Abu Dhabi is amongst the hottest cities in the world so it should be no surprise that there are plenty of indoor activities to help you keep your cool with the kids in the summer months.
We have been searching out all the most kid-friendly ideas to keep you busy during summer 2019. We’ve broken them down into a few categories so you can easily find what you’re looking for:
- Keeping active – indoor sports
- Edutainment & pretend play
- Theme parks
- Soft play and family entertainment
- Play home town tourist
Don’t forget to check out what’s happening indoors down the road – another bumper list here of 60+ Dubai indoor activities for kids
Click on the map or keep reading to find out more!
Keeping Active – top indoor sporting activities in Abu Dhabi
Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ
Your super active kids who are starting to bounce off the walls should look to further than Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ. With two branches in Yas Mall an Dalma Mall, the activities on offer are slightly different in each so we recommend you try out both!
Yas is famous for the giant climbing pinnacle. They also have a caving course along with high ropes and low ropes courses with a bouldering wall. Dalma has a great ropes course, plus a trampoline zone, skate park and 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. Suitable from 4+
Found in Marina Mall, this immensely popular indoor entertainment centre allows kids to practice their trampolining skills, join a dodge ball 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 available and discounted subsequent hours. X-Park you must be over 125cm.
Zayed Sports City
This multi-use recreation facility, near to the Grand Mosque end of Abu Dhabi Island has plenty of action going on throughout the year. Summer favourites though are the giant Bowling Centre – which also includes amusement arcade and the ice skating rink.
Those looking for longer-term summer holiday entertainment, ZSC also have summer camp options for your active kids.
Action Zone Jump Up!
Bouncing good fun at three venues in 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 from 3+ years old.
Look out for Monday 1AED game days and 50% off Jump Up!
Packed full of jumping and climbing fun, you will find Xtreme Zone in both Deerfields Mall (indoor and outdoor) and newly opened in Abu Dubai Mall. Another massive branch will open after the summer at The Galleria, Al Maryah. Full review coming!
Tee & Putt Mini Golf
Enjoy your mini-golf in a fun glow in the dark experience – at any time of day! 18 holes of challenging gears, conveyor belts and bending pipes. You will find it inside Dalma Mall, Mussafah (Level 2).
One for your good old fashion roller skaters! As well as operating from Dalma Mall, they have opened a new 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 these mini go-kart courses are great indoor fun for when the outdoor track at Yas is simply too hot to handle
Edutainment and Pretend Play
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.
For tweens plus, Orange Hub (formerly Orange Spin) is the one they will want including arcade-style games, a couple of bowling alleys and laser tag. You will also find it in Al Wadha Mall but a different location.
(We understood a Raha Mall branch was opening soon too but no further news).
My Works at Fun Works
My Works is a hands-on activity experience for kids, taking them through real-to-life experiences including bake works, car works, energy works, build works, art works and recycle works. After you pay for entry, kids are free to try as many of the activities as they like, some can be used at any time, others staff will wait until there is the right number of children to commence the activity.
It is part of the larger Fun Works complex in Yas Mall, so as well as My Works, you can enjoy the multi-level Wizz Works soft play structure, or younger kids under 3 there is Mini Works. There are your usual range or arcade style games and amusement rides too.
Pop in and Play
One for your Lego fans who love independent play time. Children from 4 years of age can be left in a supervised environment absolutely packed full of different Lego-based activities. Younger ones 3 years old and under can also enjoy the Duplo soft play area but must be supervised.
There are two branches in World Trade Centre Mall next to Lulu Hypermarket and Yas Mall near House of Fraser (the former being a much larger set up).
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 definitely one of your more hands-on entertainers for craft kids, but also includes cooking classes, ceramics and construction – check out their full program of what’s on offer.
A brand new addition for Abu Dhabi during summer 2019. KidZania Abu Dhabi joins it’s Dubai counterpart in becoming the second Middle East branch of this popular pretend-city themed indoor entertainment for young children. Children enter their own real to life town where they must “work” to earn Kidzoos, the official currency to then spend it on fun attractions. Our more detailed review coming soon.
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 adrenaline junkies. Better placed for your older kids, let’s say 8+ simply due to height restrictions, over the summer you can enjoy literally endless hours of fun as queues are almost non-existent. 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.
Dubai Parks & Resorts (Legoland & Motiongate)
I would also include Dubai Parks and Resorts on this Abu Dhabi list. Although technically over the border in Dubai, they are less than an hours drive away for most. They are not entirely indoors but over the summer offer a complimentary day time buggy and train service does operate to get you from the car park to gate at Motiongate, Legoland Dubai & Legoland Water Park and Bollywood Park.
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.
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 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!
Another note, most also require socks to be warned 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.
Hidden to the back of Gardens Plaza in Raha Gardens, Khalifa City you will find this cute little play space for smaller kids. Lots of climbing and pretend play on offer, ideal for your under 5’s.
Classic indoor family fun play centres you will find several of these dotted over Abu Dhabi including Dalma Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall, Yas Mall, and upstairs in Al Seef Village Mall (Funville). They cater for all age groups from your very little toddlers in soft play areas through to arcade games and moderately thrilling rides.
Look out for Monday specials 1AED games and rides.
Several mixed entertainment venues dotted over the cities major malls including Marina Mall and Carrefour Airport Road. Expect loud and colourful arcade games, rides and climbing structures.
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 couth of the city.
Some of the best indoor climbing frames, including areas designated for the younger tots. In our option, 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.
Little Treehouse Play Centre
Found inside Al Mushrif Co-op on Khaleej Al Arabi St, this is a small and sweet play centre, just right for your kids who get overwhelmed in the larger spaces. They have soft play as well as games and role-play activities.
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 Khalidiya It’s stand out feature is the small indoor ice skating rink, 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. Found inside Makani Mall, Al Shamkha and a new center just opened in Central Mall Khalifa City.
This brand new opening is 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 cimulator rides, twlight bowling and a small restaurant onsite so you can dine and play in one spot.
Play Home Town Tourist – best of Abu Dhabi’s indoor attractions
Observation Deck at 300
Have you ever taken an aerial view over the city? Observation Deck at 300 takes you to the 74th floor of Etihad Towers, part of the Jumeirah Hotel. You will be spoilt to spectacular views over the city, including the new Presidential Palace (more on this, keep reading!).
Entry feels a little steep at 95AED for anyone over 5 years old, but this includes a 55AED food & beverage voucher. It’s a great fun experience to enjoy one of their amazing selections of teas, coffees, and cakes looking over the city. Do try and dress the piece, children are welcomed 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 simply buy tickets at the gate (extra to join the public tours – very informative but only if you have kids that can pay attention).
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.
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.
You can see our full review of visiting the Louvre here (even for non-art lovers!)
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.
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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 seven 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.