Dubai: Ready for the weekend? If you are a parent looking for places around the UAE to spend some quality family time, why not pack a picnic and head to one of these nine spots across the UAE. Choose one in your city or take a road trip to another Emirate and have a relaxing fun time with your children.
1. Al Qudra Lakes, Dubai
Take a trip to Al Qudra Lakes, a manmade oasis perfect for a private evening with family out-of-town. Unpack your picnic hamper while observing the swans, ducks and the flamingos that gather to fish during the winter. This is also the perfect season to catch sight of some migratory birds that nest in the UAE during the winter months. Cyclists can also take advantage of the area's cycling track, with road and sand bikes available for rent on-site. While there are no dedicated barbecue facilities on-site, you can come prepared with your own barbecue equipment – just remember to clean up after you're done to avoid damaging the protected environment. It tends to get cooler at night, so make sure to pack some warm clothes.
2. Hatta, Dubai
Venture out to the exclave of Hatta and set up your tent and barbecue station at the Hatta Hill Park. Climb up the tower at the highest point of the hill for a captivating view of the rolling Hajar mountain range. Then head back to the park to make the most of running tracks, sports fields and children's playing areas. You can also visit to the Hatta Wadi Hub for some adrenaline-boosting fun.
3. Zabeel Park, Dubai
This is one of Dubai's favourite picnicking spots. From a shaded lawn to an amphitheatre, there are plenty of spots you can choose from to sit and spend time with your family. The park is home to the Dubai Frame, a popular landmark – great for some Instagram shots. You can go up the frame to enjoy the splendid views of both old and new Dubai. Little ones can explore three different technology-based zones featuring educational exhibits and you can also hop on a boat ride on the lake inside the park. Children can also enjoy the playground inside the park.
Entry: Dh5 (Children under 2 enjoy for free)
4. Mushrif Park, Dubai
Ready for a barbecue picnic with a side of adventure, without having to drive too far from the city? Head to Mushrif Park. The park has several recreational activities including a treetop, zipline-based obstacle course for both adults and children. Visitors say that the park also houses a variety of birds – keep an eye out for the Arabian babblers, yellow throated sparrows or the rare pallid scops owl. The park also has an international village, which has replicas of houses from around the world.
Entry: Dh3 per person, Dh10 per car
5. Al Qasba, Sharjah
Al Qasba is a prominent tourist attraction near Al Khan Corniche Street in Sharjah. It is also a waterfront town. The canal along Al Qasba is the largest entertainment district in Sharjah. It has various attractions such as art houses, theatres, and kids’ play zones. You can even enjoy a traditional boat ride.
Entry: Free (Additional cost for the attractions)
6. Al Majaz Waterfront, Sharjah
Located in the heart of Sharjah, the Al Majaz Waterfront is a popular family destination overlooking the Khaled Lagoon. Attractions include the spectacular Sharjah Musical Fountain, boat rides, international restaurants and cafés, a jogging track, snack and drink kiosks, a mosque, the Maraya Art Park, a splash park for kids with a children's playground, mini golf for all ages, and greenery all around. Al Majaz Waterfront is also known to host a variety of exciting events, concerts and festivals throughout the year.
Entry: Park entry is free, Dh25 to access the playground
7. Umm Al Emarat Park, Abu Dhabi
Umm Al Emarat Park is one of the biggest and oldest parks in Dubai. It various features various such as Botanic Garden, amphitheatre, Wisdom Garden, Shade House, Evening Garden, Animal Barn and Great Lawn make it a perfect picnic spot for families. The Shade House is 30-meters- tall structure that houses 30 plant species and is designed in a way to minimise heat and make the park cooler.
8. Heritage Park, Abu Dhabi
The Heritage Park is located in Al Zahiyah next to Mina Port on the Corniche Road (East) and is perfect for a picnic. With fountains and rock features scattered across the park, it is famous with residents who live nearby, for an evening stroll. For people who love barbecue, there are specific barbecue pits at the park that must be used. Little ones can enjoy swings and slides in the play area.
9. Al Sufouh Park, Abu Dhabi
Head to this colourful park, where kids will have a wonderful time in the large play area. The park also has shaded spots perfect for small family picnics. There’s a basketball court and a football pitch for a mini match with your gang.