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From free events to major discounts across lifestyle and shopping, residents can look forward to a fun weekend. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) announced that July 21, Friday would be a day off for private sector employees.

If you have Saturdays and Sundays off, this would mean a three-day weekend. With the ongoing summer vacations, this is the perfect time to enjoy a couple of family days enjoy the various activities and destinations across the country.

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Free event

Children who love animated movies will love this one. The Galleria on Al Maryah Island will host the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who will meet and greet fans. The mall will also have three live shows every day until July 23, along with a live performance. There will also be a themed activity zone for children until July 30.

Date: 14 -23 July 2023,  Show timings: 2:30 PM, 4:30 PM and 7:30 PM. Location: Central Kitchens, Level 3, Al Maryah Island - Abu Dhabi Global Market Square. Cost: Free.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
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Free entry for kids

Take your celeb-loving little ones to Madame Tussauds for free this summer. Children younger than 13 can ‘meet’ their favourite stars free when with a paying adult. This is just one of many Kids Go Free offers available across the UAE this summer. Head to the Going Out section in Gulf News to get a full list of these deals.

Timings: Open 7 days a week, Monday to Satuday: From 12noon to 8pm, Friday and Saturday: From 11am to 9pm. Location: Bluewaters Mall. Cost: Ticket for adult, prices start from Dh145.

Cool sports and activities

With a 545m indoor track, you can run comfortably in air-conditioned bliss at the Dubai Sports World this summer. You can enter for free after registering on the app, and just pay for services you use. The destination will stay open until September 10.

Timings: Open 7 days, 8am to 12 midnight. Location: Arena, Dubai World Trade Centre - Sheikh Zayed Road.           Cost: Pay per activity.

Dubai Sports World 2023
Dubai Sports World Image Credit: Supplied

Night swimming

The emirate has opened three-night swimming beaches, in Jumeirah 2, Jumeirah 3, and Umm Suqeim 1, where you can enjoy swimming after dark until midnight. These destinations also feature changing rooms and showers, and you can refuel following the swim at the parked food trucks.

Head to a waterpark

After a hiatus, Wild Wadi Waterpark is open for the summer featuring 30 rides and various packages for visitors. Thrill-lovers can try the fast Jumeirah Sceirah, where you zoom down a 120-meter slide at a thrilling speed of 80 km/h, or the Tantrum Alley, with two slides and three tornadoes. For the less adventurous folk, chill at Breaker’s Bay, one of the largest wave pools in the Middle East, or float down Juha’s Journey, a 360-metre-long lazy river.

Timings: Daily, 10am to 6pm. Location: Jumeirah Street, opposite Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqeim 3. Cost: Tickets start at Dh215 per person (Dh195 per child).

Explore Chinatown

The Chinatown in Dubai Mall is now bustling and features various retail and dining outlets for visitors to explore. The entire area has a different vibe and it can be a unique experience to enjoy while staying indoors and avoiding the summer heat.

Timings: Open 7 days a week, Monday to Thursday: From 10am to 11pm, Thurday, Friday and Saturday: From 10am to 12midnight. Location: Downtown Dubai. Cost: Free.

Shopping and discounts

Now that the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) is ongoing, shoppers can enjoy major discounts and participate in competitions across the city. There are several events and concerts happening as part of DSS. The Abu Dhabi Summer Shopping Season by Abu Dhabi Retail is ongoing as well so you can enjoy discounts until September 10.

Staycation deal

Many hotels have summer-special deals for residents. One such deal is a 35 per cent discount on best available rates at Address Beach Resort. The hotel is also offering free breakfast, and a 30 per cent discount on spa and dining. You have to show your Emirates ID to avail the offer.

Nature day out

Take your little ones to the indoor Butterfly Garden for Dh55 per person. The climate-controlled domes featuring thousands of butterfly species is worth a visit and educational as well.

Timings: Open 7 days a week, From 9am to 6pm. Location: Al Barsha South 3, Dubailand Area, Next to Dubai Miracle Downtown. Cost: Dh 55 per person.

Educational trip

Arabia’s Wildlife Centre in Sharjah Desert Park has an indoor area to visit and learn about baboons, wolves and cheetahs, among other species.

Timings: Open 7 days a week From 9am to 6pm. Location: The Sharjah Desert Park is located 30km east of Sharjah city along the Al Dhaid Highway (E88) at interchange 9. Cost: This one is also budget friendly at Dh15 for adults and free for children younger than 12.