Dubai: Ready for the weekend? It’s that day of the week where I browse the internet for fun activities to do with my child in the UAE. If you are on a budget, here is a list of places you could visit for free with your family, across the UAE.
1. Early morning bike trail at Mushrif Park
Head to Mushrif Park with your bikes early morning on a weekend.
The Mushrif Park bike trail, which starts right outside the park entrance, is divided into colour-coded zones based on difficulty levels of the trail. Beginners can enjoy the blue zone. There is ample parking at the start of the trail.
Pack a picnic basket and you can head to the Mushrif Park for a relaxing post-cycling breakfast outdoors.
2. Enjoy an evening at Burj Park
The Burj Park, located at the Burj Khalifa Boulevard in Downtown Dubai, is another great place with free outdoor kids’ activities.
The park, alongside the Dubai Fountain, makes for a great view and is known to host some of the best pop-up markets, recreational activities, and game stalls for kids. It features a few iconic statues for a photo-op “for the gram”. The park timings are 9am to 11pm.
Go back to 1969 at the Jumeirah Archeological Site
Get your children interested in archaeology and help them uncover ancient treasures. The Jumeirah Archeological Site hosts remnants of settlements of the Abbasid era which dates to the 9th and 11th centuries. You get to see building structures and other ancient treasures like pottery, coins, tools and more. The site is located at Al Wasl Street, Jumeirah .
3. Free play area at Al Barsha Pond Park
Perfect for play dates, the Al Barsha Pond Park is a huge park in the heart of the Al Barsha residential area.
It features many sandy and shaded play areas for children. The entry to the park is free. There is a huge pond at the center of the park, which has walking tracks, cycling tracks, and jogging tracks. The park has enough green spaces for families to sit and relax as children play. It has amenities such as parking area, washrooms and exercising equipment for public use. The park is open from 8am to 11.30pm on weekends. On some days, you might also find a Book Hero truck parked at the entrance, where you can get books for just Dh10 and Dh20.
4. Free Drive-in cinema at Al Jada
Drive into the free drive-in cinema to watch a free movie with your family in the comfort of your car. Once you reach there, turn off your car’s headlights and tune your car radio to 87.7 FM.
They frequently feature animated and kid-friendly movies. More details about movie and timings can be found on their website https://aljadamovies.com/
Note: Please arrive 10 minutes before the movie starts
5. Free mini splash park at Sharjah’s Al Qasba
If you are trying to find an activity for the kids to cool off in the summer, the Musical Fountain in Sharjah, Al Qasba might be the perfect place to visit. Children can play around this mini splash park featuring small fountains, which splash cool water and light up at night. Families can enjoy the view of The Eye of the Emirates in the backdrop. Make sure to carry extra clothing for the little ones, as they will get wet. The Musical Fountains operate every day from 5pm to 11pm.
6. Green Mubazzarah in Al Ain
Right at the foot of Jebel Hafeet lies Green Mubazzarah - a popular picnic spot.
The area is packed with families enjoying the sun, adventurers trekking up the mountain and children playing on the swings. Dip your toes in the water streams along the grassy hillsides. The spot is known for hot springs and waterfalls to enjoy. Children will have plenty of activities and space to play. It is open all day, seven days a week.
7. Enjoy food and art
The Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation is hosting a whimsical pop-up called Cake and Sprinkles, this weekend.
Inspired by Farah Al Qasimi's exhibition "General Behaviour", the pop-up invites people to enjoy scrumptious food and drinks while exploring the commissioned artworks or take part in entertaining games at the arcade zone. Entry to the pop-up that ends on August 31 is free. It is open from Saturday to Thursday, 9am to 10pm and on Fridays 2pm to 10pm.
8. Solar-powered benches, playground and more at Masdar Park
A recreational space that sprawls across 2,500 square metres, the Masdar Park is open daily from 9am to 10pm. It features a children’s playground, a music wall and art installations themed on sustainability. Visitors can charge their phones and digital devices using the park's solar-powered benches and interact with 'The Tree of Light’ made from recycled building materials. The Tree of Light changes colours when touched.
In addition to a picnic area, the park has eight shops and food and beverage outlets, each housed inside brightly coloured, solar-powered recycled shipping containers.
Masdar Park also has many cafés and restaurants housed inside recycled shipping containers powered by solar panels. Besides great food, refreshments and a huge play area, visitors can enjoy the 2.5km-long Al Mamsha trail starting at Masdar Park – perfect for running, walking, biking and even fitness sessions, with exercise equipment dotted along the trail’s route. A football field and basketball court are also available for bookings.