Entertain the clan with days out and activities for all ages.

Oli Oli

In a nutshell

An interactive play museum even grown-ups will love

The lowdown

Named after the Hawaiian word for joy, this open-ended play centre is all kinds of brilliant. Featuring eight unique galleries inspired by the world’s best children’s museums, science centres, art galleries and parks, the beautifully-designed space has been created to encourage open-ended play – think rocket launching, den building and water play spaces. Don’t miss Toshi’s Nets, a truly incredible crocheted play structure that took over a year to create.

Best for

Younger kids and the young at heart – the car building ramps are as popular with the dads as the kids…

4th Street, Al Quoz, Dubai, Sat to Wed 9am to 7pm, Thur and Fri 9am to 9pm, Dhs120, Dhs40 for adults. Tel: (04) 7027300. Taxi: behind Oasis Centre. olioli.ae

Ski Dubai

In a nutshell

Snow-based fun for all adrenaline levels

The lowdown

There’s something for all age groups at Dubai’s chilliest (and perhaps most seasonally incongruous) family entertainment facility. Younger kids will love visiting the friendly and funny Ski Dubai penguins, while getting kitted up for some tobogganing, tube sliding, skiing or snowboarding will provide a thrill for youngsters, teens and adults alike. Don’t forget to stop at the on-slope chalet for a hot chocolate on your way downhill.

Best for

Those who always remember their gloves

Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur 10am to midnight, Fri 9am to midnight, Sat 9am to 11pm, from Dhs180. Tel: (800) 386. Metro: Mall of the Emirates. skidxb.com

Aventura

In a nutshell

Tree top challenges for those with a head for heights

The lowdown

Nestled in the boughs of Dubai’s Great Ghaf Forest within the city’s Mushrif Park, Aventura features more than 80 rope-based challenges across a range of off-ground courses, some of which are suitable for children as young as six. The kids’ course has been designed so that adults can accompany, while the more challenging tracks, such as the zipline-packed Thriller, will please even the most adventurous teens.

Best for

Families who love to adventure together

Mushrif National Park, Dubai, daily 9.30am to 6pm, Dhs150, Dhs125 juniors, Dhs10 visitors. Tel: (052) 1787616. Taxi: Mushrif Park. aventuraparks.com

Dubai Fountain

In a nutshell

One of Dubai’s most famous attractions gets a winter upgrade

The lowdown

If you’ve lived in the UAE for any length of time, chances are you’re pretty well familiar with Dubai’s famed dancing fountains. But before you dismiss our suggestion as old hat, it’s worth considering that a new upgrade to the experience means you and your family can get closer to the action than ever before. The boardwalk is a 272-metre over-water walkway that ends just nine metres from the jets, giving you a spectacular front row view without having to brave the crowds. The best part? As long as they’re over four years old, kids are more than welcome.

Best for

Wowing your kids or out-of-town visitors

Burj Park, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, daily 5pm to 11pm, Dhs20. Tel: (04) 8888888. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. burjkhalifa.ae

Jebel Jais Via Ferrata

In a nutshell

A 1km climbing course with three increasingly daring zipline jumps

The lowdown

Meaning ‘iron path’ in Italian, via ferrata is essentially a cross between rock climbing and mountaineering. At Jebel Jais, however, the ante has been upped with the addition of three increasingly daring ziplines – while the first, a 50-metre line, is a comparatively piddly 20 metres above the nearest ledge, by the end of the course, you’ll be jumping from a 120-metre high ledge for a heart-stopping 300-metre slide back towards the wadi start point. If you can summon up the courage, you’re sure to earn yourself the respect of even the most reluctant teen…

Best for

Team-building with teens – this one is for over-12s only

Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah, Wed to Sun 9am and 1pm, Dhs400. Tel:  (056) 5489738. Taxi: Tulip Inn RAK (transfers run from the hotel lobby at 8am and noon). jebeljais.ae

Louvre Abu Dhabi

In a nutshell

A child-centred opportunity to learn about art and culture

The lowdown

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a mightily impressive place, architecturally and artistically, and while the main collections exploring subjects as diverse as humanity and religion will interest teens, there’s no need for younger kids to miss out on the experience. The specially created children’s museum is spread across two floors at the centre of the site, and has been designed to engage youngsters aged from six to 12 – think art on their eyeline, specially curated exhibitions and interactive workshops in both Arabic
and English.

Best for

Opening your kids’ eyes to art

Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, Dhs60, under-13s free. Tel: (600) 565566. Taxi: Louvre Abu Dhabi. louvreabudhabi.ae

Dubai Garden Glow

In a nutshell

Bulb-based madness, with dinosaurs for good measure

The lowdown

Unquestionably one of Dubai’s most bizarre but brilliant creations, Garden Glow is exactly as it sounds – a glowing garden with sights surreal enough to make anyone stop in their tracks. From a bulbed Burj Khalifa to a ginormous sea scape complete with glow-in-the-dark octopi, it’s utterly bonkers in the best possible way. Little ones will also love the attached Dinosaur Park, with more than 100 animatronic beasts, while the new ice park, created

with more than 5,000 tonnes of frozen water, sounds pretty cool in more ways than one…

Best for

A real only-in-Dubai experience

Zabeel Park, Zabeel, Dubai, daily 4pm to midnight, Dhs60, under-threes free. Tel: (052) 4785605. Taxi: Zabeel Park gate 6 or 7. dubaigardenglow.com

Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding

In a nutshell

Learn about the UAE over a traditional feast

The lowdown

Serving up homely Emirati cuisine with a side dish of cultural education, the weekly cultural brunch at this fabulous facility is a must-do for all expats at some point during their Dubai tenure. Kids will love tucking into the huge sharing platters while sitting cross-legged on the floor, Bedouin-style, while adults will relish the opportunity to learn more about their adoptive land from the engaging and welcoming local hosts.

Best for

Anyone who wants to learn more about the UAE

Al Musallah Rd, Al Fahidi Historical District, Dubai, Sat 10.30am to noon, Dhs120, Dhs60 under-11s, under-sixes free. Tel: (04) 3536666. Taxi: Al Fahidi Historical District. cultures.ae

Dubai Water Taxi

In a nutshell

Get a new perspective on the city from
the water

The lowdown

There’s little that’s guaranteed to delight children young and old more than an impromptu boat trip, and since the opening last year of the Dubai Water Canal, there’s now more to see from the water than ever before. With the boats now serving dozens of stations between Al Jadaf and Dubai Marina Mall, it’s a delightful, and traffic-jam-free way to tour the city.

Best for

Beating the city traffic and delighting young ones in the process

Various locations across Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm, from Dhs55. Tel: (800) 9090. rta.ae