While the staggering wealth of Dubai might not immediately shout out “family-friendly town”, once you start exploring the city you’ll discover that the Emiratis take their family fun-time very seriously. From aquariums and playing with dolphins to indoor rock climbing and glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, you can do it all in Dubai. Greer and Samiera experienced just the tip of the iceberg while filming the Dubai episode of Flight Centre's 48 Hour Destination TV series, and if they were to try everything… well, they’d probably still be there.
So, where to start? If you’re up for a good time in Dubai with the whole family, you can’t go wrong with a day like this.
Who doesn’t love Lego, right? Legoland Dubai is the first Legoland park in the region and the seventh in the world. If you’re big on stats, check out these numbers: There are more than 40 interactive rides, 15,000 Lego models, the whole park was built using 60 million Lego bricks and the theme park is made up of six lands, both indoor and outdoor – Lego City, Kingdoms, Imagination, Adventure, Miniland and Factory.
While it is awe-inspiring to see all of the incredible Lego creations up close, especially the Lego-sized Burj Khalifa, the real fun for kids is in the doing. At Legoland Dubai, little ones can earn their Lego driver’s licence on the realistic track at the Driving School in Lego City, strap in for a thrilling ride on the Dragon roller coaster in Kingdoms, play the hero at Rescue Academy and – of course – have a go at creating something of their very own on the interactive play table in Miniland.
When everyone’s done gazing and making, there’s the splashing to get into. That’s right, Legoland also has a water park. The kids will love the wave pool and building their own Lego raft on the lazy river, plus there’s a DUPLO splash safari for toddlers too.
From Fun-time To Dinnertime
After a big day of adventure, it’s wonderful to know that when evening comes, there’s a place where you’ll all be looked after like kings and queens. While Dubai offers a mind-boggling choice of family-friendly restaurants, one establishment that welcomes children and is also a huge favourite with adults is Qasr Al Sultan, the restaurant where Samiera takes Greer during her 48 hours in Dubai.
Qasr Al Sultan restaurant
With the desert as its backdrop, Qasr Al Sultan is more of an experience than a restaurant. Designed to capture the essence of Arabian hospitality at its most opulent, a night at Qasr Al Sultan like stepping back in time and being treated to a sumptuous dinner at the Sultan’s palace.
One way to start your evening is by relaxing on the comfy cushions in the bakhoor-scented majlis (literally ‘place of sitting’), as you sip traditional Arabic coffee and sample the sweet and juicy dates. Lego-spent children will no doubt find new reserves of energy as they are introduced to the Kids’ Club by one of Qasr Al Sultan’s trained childcare specialists – and you can sink deeper into those cushions confident in the knowledge that the kids will be having a ball, with activities such as camel rides and pony rides, as well as arts and crafts.
Before dining, you may like to browse through the Qasr Al Sultan souk (marketkplace), which has been designed to recreate the atmosphere of an ancient shopping district, with sellers offering traditional handcrafts such as ornate jewellery and lavish carpets.
The souk leads to the food bazaar and once you’re there, the world is your oyster… or your kofta, or your fish. Here, a variety of live cooking stations use more than 500 ingredients, turning out delights such as shawarma and a steady stream of hot, fluffy Arabic bread, zesty sausages, as well as grilled chicken, lamb shoulder and more.
As captivating as the food bazaar may be, you’ll soon find yourself distracted by the real show: pearl diving songs, tanoura (an Egyptian folk dance), dabke (an Arabic folk dance), belly dances, falcon shows and more, all performed live on stage. This is what so many guests love – it’s the classic “dinner and a show” this time with exotic Arabian cuisine and enchanting live entertainment.
In front of the stage is an expansive, open-air dining area within which every table has a good view of the show. You can bring tasty delights from the food bazaar to your table, as well as choose more delicious morsels from the sumptuous buffets as well.
Whether you’re travelling with children or not, Qasr al Sultan is place of delicious food, enchanting ambience and friendly faces… and the perfect finishing touch to a fantastic day in Dubai.