From theme parks to safaris: Dubai is the ultimate playground for children

Aaaarghh, "Imogen shouted, in the fabulous moment of surprise when we came face to face with Toothed of How to train your dragon, feeling the beast's breath on our cheeks.

We have been suspended from the traces of mountains in Motiongate, one of the main attractions of the new Dubai park complex.

Dubai has long been a favorite family destination, but Dubai Parks seems to have lifted the shot. Designed to mimic Florida theme parks, the difference here is that the six interconnected attractions are all in one place.

Dazzling: Dubai's business district, home to the world's tallest building

In December 2016, the Six Flags roller coaster park was opened with the final part, which will be inaugurated next year.

Until then it is perhaps more suitable for families with younger children – perfect for us with Maisie, eight, and Imogen, six, in tow. And if the crowded theme parks are not your bag, the trick is to avoid weekends and public holidays.

The parks are vast, but the weather is right and you will not have many queues. In fact, How To Train Your Dragon was the only race that we queued all day.

We started in the Legoland water park, for children aged two to twelve, with all the classic ingredients of the water park. Our favorite was the pilot, where you slipped on a mat and turned through the individual tubes before returning for a final race kissed by the sun through the rollers.

Almost hilarious is a desert safari tour. In the past, caravans of camels carried traders across the sands. Today the caravans are Toyota Land Cruisers, whizzing through the landscape, identifying every feature, taking advantage of the dunes and abandoning their steep slopes like the freestylers.

Our driver, Alfred, has been doing it for 22 years, and it really takes skill to maintain control over the deflated tires with the dust rising from other vehicles.

Finish in a field where children come to ride a camel, try sandboarding, do a henna tattoo and watch a starlit belly dance show and juggling show. It is a rather stapled tourist paper, but children love it.

We stayed at the Oberoi in the Business Bay district of Dubai, home to the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

The Oberoi is well located for the city's parks and shopping centers and boasts a large rooftop pool. On Fridays it hosts Karnival, a renowned brunch, the flower at the eyelet is the meringue of the fruit of your dragon's fruit, the "cooked" meringue in liquid nitrogen. It's amazing to think that this entire mini-city was built from scratch in just 12 years – the breathtaking construction pace here as the view of the Burj from our 17th-floor hotel window.

Fun in the sun: the Legoland water park is suitable for children between the ages of 2 and 12

Perhaps the most intriguing project of current development is however Al Zorah, in Ajman, also known as the Forgotten Emirate, located 25 minutes from the Dubai International Airport. Al Zorah is an eco-development centered around some of the most beautiful mangroves in the Middle East, with a marina, championship golf course, nature reserve and a long stretch of privileged coastline.

Visit it now and you'll have it practically on your own.

The man to know is Brian Parry from, who has set up mangrove kayaks and a wakeboard cable park.

Brian explained what makes the area special while walking through a network of narrow channels. "The ecosystem is extremely healthy because it has not been touched for so long," he said. "The mangroves are the highest of the UAE and we have 118 different species of birds".

We felt like real explorers and the girls screamed with joy when a flock of pink flamingos appeared. "The flamingos follow the tide through the mangroves, feeding themselves as they go," said Brian.

Later that day, we tried wakeboarding, the expert English instructors who raised Maisie. She is now engaged.

Instead of being towed by a boat, wakeboarding plans to hold on to a rope attached to a cord mechanism that takes you around a circuit.

All the infrastructure is able to develop housing for 100,000 people, but currently the only hotel that has been built is (yes, another) Oberoi, a sober design covered in limestone by the famous architect Pierro Lissoni.

The kids loved the 85 meter long pool and the wave jump on the private beach, while we enjoyed the serene architectural design, free yoga classes and excellent food. It was special to be here at the start of the project. But hurry up, with the pace of construction work, there will be a whole city on site before too long.


The Oberoi hotels (, 020 3198 0769) offer seven nights in a B & B for a family of four for £ 950pp. Daily passes to Dubai Parks and Resorts are £ 51pp (, and desert safaris start at £ 64pp. More information on Emirates ( operates round-trip flights from London £ 442pp.

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