Ever questioned whether you should visit Dubai with a toddler? We will state it outright, Dubai is a complete toddlers paradise! There is so much to see and do and any regular Dubai itinerary can easily be adapted to keep the littlest members of your family happy.
Got children in different age groups? We also recommend you check out:
- What to expect in Dubai with a baby
- Keeping your cool 60+ indoor activities in Dubai
- Outdoor activities in Dubai & the UAE for your winter weekends
Whether your a UAE resident looking for things to do on the weekend, or a first-time UAE visitor, we’ve got you covered in this Dubai toddler guide! We’re going to take you through:
- Things to do in Dubai with a Toddler
- Practicalities of visiting Dubai
- When is it best to visit Dubai
- Sun safety in the Middle East
- Road safety in Dubai
- Using the Dubai Metro
- Toddler & infant care in Dubai
- Where to stay in Dubai with a toddler – including best toddler-friendly hotel pools
- Emergency information and extra resources to plan your Dubai trip
Things to do in Dubai with a toddler
There is an overwhelming choice of family-friendly activities in Dubai; you will find it is a very family-centric city. But which activities and attractions in Dubai are best for the under 3 age group?
The best part of visiting Dubai with toddlers is that entrance can be free to many attractions; The bad news, they may be too short for some of the attractions you’d think they love! So let’s take a look, we’ve broken it down by:
- Dubai amusement parks & water parks for toddlers
- Indoor activities in Dubai for toddlers
- Outdoor activities in Dubai for toddlers
(All prices and opening times correct as at winter 2019; Timing may change during Ramadan and special offers for residents)
We have included several links to “Discounted Tickets”- these are through attraction ticketing experts Klook – if you’ve not heard of them yet, check out Klook here. We can offer readers a further 10AED off their first purchase via Klook using code FAMILY10 – enjoy!
Dubai amusement parks & water parks for toddlers
Dubai’s range of theme parks and water parks is fabulous, but not all suit toddlers mostly due to height restrictions. Here we help you pick out the best in Dubai for toddlers.
Dubai Parks & Resorts
This is actually several family attractions in one including:
- Legoland Dubai
- Legoland Dubai Water Park
- Motiongate Dubai
- Bollywood Parks Dubai
- Riverland entertainment
Under 3’s get FREE entry to all the theme parks. Whilst Legoland might sound instantly appealing to the younger crowd, be aware that many of the rides here have a height limit of 1.05cm. There are a few more at Motiongate that allow children from 1m.
The Duplo Splash Park & Build-a-Raft lazy river are favourites with the littlest ones at Legoland Dubai Water park – but be warned there’s limited seating in the toddler area and it fills fast – go early in the day. See a full Legoland Dubai Water Park review here.
Splashers – Aquaventure
Arguably one of the most famous water parks in the world within the giant Atlantis complex on Palm Jumeirah, but if shark-filled lagoons and The Leap of Faith don’t sound all that family-friendly, fear not!
Introducing you to Splashers, exclusively for little ones under 1.2m it features 14 slides and attractions, many replicas from the larger park making this one of the better water park choices for those with little kids – entrance for adults gets you into both parts of the park, under 3’s are free.
Your little ones will also LOVE exploring the Lost Chambers aquarium which can be visited on a combined ticket with Aquaventure.
Note full price tickets apply to all children over 1.2m, discounted tickets under 1.2m
Top Tip: Staying at Atlantis? You can get your Aquaventure entry FREE!
Splash Pad – The Beach JBR
Situated in between The Walk and The Beach this is the perfect outdoor playground for the younger set. It has both wet and dry playground sections and temperature controlled for year-round enjoyment.
Priced at 65AED per hour or 99AED for a full 24-hours (perfect if you’re staying at a nearby JBR or Marina hotel and want to pop in and out).
Splash ‘n’ Party Dubai
Tucked away in the suburban area of Al Safa, Splash ‘n’ Party is perfect for toddlers and younger kids who may feel overwhelmed in the larger parks.
It includes a large splash pad area, manageable slides and attentive staff – you may even be able to grab yourself a cuppa while the kids play in this safe and enclosed backyard paradise!
Children are 100AED (one accompanying adult free, extra adult 50AED) for all-day access
Splash ‘n’ Party Kite Beach
New for winter 2019, you can now also find an inflatable water park operating in their exciting new location at Kite Beach – it is ideal for your slightly older crowd but worth a mention here too!
50AED for all-day access, under 3’s an adult goes free.
Wild Wadi Water Park
Another of the mega water theme parks found in Jumeirah, there are rides and attractions suitable to the toddler crowd – albeit given the parks overall size and thrill rides it can be a bit overwhelming for the small ones.
Under 2s are free and under 1.1m you pay a discounted rate.
Laguna Water Park – La Mer
A great addition to the La Mer waterfront development, Laguna is a more compact water park than Aquaventure and Wild Wadi but does include AquaPlay and a Splash Park for the younger kids. Otherwise a lot of ride restrictions do apply here for under 1.2m
Look out for Mamas on Mondays, a special package for mums and their little ones 9am to 1pm Monday, under 2’s are free.
Don’t forget to also check out day trip options to Abu Dhabi. Yas Island has some amazing family-friendly theme parks, including Yas Waterworld that would also be great for toddlers. Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi is also one of our favourites, but with height restrictions, we’d suggest best suited when kids are over 110cm.
Indoor Activities in Dubai for toddlers
Make no mistake, there are at least six months of the year where, realistically, anything beyond a shady spot at the pool is too much for a toddler during the day. You’re going to need to plan that your days in Dubai will be filled with indoor activities from about later April to late October.
The city is so well designed for this though, so fear not! A summer holiday with toddlers in Dubai is definitely still achievable. Our favourites for toddlers include:
OliOli Childrens’ Museum
An indoor, interactive childrens’ play museum situated in Al Quoz. This has hands down jumped to being my kids’ favourite indoor play space in Dubai. So much more than your average soft play!
The museum is packed with eight interactive galleries. Toddlers especially will love Future Park with the illuminated balls and seeing their art come to life. The specially-designed Toddler Gallery is also brilliant for those fine motor skills and sensory play.
An onsite café La Petit Tree House makes it a nice place for parenting meet-ups too.
Children under 11 months free; 12-23 months AED63/2hrs, over 23 months 126AED/2hrs. Accompanying adult 42AED.
The Green Planet
Tell me a toddler that doesn’t like animals! OK, the creepy crawlies section might not appeal to all in this rainforest inspired bio-dome but there are plenty of birds and cute and cuddly creatures too. The Biodome takes kids on a journey from the rainforest canopy down to the forest floor. Fun and informative, colourful and interactive, a total toddler winner!
Kids aged under 3 free. Animal encounter tickets extra
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
Another animal favourite in Dubai! Toddlers might be perfectly happy just staring in awe at the world’s largest suspended tank aquarium, basement level Dubai Mall, or pop on inside for some more hand-on experiences, walk through the aquarium tunnel and take a glass-bottom boat.
Under 3’s go free to the Dubai Aquarium! Go early in the day, and have your tickets ready in advance to skip the line. This is one that can get super busy later in the day and cost much more at the door.
The Dubai Frame
A little touristy but if Burj Khalifa feels out of price range this is totally your next best option (and I’d argue a little more fun without the insane crowds and queuing for the little kids). The Dubai Frame is literally a giant frame that captures “Old Dubai” to one side, and the modern skyscrapers of Downtown Dubai to the other.
A glass-sided lift takes you up the 48 floors then you walk across the frame for spectacular city views to either side. There’s a glass-bottom floor, if you dare! Beneath the frame, you will also find impressively choreographed fountains in Zabeel Park.
Infants under 3 years old free, discounted tickets 20AED for 3 to 12 years old.
Museum of Illusions & al Seef
The new Al Seef waterfront area of Dubai, wedged between the historic neighbourhood of Al Fahidi and the Dubai Creek has quickly become a new favourite of ours, for strolling and enjoying the ambiance of this recreated waterside township. Added to the fun is the quirky little Museum of Illusions, packed with optical eye tricks!
Under 5’s are free. Much cheaper to get tickets in advance
Of all the indoor play centres, this would be our top pick with the toddlers. Found in the City Walk complex (near to the Green Planet), this family fun indoor park includes toddler & preschooler favourite characters Barney, Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder.
We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym
Another soft play alternative with a difference in Beach Plaza Centre, Jumeirah. Kids from as young as one can enjoy this play space, and from 2-years old (potty trained) you can utilise their supervised Drop n Go service. A great variety of activities that use a huge variety of sensory and motor skills.
Jumping Jaxx soft play at Jump Boxx
This mega indoor trampoline centre is the best suited for those with under 5’s to consider. From crawlers to 5 years old are welcome in the supervised soft play area within the Larger Jump Boxx complex. Great for a mixed-age group.
Other kid-friendly indoor attractions in Dubai
For the toddler age group, I would be less inclined to pick indoor favourites such as:
- IMG Worlds of Adventure
- Ski Dubai
- Dubai Ice Rink
- Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ
Don’t get me wrong these are great too. If you have older siblings to entertain, by all means, you can work these places into your plans, they’re just not the best for the younger crowd.
Outdoor activities in Dubai for toddlers
As well as road trip ideas around the UAE you can take with the kids in winter, our favourite places to head to outdoors with toddlers include:
XPark Jr Splash Area
An outdoor adventure park for the junior crowd, you’ll find this little gem just off Kite Beach. More than just a water park so we’ve included it here, you can splash and play in the streams.
The Park House Cafe is ideal for grabbing a bite One adult permitted per child 45AED for 2 hours. Open daily 8am to 6pm
Dubai Miracle Garden
The largest flower garden in the world – sign me up! This beautiful urban paradise can be found just of the E311 in Dubailand during the cooler winter months. Hidden inside is a maze of magical pathways that toddlers will absolutely love, as well as swings and quirky touches such as giant topiary teddies and their centrepiece floral A380 aeroplane!
Get in early with the kids before the crowds to enjoy this one – open from 9am, by lunchtime on weekends it’s packed and gets harder to navigate with a stroller. There’s also the adjacent butterfly garden at an additional charge.
Kids under 3 are free, 3-12 years 40AED and adults 55AED. Open late October to April annually.
Dubai Garden Glow & Dinosaur Park
Open from 4pm in the afternoon daily over winter, this is a kids magical wonderland! It’s actually 4 amusements in one where your kids can enjoy a real-to-life dino experience (careful if they do scare easy!) before the sun goes down and the park comes to life with beautiful glowing light installations.
It can get busy, especially weekends so come early and get the best parking near to gate 6/7, stroller friendly.
General admin tickets for 4+ are 65AED, kids are free under 4. Online you can buy tickets to the Dinosaur Park and Garden Glow. If you want to add the ice sculpture park, buy this tickets at the gate.
Dubai Global Village
Feel like taking a trip around the world in one evening? Then welcome to the eclectic and amazing Dubai Global Village – a seasonal extravaganza held on the outskirts of Dubai showcasing food, entertainment and traditions from over 70 countries.
(I will be honest I was reluctant to include this one for toddlers. We had a nightmarish trip here on a busy Friday night trying to navigate two strollers through the crowds – it was tough – but each to their own so many families we ask bill it in their favourite Dubai attractions with kids so we couldn’t leave it out!)
Free for your under 3’s, general entry only 15AED, extra for rides or pick up a Wonder Pass to include extra new attractions
Flamingoes at Ras al Khor
A visit to Ras al Khor wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of Dubai is an absolute winner with your toddlers. This beautiful wetland is super close to the city with the Dubai skyline as it’s backdrop. There are airconditioned viewing platforms and a Lagoon Hide to explore over 170 species which call this wetland home.
The wetlands are free to visit during daylight hours
More outdoors Dubai for Toddlers
If you’re new to Dubai and simply looking for a nice outdoor space for a stroll and play (FREE!), why not try:
- Umm Sequim Park (also known as Burj Beach Park)
- Al Barsha Park
- Safa Park 2
- Al Ittihad Park
- Al Sufouh Park
- JLT Park
- Zabeel Park
- Dubai Creek Park
- Al Khazzan Park
- Kite Beach
- Jumeirah Beach
- La Mer Beachfront
Outdoor ideas in Dubai we’ve left of the list
Again, there are plenty more amazing ideas we’ve left off, not that there impossible, just not the best with the younger age group:
- Desert Safari – half the thrill of the desert safari is the 4WD dune bashing ride there. These are not appropriate with your under 6’s
- The Dubai Fountains – oh they are good! But evening weekends at Dubai Mall? Only if your brave! Those crowds with a stroller? Forget it.
- Aventura in Mushrif Park – a super outdoor ropes course, tree surfing and climbing adventure, but minimum height is 1.15cm and 6 years of age
We’d love to hear your favourite play park suggestions perfect for younger children? Comment below where you would recommend
Practicalities of Visiting Dubai with a Toddler
If you are new to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, here’s a run-through of a few of the practical things you should know.
Best time to visit Dubai with kids
Dubai is a large desert city sitting on the Arabian Gulf. Summers are extremely hot, whilst winters are mild and pleasant. Undoubtedly, the cooler months from November through to March are best for families.
That said, it’s not impossible to visit Dubai and the UAE in the hotter months and the summer, you just need to be prepared for what to expect.
What you may love about transiting through Dubai with a jet-lagged toddler is it’s a stay up late city! It’s not unusual at all to see families still out until late in the evening, any time of year.
Dealing with sun safety in Dubai
Reminding you, it’s a HOT country! Even the winter can be as warm as many families are used to mid-summer. Being sun smart with your toddler is essential. Things to bear in mind to cope with the heat in Dubai:
- Drink lots of water. Water is drinkable in Dubai but may not be to everyone’s taste so bring your own refillable water bottles (with a filter if possible).
- Wear appropriate sun protection outside – sunscreen, sunglasses and hats.
- Keep skin as covered as possible, ideally a rashy or sun shirt if at the beach or water park – you can see more clothing advice for the UAE here.
- Beware hot surfaces. For a lot of the year, the ground and play equipment might be too hot to touch during the day. Make sure you test any surface before letting your toddler touch it.
- Beach/pool shoes can be a good idea for little feet to avoid hot surfaces.
- Do expect the seawater in the peak of summer to be too unpleasantly hot to swim in (and cold in the winter!) Most hotels temperature control their pools for the peak of summer and winter.
- Everything inside is air-conditioned! You may still want a cardigan or warmer layer if you’re planning to spend any time inside.
Traffic Safety in Dubai & Car Seats
Dubai is a big, busy bustling city! There is a relatively good Metro system to get between major Dubai attractions, but there will invariably be moments where you might need to take a taxi, tour or hire car in a private vehicle.
I would NEVER travel in Dubai without some sort of restraint for your child – traffic moves, fast, often erratic and poor road manners can be observed – albeit this is improving.
It is law in the UAE for all children under the age of 4 to use a car seat. That said, enforcement of the law seems to sadly be scant. There are a few ways you can tackle the issue of keeping toddlers safe in car seats in Dubai:
- BYO car seat or driving restraint (recommended)
- If you are renting a car, add a car seat to your hire car order
- Use a car seat hire company such as Skytots or the Stroller Spa (they do rental strollers & car seats)
- Use family-centric hire car service such as Careem Kids instead of hailing a taxi
- Standard taxies from the airport are also able to borrow (at no extra charge) a pooled car seat from DXB to return later.
Should I take a stroller to Dubai?
Dubai is stroller-friendly for the most part. If you are transitting between taxies to shopping malls and resorts, you will find smooth surfaces and plenty of space. You’ll probably prefer a stroller than a carrier for your toddlers in the heat.
If you are out and about in some of Dubai’s older parts you may find inconsistencies in the footpaths and rough surfaces. On the whole, the city is well-equipped for strollers.
Using the Metro in Dubai with Toddlers
As we mentioned, there is a reasonably good Metro system for tourists. It doesn’t cover the whole city but does cover many of the most popular family attractions so you may want to integrate using the Metro into your travel plans.
Children under 5 years old do not need the metro “Nol” card. Our biggest word of advice would be to not attempt taking the Metro with toddlers and small children during peak commuter times or large events, it can be very busy and overwhelming. If you are taking a stroller, make sure it’s collapsible.
Toddler and infant care in Dubai
If you are still at the nappy changing stage, you may be pleasantly surprised by the change facilities in large malls.
Large supermarkets are well-stocked with international brands of diapers and infant snacks and food, though if your toddler likes any foods in particular or has any intolerances, you are best bringing your own supplies.
If you are venturing outside of Dubai or any of the UAE’s major city centres, do not expect to find anything special for families by way of change tables, parenting rooms etc. You can read more about infant care in our What to expect in Dubai with a Baby post, and more parenting tips here.
Where should I stay in Dubai with a toddler?
There are soooo many accommodation options in Dubai suitable for families!
With just one toddler you will find most double rooms large enough to add an infant cot or convertible sofa bed for your toddler.
If you have more than one child, you will need to look at suites or possibly adjoining rooms. Some of the best areas to stay if you are here for the beach weather are JBR or on the Palm Jumeirah. For short city sightseeing stope, place yourself centrally around Downtown Dubai.
Some of our toddler favourite hotels with great kiddy pools and other awesome family facilities and restuarants include:
Our complete list of family resorts in Dubai coming soon!!
The list of family-friendly hotels in Dubai is honestly endless though. You can see all the accommodation options in Dubai here:
(NB, most hotels with kids clubs will only take children independently over 4 years old. You would be able to use the kids club facilities but an adult would need to remain with a toddler).
Emergency information in Dubai
If the worst is to happen and your toddler gets sick on a holiday to Dubai, there are plenty of hospitals and medical clinics you can turn to for help.
Speciality 24-hour children’s hospitals in Dubai
The following hospitals have specialist paediatric A&E facilities.
- Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital
- Medcare Women & Children’s Hospital
- Zulekha Hospital (Sharjah – closer to Deira/Old Dubai)
There are plenty more options open during normal business hours. You will also find pharmacies everywhere, malls, even within some hotels so first aid supplies are easy to come by.
The Emergency services numbers for Dubai are:
- Police 999
- Ambulance 998
- Fire 997
- Civil Defence 996
- Coast guard 911
Over to you! we’d love to hear, do you have any more Dubai favourites with your toddlers? Places you would not recommend for the little ones? Drop them in the comments below