The best outdoor family activities in Abu Dhabi

It's the season for making the most of the beautiful weather

The best outdoor family activities in Abu Dhabi

Become a legend at Yas Waterworld
When was the last time you and the whole family had a fulfilling day out in one location bursting with activities? Yas Waterworld, uniquely based on the Emirati “The Legend of the Lost Pearl,” theme, is divided into four thrill levels, each catering to different ages, and how much of an adrenaline seeker you are. There are plenty of dining options, with seven of them featuring different cuisines from around the world.
Dhs250 (general admission), free (kids under three). Open daily 10am-7pm (Sep-Oct); 10am-6pm (Nov-Feb); 10am-7pm (Mar-May), 10am-8pm (Jun-Aug). Yas Island, (02 414 2000).

Bounce around Aquafun A’l Bahar
If a giant inflatable water park anchored a few metres off the Corniche coastline doesn’t scream family fun to you, we don’t know what will. Aquafun is the shining star of the recently opened A’L Bahar beachfront development – which is home to sport tournaments, more than 20 different restaurants and cafés and a load of brilliant kid-friendly activities. Anyone from the age of five upwards can go on the inflatable, which opens from 9am to 6.30pm every day and can accommodate up to 250 people at a time. The safety conscious needn’t worry, either, as there are up to seven lifeguards on duty at any one time.
From Dhs105. Open daily 9am-6.30pm. The Corniche.

Fill up your day at the Empty Quarter
The largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world, Rub Al Khali (known as the Empty Quarter) will take your breath away. Book a short stay at the Qasr Al Sarab hotel so you can embark on desert adventures including desert yoga and fat biking. The kids can tag along, or go for a visit to the camel farm to see donkeys, rabbits and more, cooling off at the Kids’ Club after.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Qasr Al Sarab Road (02 886 2088).

Get in the driving seat at Yas Marina

If dad is missing his trusty Volvo, here is one way to get him back in the driving seat. Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, offers up a host of driving experiences. Your kids can explore the playground, make new friends at CrossFit for Kids or cool off with a splash in the musical water fountain.
Prices vary. Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island,

Go wild at Xtreme Zone

From a large trampoline park and zip-line to three-storey adventure ropes and ninja courses, kids can decide on the level of thrill they want to seek from the range of activities on offer. Based within Deerfields mall, the outdoor zone is perfect to test and improve focus, balance and strength, while breathing in some fresh air. For the slightly tinier kiddies, they are 36 interconnected trampolines to keep them bouncing around, including a basketball arena and a parkour style course that will certainly attract acrobatic kids.
From Dhs15-70 per play, depending on rides. Garden Area, Deerfields Mall, Al Bahia (02 666 9772).

Hunt for treasure at Nation Riviera beach club
Located on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi’s Nation Riviera features a 200-metre private beach, secluded cabanas and a spacious infinity pool with gardens as well as exclusive fitness facilities. The hotel’s Treasure Island Children’s Club, designed as a mock pirates’ ship for kids aged four to 12, provides a safe and enjoyable area to keep them entertained, with fully-supervised indoor and outdoor activities including a pool and water slide. Nanny services are also available upon request with notice.
Dhs315 (two adults and one child, members Sun-Thu), Dhs370 (two adults and one child, non-members Fri-Sat); Dhs420 (two adults and one child, non-members Fri-Sat). Open daily 8am-sunset. The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Corniche West (02 694 4444).

Live luxuriously at Emirates Palace
When life give you lemons, the only thing to do is grab a rubber ring and proceed to a 180° in a lazy river. At Emirates Palace you can enjoy one of the UAE’s most prestigious beach clubs. And once all that relaxation becomes too much, you can work up a sweat in one of two fitness suites with daily group fitness classes such as yoga, pilates and Zumba. Leave the little ones at the brilliant kids’ club, or bring them along on bike rides, challenge them to tennis or enjoy a jog on the 6km track.
Dhs210 (adults), Dhs105 (kids). Open daily 7am-9pm. West Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi,‎ (02 690 9000).

Marvel at the Wildlife at Sir Bani Yas Island

Off the coast of Abu Dhabi, this island is a natural reserve and haven for protected animals. Half of Sir Bani Yas is covered by the Arabian Wildlife Park, where 13,000 animals live across 1,400 hectares of land. It’s an important research and conservation zone, with nature drives, walks, horse trekking and biking. Giraffes, oryx, cheetahs, jackals and many more animals are present and it’s the closest you can get to a real safari without leaving the country (you will have to travel a few hours to get there, though). An unmissable experience, especially as you’re bedding down at one of the villa suites by Anantara – the herds are most active at sunrise and early evening.
Prices and timings vary. Sir Bani Yas Island, (800 8342).

Meet the animals at Emirates Park Zoo
There’s a certain feeling of wonder when you encounter wildlife of any kind, whether it be realising just how big a giraffe is or how fast a hippo can sprint (stunning to watch, might we add). Emirates Park Zoo and Resort captures that wonder, with its many close encounter experiences, especially when you get the chance to eat a wholesome breakfast with giraffes or lunch with leopards. You can even feed crocodiles if you’re brave enough.  . Animal lovers can explore the whole zoo, which includes everything from magnificent eagles to cute little lambs, and you get to feed most of them.
Free (below three), Dhs30 (ages 3-16), Dhs35 (16 years and above). Open Sun-Wed 9am-8pm; Thu-Sat 9am-9pm. 12th Street, Al Bahia, (02 5010 000).

Have a day out with dad
If dad loves the game, though, then challenge him to 18 holes at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, home to the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, where the likes of Rory Mcllroy and current World Number One Dustin Johnson are regular participants.
Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Sas Al Nakhl, (02 885 3555).

Seek the thrill at Wadi Adventure

On the hunt for more excitement? Wadi Adventure is the UAE’s first man-made whitewater rafting, kayaking, wakeboarding and surfing attraction and has been making waves in Al Ain for years. It plays host to the world’s largest surf pool, and the Airpark boasts a two-storey aerial obstacle course, a zip line, climbing wall and giant swing. The family pool and kids’ splash area are available throughout the day for your enjoyment.
From Dhs65 per person. Open daily 11am-7pm. Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain (03 781 8422).

Spend the day at Umm Al Emarat Park
One of the largest and oldest parks in the capital, Umm Al Emarat features features an animal barn (where you can see a baby goat), amphitheatre, botanic, children and evening gardens, and more. You can also check out the Shade House to cool off, which houses several species of plants and upper-deck levels with incredible views of the park and surrounding landscape. Plus, the Ripe Market is now here to – so you can shop, eat, play and spend a quality day outdoors.
From Dhs65 per person. Open daily 11am-7pm. Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain (03 781 8422).

Stroll along The Corniche
It’s been a busy couple of months already hasn’t it? Let’s just take things down a notch and unwind a little bit. The Corniche is one of the most beautiful stretches in the UAE, made up of an eye-catching 8km of manicured waterfront lined with cute cafés, play areas and an award-winning beachfront. It’s best to step out while it’s a bit cooler in the morning so you can make the most of the lovely sights, and why not go for a bike ride?

Train at Yas Marina Circuit
Tuesday evenings are best spent on Yas Marina Circuit’s Formula 1 track. Serious runners, cyclists and even families looking to take a stroll can get fit and join the fast, and the not so fast, for an activity-filled outing that’s great fun for all. That’s one more way to get the kids moving and in shape and best of all, it’s completely free. Just register online, turn up and grab your bike (if you’re cycling).
Free. Tuesdays 6pm-10pm. Yas Island, (02 6599 999).

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