Why not book yourself for a camel encounter this weekend? Image Credit: Gulf News archives

It’s that time of the week again folks, where you need to dust off those comfy shoes, gather the kids and get going. There’s a lot of fun to be had – even without dipping into the bank reserves. Here’s a look at some free or next to free things to do this weekend.


Ripe Market: On Saturday, take a ride down to The Springs Souk where you’ll find organic food, fresh bread and home décor for the grown-ups and plenty of arts and crafts activities for the kiddos. Timings: 10am to 10pm. Those under 13 get in free.

BurJuman Mall: The mall is playing host to a street food festival from around the world, and the family is invited to join. On the menu are pizzas, pastas, and kebabs, but also free activities for kids – and adults. For the kids, there are face painting sessions and slime stations. And for teens and parents, there’s a spot of billiards and foosball to be enjoyed. Timings: 12pm to 10pm. Entry is free.

‘Matilda’ by The Hive: The old Roald Dahl story is getting a stage retelling and you’re welcome to join. See Matilda foil the evil headmistress’s plans at Zabeel Ladies Club on Saturday and Sunday. Timings 12pm, 3pm and 7pm at Oud Maitha Theatre. Entry is free.

Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque reopens to visitors
Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: For a (free) cultural treat, head over to this mosque, made of marble from Macedonia. While here, take a good look at the minarets, which feature elements of Mamluk, Ottoman and Fatimid styles of construction. Each element of this mosque has been carefully curated; there is glass work, mosaics, and sand blasted glass displaying traditional Islamic designs. To get the most out of your trip, sign on for a complimentary guided tour, which runs every hour from 10am to 8pm between Saturday and Thursday. And you can even try the new ‘Unseen glimpse from the mosque’ tour, where visitors can get on-board a golf cart and learn all about Islamic art and architecture. There are exclusive stopovers on this tour. Tours are at 10am, 11am and 5pm. Note: You will need to preregister on the mosque’s website to visit.

COVID-19 requirements
Starting from 15 June 2022, in line with the precautionary measures in force, all residents, and tourists (applicable to those above 16 years of age) must show 'green' status on Alhosn app.
Visitors coming from outside the UAE and who face difficulties using Alhosn App can show an internationally approved vaccine certificate that testifies that they have taken two doses and a negative PCR test taken during the 14 days.

Emirates Heritage Village: Walk back in time as you explore this village – located near Marina Mall – and you’ll learn a lot about the nation’s traditional practices, from housebuilding to palm frond weaving and more. The best part? It’s completely free. Timings: Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 4pm.

Camel Souk: Introduce your kids to a Ship of the Desert when you visit this market with photo-rich opportunities. There are young Arabian camels and adult camels – and guides who will explain how you can tell the difference. Head here early morning so you can do a meet and greet – without worrying about the sharpness of the sun. Visitors may find themselves on the sidelines of a mock camel race or centrestage for a photo and petting session.


Sharjah Art Museum: Introduce your children to the art of the country with a visit to this museum. The journey begins when you see the building, located near the Al Corniche post office. It features a wind tower, two wings and 68 halls full of things to see. This year, it is playing host to ‘A Century in Flux’, an exhibition with modernist paintings, and paintings, sculptures, and mixed media artworks from the Barjeel Art Foundation. Keep an eye out for workshops on site – from painting to sculpture, there are options for all those artistically inclined.

Sharjah Aquarium: Learn about the rich marine life that the UAE has to offer when you visit this government educational centre, which is home to 21 aquariums and more than 100 aquatic species including sea horses, Caribbean reef sharks and moray eels. This centre also has a turtle rehabilitation program where sick and injured creatures are treated before being led back to the sea. Timings: 8am to 8pm.

See an age-old tradition play out right in front of your eyes in Ajman.


Ajman Dhow Yard: See an age-old tradition play out right in front of your eyes when you visit this ‘workshop’ of ships on the banks of Ajman Creek. The wooden boats had a major role in fishing, pearling, and trading. Watch master craftsmen mould these vehicles of water transport using tools handed down from generation to generation.