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In The Women’s Web ‘Travel The World With Kids’ series, we talk to mums from all over the globe who are interested in exploring their backyard attractions with their tiny tots! We hope you find them useful, if someday you choose to visit their part of the world.
Presented in Q&A format, this one is with Lisa Wielgosz from Dubai, who blogs about her adventures at Baby Loves To Travel.
Dubai – the land of desert safaris, gleaming towers reaching for the skies and – the ‘place where the world comes to shop’ – as they proudly announce! We’ve seen Tom Cruise’s death-defying stunts atop the Burj Khalifa, now let’s hear Lisa talk about child-friendly activities in Dubai.
Hey Lisa! Do introduce yourself to our readers.
I was born and raised in Australia but since meeting my Canadian husband I’ve lived in and visited various spots around the globe. Our current port of call is Dubai (United Arab Emirates) where we have lived for almost two years. I became a first time mama in 2009, and in early 2011 we welcomed baby number two! Given the international flavour of our household, we do a lot of travel, sometimes for necessity but most often for pleasure.
You might think that travelling would take a backseat with an infant and toddler on the scene. Not so! I’ve done more travelling in the past two years than in my entire life before that. Although there are many issues and considerations when travelling with small children, I have learnt that it is still possible to travel globally with young kids and have a great time.
I started blogging to help document our travels and to also help other parents who may have similar questions to what I did when we first started travelling with a very young baby. It can be quite daunting and I used to do a lot of extensive research before each trip; so I thought why not share the knowledge with like-minded parents.
What are your suggestions for parents visiting Dubai with young kids?
Dubai is a fabulous city for kids of all ages, and for a family travelling to Dubai there are plenty of activities to keep kids and parents entertained. Except for the summer months (which are extraordinarily hot) Dubai has lovely weather and visitors are guaranteed blue skies and endless sunshine. The city has a thriving beach culture, which may come as a surprise to people not familiar with the region. Beautiful beaches run the entire length of the city and wherever you’re located you’re not too far away from a great beach with white sandy shores.
The city also has quite a few great outdoor parks to let the kids run free, and who would think that a desert city like Dubai would have such fantastic lush green parks – but it does!
In relation to activities, Dubai has:
– souks to explore
– phenomenal water parks that children (and parents) of all ages can appreciate
– outstanding world class aquariums
– an amazing fountain show
– indoor skiing and ice skating
– and for older kids a desert safari that involves drives through the dunes and a visit to a camel farm.
What have been some of your favourite outings in Dubai with your kids?
Some of the most memorable outings that we have enjoyed as a family include:
1) The Dubai Fountain: A visit to Dubai would not be complete without seeing the Dubai Fountain in action, it’s truly a sight to behold.
2) The Dubai Museum at Al Fahidi Fort: The museum cleverly uses life-size dioramas to tell the story of Dubai. The galleries recreate life-like scenes of souks, traditional Arab houses, mosques, desert life, a date farm and the pearling industry. It’s located in ‘old Dubai’ and you can complete your visit to the museum with a ride on a dhow down Dubai Creek to Deira where you can take a leisurely stroll through the spice and gold souks.
3) The Dubai Mall Aquarium: My toddler can’t get enough of this aquarium and it is a weekly feature on our activity schedule. It’s such a great aquarium that I don’t mind the multiple visits.
4) Wild Wadi Water Park: Located in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab, Wild Wadi has over 30 attractions, and can be enjoyed by kids of all ages.
Dubai is well-known for its shopping extravaganzas! But are there any particular shopping areas that you think kids will enjoy?
In Dubai we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping, but I think there are 2 malls in particular that stand out for also providing excellent entertainment for kids. They are the ‘Mall of the Emirates’ and the ‘Dubai Mall’. Mall of the Emirates is famous for housing ‘Ski Dubai’ and Dubai Mall has the aquarium and ice skating rink. They both also contain state of the art cinemas and play centres, as well as themed restaurants aimed at the younger market, such as the ‘Rainforest Café’.
Any kid-friendly day trips out from your city?
Most definitely! We recently visited the Arabian Wildlife Centre in Sharjah and our toddler absolutely adored the experience. It’s an indoor air-conditioned zoo which means it can be visited comfortably all year round. Only a short 40 minute drive from Dubai, it’s a hidden little gem that many visitors to Dubai are probably unaware of. The Centre houses the world’s largest collection of Arabian wildlife and it really is an impressive array of animals, many of which we’d never seen before. If you enjoy visiting zoos, another good zoo to visit in a neighbouring Emirate is the Al Ain Wildlife Park.
Another trip worthwhile doing out of Dubai (though you may need 2 days to fully appreciate the experience) is a visit to the Musandam Peninsula in Oman. It’s a beautiful coastal drive along the twisty peninsula roads with incredible views of untouched stretches of beach and steep mountainous rocky cliffs. Whilst there, we went on a traditional dhow cruise (in pic) around the Musandam Fjords which I highly recommend. It is a great way to see the area – little villages and forts nestled into rocky mountains, beautiful blue water and we even had the pleasure of spotting a couple of dolphins!
For more great tips about travelling with babies, toddlers & young children please visit my blog, Baby Loves To Travel. You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook .
Thanks Lisa. That was most enlightening!
*Photo credit: Lisa Wielgosz (Lisa & her family on a traditional dhow cruise.)
Previous Interviews In The ‘Travel With Kids’ Series:
Sarah from New Zealand
Toni from Manila
Maid In Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur
Uma from Chennai
The Mad Momma from Delhi
Lakshmi from Hyderabad
Sunayana from Kolkata
Sunita from Pune
Anuradha from Mumbai
Artnavy from Bengaluru
Leonny from Singapore
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