Hajar Mountain Adventures, Ras Al Khaimah
If hiking is your thing, sign up for a tryst with Hajar Mountain Adventures extraordinary hiking, climbing, canyoneering and abseiling experiences. Authorised by the RAK Tourism Development Authority they have custom made wilderness packages where you can pitch a tent and cook your own food. Later, you can weave your way along time-worn paths past some of the oldest settlements in the region.
Prices start from Dh200.
The Obstacle Course (OCR) Race Park – Hudayriyat Island, Abu Dhabi
If you are looking for some adrenaline pumping, gravity defying challenges for you and your kids, then the OCR park in Hudayriyat Island Abu Dhabi is the place to head to. The expansive site boasts the largest permanent obstacle course site in the UAE, aimed to test endurance and fitness of young and old alike.
Using many of the lessons taught in the military, OCR uses a combination of physical challenges strategically designed over different terrains. You can climb, jump or even rope swing your way across obstacles that can change size, complexity, and difficulty to suit experience, skill and fitness levels of participants. The racetrack is 3km for adults and 1.5km track for children. They also have dedicated sessions and specialised staff for people of determination.
General access entry tickets
Children: Dh50 (weekday); Dh75 (weekend)
Adults: Dh100 (weekday); Dh150 (weekend)
The Jais Sledder, Ras Al Khaimah
If you are into adventures in a natural terrain, the newly reopened Jais Sledder in Jebel Jais mountains of Ras Al Khaimah is a must visit. The ride takes you on a one-kilometre trip through the mountainous curves filled with panoramic views along the way. This ISO-certified sledder is designed to seat two people comfortably; children must be accompanied by an adult. The maximum speed you will reach is 40km per hour and the sledders are equipped with a braking system.
Children plus adult (combo offer) Dh60
A SLICE OF HISTORY
Al Buhais Geology Park, Sharjah
Nestled on the plains at the foot of Jebel Buhais near Al Madam, Sharjah, the Buhais Geology Park is a great family trip for hikes, walks or long drives through the mountains.
The park offers an insight into the overall history of the earth, with a special focus on the areas of the emirate of Sharjah.
The main highlight is the outdoor trail through Bronze Age tombs (Wadi Suq period) and several types of rock formations where you can even see a few fossils embedded in the rocks.
On reaching the summit of the trail, you can enjoy a glorious view of the Al Faya and Aqabah Mountains on one side and the plains of Hajar mountains on the other. There are ample picnic spots where you may even befriend a few birds and butterflies and identify trails left behind by birds, animals and insects.
Children under 12: Free
Amphitheatre and Waterfall, Khorafakkan
Want to experience the ambience of ancient Rome in the UAE? Located at the foot of Al Sayed Mountain, is the magnificent amphitheatre inspired by Roman architecture It was designed with a state-of-the-art cooling and acoustics system, making it the ideal out-door venue for major events. A magnificent 45m-high waterfall cascades down next to the amphitheatre which is carved out of natural rock and often illuminated at night.
Dubai Safari Park
Located in Al Warqa 5, this recently renovated park is home to more than 3,000 animals from across the world. It consists of five key attractions, including the African Village, Asian Village, Arabian Desert Safari, Explorer Village, and Adventure Valley.
The main attraction is the Explorer Village where visitors are taken on an animal adventure in a big bus. The Arabian Desert Safari is a drive through experience in which you can see many species of animals from the Arabian Peninsula.
The park is primarily powered by solar energy and now aims to be one of the top 10 zoos in the world, thanks to its commitment to animal conservation, protection and education.
Tickets begin from Dh50.
Mandara Equestrian Club, Abu Dhabi
Located near Deerfields Mall in Shahama, Abu Dhabi, Mandara Equestrian Club is a family-owned business that offers horse rides and other equestrian experiences.
It is a fully licensed riding school, also the only ISO certified riding school in the country which caters to beginners and advanced riders.
Set inside the club is the Mandarina Café which uses produce sourced from local farmers and its own organic farm.
It offers special activities for children including pony rides and pot planting.
Prices: For riding start from Dh275
Camel Farm, Dubai
The farm is located inside the Al Marmoom Conservation Reserve near Al Qudra. It is a quaint and cosy place to get up close with the desert’s favourite animal. Activities include feeding of camels and small farm animals, camel riding, camel hugging therapy and a bedouin camel ride in the surrounding desert. Kids can also get to see animals such as goats, rabbits, deer and birds including chicken and turkeys.
Entry from Dh30
EXOTIC AND ENDANGERED
Al Hefaiyah Conservation Centre, Sharjah
If you want to show your kids the critically endangered Arabian leopard and striped hyena, take them to a trip to the Al Hefaiyah Conservation Centre in Khor Kalba, Sharjah. Set in the pristine landscape of Khor Kalba, facility inhabits 30 native mountain and desert species. It is also one of the few parks in Sharjah with indoor exhibits, featuring snakes, lizards, hedgehogs and scorpions.
There are dedicated enclosures for endangered animals like Arabian leopard, wolf, tahr and caracal or desert lynx which duplicates their natural habitat. An indoor park houses smaller animals, such as hedgehogs, lizards, snakes and large scorpions.
Children below 12: Free
Al Noor Island, Sharjah
Al Noor Island is an exceptionally scenic location in the Khalid lagoon of Sharjah inhabited by more than 70,000 native and exotic trees and plants.
One of the island’s main attractions is the Butterfly House, in which you can spot a hundreds of exotic butterflies comprising over 20 different species brought from different East Asian and South American countries.
The island has recently introduced a Nurture Nature program where children can get to experience and learn about the fascinating joys of gardening, the wonder of cultivating their own fruits, and the beauty of cultivating home-grown flowers and shrubs.
Tickets start from Dh35 for adults, and Dh20 for kids