the world’s largest indoor theme park. Cartoon favourites from DC Comics through to classics from the Flintstones to the Jetsons can be found.
There are 29 rides, attractions and entertaining shows to enjoy, guaranteeing a full day outing.
Best suited to your kids 4+, you will find the giant gold shed immediately adjacent to Yas Waterworld on Yas Island; follow the signs though for a separate multi-story car park.
Home to some of the fastest rides in the world, this is where you want to take your junior adrenaline junkies. Over the summer, you can enjoy literally endless hours of fun as queues are almost non-existent off-peak. They also run varying some specials over holidays where you get free entry into the park and only pay for the rides, as well as “nanny free” tickets and many other specials.
The Family Zone was extended in March 2020, so there are now many more rides available to those under 1.2m, don’t rule it out with younger kids who love their thrills.
Accessed from inside Yas Mall, you are attached to plenty of indoor dining & shopping options too.
CLYMB Abu Dhabi
Indoor skydiving and indoor rock climbing at its best, with the world’s largest indoor rock climbing wall (for experienced climbers 14+) and the world’s tallest indoor skydiving chamber. Kids as young as three can enjoy the sensation of free-fall!
A superb activity to keep the kids active, even in the hottest months. You will find CLYMB attached to Yas Mall (at Ferrari World end).
Seaworld Abu Dhabi
The latest addition to Yas Island and the indoor entertainment scene is Seaworld. Separated into eight ocean realms, Seaworld takes you on a journey from the poles to the tropics. The experience includes up-close animal encounters, thrilling rides and a variety of live entertainment.
To find out more about Seaworld and the adjacent Marine Research and Rescue Center, click here.
Snow Abu Dhabi
Who says it doesn’t snow in the desert? If you want to beat the heat and chill out in temperatures of 2° C, head to Snow, located at Reem Mall. This incredible arctic-inspired indoor theme park is full of icey rides and attractions. So whether you fancy a bit of tabogganing or riding on a gently but frosty carousel, Snow is the place for you.
Dubai Parks & Resorts (Legoland & Motiongate)
We’ve also included Dubai Parks and Resorts on this Abu Dhabi list. Although technically over the border in Dubai, they are less than an hour’s drive away for most (and it looks like the domestic border crossing point is gone for good!
The theme parks are not entirely indoors. However, over the summer, they offer a complimentary daytime buggy and train service that does operate to get you from the car park to the gate at Motiongate, Legoland Dubai & Legoland Water Park.
Note that Bollywood Park is now permanently closed.
The Dreamworks attractions at Motiongate are entirely inside in the air conditioning, including Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Dragons.
Legoland also has many inside rides and theatres. Mid-summer, you can expect queue-free, non-stop riding almost everywhere in the parks.
Not a whole theme park but a fun way to kill a little time this summer. In WTC, you’ll find two giant stainless steel slides – the longest in the Middle East! Ride from the top to the bottom of WTC mall in style – single and double ride tickets available.
Abu Dhabi’s largest virtual reality and eSports gaming hub has opened in the trendy new entertainment district Al Qana. Endless hours of gaming entertainment away from the heat.
Games Cafes and Escape Rooms in Abu Dhabi
It’s been great to see a few more places enter the family entertainment lineup in Abu Dhabi aimed explicitly at older kids. Some suggested summer sanity savers for tweens and teens in Abu Dhabi include:
Dice Board Game Cafe
Found inside Sheikha Fatima Park (near A’l Bahar on the Abu Dhabi Corniche). This delightful new stay-and-play cafe brings over 400 games to choose from!
Just 35 AED per person gets you unlimited gameplay. Stick around for sensational coffees and a decent food and drinks menu too, a sure winner for a relaxing indoor day with kids in Abu Dhabi.
Cyber Cafe, hidden away on the first floor of Sahara Residences Downtown (corner Delma and 7th), offers a sociable hang-out for your older kids. Despite the name, there are plenty of non-screen related games in this cafe-style hangout. Enjoy air hockey and arcade games, board games and PSP stations.
If you dare… enter the Dark Room! A villa-based experience set in Al Bateen, the Dark Room is part haunted house, part escape room. Games include The Basement, Hill House and The Ritual – set your scare level and get your minds working!
Found in Abu Dhabi Mall, Prison Island – Beat the Bars is getting great acclaim as one of the best new family activities in Abu Dhabi for those with older kids to entertain. Friends of family members, gather around from 8 to 80 years as you solve 26 challenging clues.
Soft Plays and Family Entertainment Centres in Abu Dhabi
Many of the edutainment centres we mentioned above also include a soft play element, but here are a few more ideas spotted in malls all over the city – you are never far from a soft play in Abu Dhabi!!!
Most of these work on either a play-by-the-hour basis, or for rides and other attractions, a pre-paid card is needed (which invariably is not transferable across branches, meaning you carry around a wallet full of partially expired credits, a true sign you are a UAE expat!)
On another note, most also require socks to be worn by kids and grown-ups – a worthy investment is getting the whole family a pair of grippy socks so you are not forking out more money every time!!
Found in Al Forsan (upstairs above Spinneys), it has a huge climbing frame and clubhouse area, as well as a toddler-dedicated area and craft opportunities.
Classic indoor family fun play centres, you will find several of these dotted over Abu Dhabi, including Dalma Mall and Abu Dhabi Mall and upstairs in Al Seef Village Mall (Funville).
They cater to all age groups, from your very little toddlers in soft play areas through to arcade games and moderately thrilling rides for the tween age group.
Taking things one step further, Fun Works at Yas Mall is a huge play centre that includes soft play for older kids as well as toddlers, fairground rides and video games and simulators.
Indoor entertainment, from arcade games to soft play climbing structures. You will find the largest branch in Al Wadha Mall, and also at Madinat Zayed Mall and Bawabat Al Sharq Mall to the south of the city.
Some of the best indoor climbing frames, including areas designated for the younger tots. In our opinion, a little less noisy than some of the others, with more focus on dress up, crafting and pretend play rather than the flashing arcade games – a great option if these things give you sensory overload! You will find them next to the cinemas in Deerfields Town Square and Dalma Mall.
Bright colourful family entertainment with amusement rides and arcade-style games to be found at the Carrefour end of Deerfields Town Square.
Sparkys Amusement Center can be found in Al Khalidiya Mall, as well as Al Mushrif Mall, Raha Mall and Capital Mall. The stand-out feature in the Khalidiya Mall branch is the small indoor ice skating rink, which is great for your beginners. You will also find quite a large play structure with big slides and, many amusement rides and arcade-style games, dodgem cars.
Look out for Entertainer, Groupon and Cabone specials on ice skating.
Busy Bees Entertainment Centre
A combination of bigger kids’ rides and simulators through to arcade games, smaller kiddie rides and play areas. Located in Makani Mall, Al Shamkha and in Central Mall Khalifa City.
An exciting addition to Dalma Mall for your older tweens and teens! Spread over 35,000 feet on the second floor, this is an all-rounder entertainment venue. It includes plenty of gaming areas, a pool table zone, racing and rollercoaster simulator rides, twilight bowling and a small restaurant on site so you can dine and play in one spot.
Central Abu Dhabi
Part restaurant, part bowling alley, part gaming arcade, the new Central at Yas Bay is what the city has been crying out for. Families who love to dine, drink and play together are spoilt here with this multi-function venue, part of the new Yas Bay complex, Yas Island.
Play Home Town Tourist – Best of Abu Dhabi’s Indoor Attractions
When the weather is hot and the crowds are low, there’s no better time to enjoy some of Abu Dhabi’s most popular indoor tourist attractions.
Observation Deck at 300
Have you ever taken an aerial view of the city? Observation Deck at 300 (part of the Conrad Hotel) takes you to the 74th floor of Etihad Towers. You will be spoilt with spectacular views over the city, including the new Presidential Palace (more on this, keep reading!).
It’s a great place to spend a few hours and enjoy one of their amazing selections of cakes and beverages or even a delicious afternoon tea looking over the city. There is a fee to enter, but you get most of this back in F&B credits. Do try and dress the piece; children are welcome but must be well-behaved.
Qasr al Watan – Presidential Palace
Do you think the Grand Mosque is the country’s most spectacular building? Well, it’s starting to face some stiff competition from Qasr al Watan. Open to the public since March 2019, tours of the Palace run daily, as well as general admission to see one of the world’s most spectacular and certainly most expensive buildings.
It’s not ultra kid-friendly as you do need to keep quiet and act with refinement, but definitely one worth checking out for your bucket list. You can pre-book private tours or buy tickets at the gate. They now have headset tours designed especially for the younger audience to keep them engaged.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Ok, again, it’s not THE most kid-friendly place in Abu Dhabi. But if it’s been on your bucket list forever, summer is the time to get down to Saadiyat Island and check it out while there are fewer tourists about – and now all children under 18 go free with an adult!
As well as taking a stunning journey through the history of humanity, the museum itself is a beautiful masterpiece, and you don’t want to rush the experience. However, it might be a good incentive for children to know that there is a kids’ museum at the end, small but entertaining, as well as admiring the domed roof. In cooler months kayaking beneath the Louvre roof is now also an option.
There are plenty more touristy ideas in Abu Dhabi, including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Qasr al Hosn. This is just our selection of those that work best during the hot summer days.
Other Indoor Ideas in Abu Dhabi with Kids
- Those with little kids under 5, if you are not already a member join up to Abu Dhabi Mums who have been running playgroups in the city and welcoming new parents into the community for many years. Their clubhouse at The Dome, Al Rawdat tends to keep running even over the summer months but may not have structured activities, it’s just drop in and play at 20AED a session.
- Also, check out the group “With The Kids Abu Dhabi” for parent reviews and suggested activities in Abu Dhabi.
- There are tons of summer camps too. If not already mentioned above, check out the likes of The Club, Zayed Sports City, Al Forsan and many of the nurseries for your under 4’s will continue operating over most of the summer.
- Every one of the big shopping malls has a cinema attached – look up uae.voxcinemas.com, cineroyal.ae
- If you’re willing to brave the outdoors, check out this collection of family-friendly beach clubs in Abu Dhabi, these include access to a chilled pool, too and often many extra family features that can still work for a summer activity mornings and evenings.
More reading on Abu Dhabi and the UAE
- All the best things to do with kids in Abu Dhabi
- 40+ FREE & really cheap things to do in the UAE
- Abu Dhabi weekenders – the best ways to fill your weekends all within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi
- What should I wear in Abu Dhabi
- Abu Dhabi’s best parks and outdoor spaces
- Best things to do with a long Eid break
- Exploring the UAE outdoors in the winter
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This post has been compiled by our editor Keri, a travel writer and mum of three based in Abu Dhabi with a decade of UAE summers with kids under her belt. You can see more of her UAE and overseas adventures on her personal blog Our Globetrotters and on Instagram. This article has been updated for summer 2023 by our contributing writer Lynette Fortey-Burnett.