Top 12 things to do in UAE malls: Indoor rollercoaster in Dubai to Abu Dhabi's snow park

Shopping centres in the country have evolved to include high-adrenalin indoor activities

Zero Latency is a free-roam virtual reality gaming space at The Galleria Al Maryah Island. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Malls in the UAE offer much more than only shops and food courts. They have transformed into entertainment complexes, complete with different activities for all ages and energy levels.

From a snow park to a roller coaster, there are plenty of things to check out if you fancy high-adrenalin indoor fun, especially during hot summer months.

Here, The National rounds up some of the in-mall attractions in the UAE to check out.

Snow Abu Dhabi, Reem Mall

Brought to the UAE capital by the makers of the popular Ski Dubai, Snow Abu Dhabi is sub-zero indoor park that opened recently at Reem Mall.

The 9,732-square-metre facility is on the second level of the new mall, and features a number of snow-themed activities, such as the Troll Bowl, where visitors get inside an inflatable ball that rolls down a snowy slope, as well as the Flight of the Snowy Owl, a suspended rollglider that travels around the park.

Unlike Ski Dubai, Snow Abu Dhabi does not offer a skiing experience. There are restaurants and cafes inside the enchanted forest-themed snow park.

Open daily; 10am-10pm, Sunday to Thursday, 10am-midnight, Friday to Saturday; from Dh215; Reem Mall, Al Reem Island;

Play DXB, Dubai Mall

Being the largest mall in the UAE, Dubai Mall has plenty of indoor attractions, one of which is a virtual reality-theme park called Play DXB.

It's a cross between an arcade and an amusement park with rides, but all the activities are modernised by VR. The two-storey venue is ideal for a family day out, with rides and games for all ages.

Open daily; 10am-10pm, Monday to Thursday; 10am-midnight, Friday to Sunday; from Dh200; Downtown Dubai;

The Storm Coaster, Dubai Hills Mall

One of the newer shopping centres in the emirate, Dubai Hills Mall houses the world's “fastest indoor roller coaster”.

Perfect for adrenalin junkies, The Storm Coaster is described as a "multivehicle inversion coaster wrapping its way throughout the entire building”. A single ride lasts about two minutes.

Open daily, 10am-10pm; Dh55; Dubai Hills;

Immersive Gamebox, City Centre Mirdif and City Centre Al Zahia

The UK gaming company has brought its Immersive Gamebox concept to the UAE earlier this year.

Located inside the Magic Planet outlets of both City Centre Mirdif in Dubai and City Centre Al Zahia in Sharjah, the gaming zone uses high-tech rooms equipped with patented touch screens, 3D motion tracking and surround sound.

The experience is similar to playing virtual reality games, but promise an almost gearless experience.

The games, which are also available in Arabic, are made for two to six players, with each player required to wear a visor. There are currently 12 titles to choose from, including the popular Squid Game and Angry Birds. They typically run for 15 to 30 minutes – but some titles last up to an hour.

Open daily; 10am-10pm, Monday to Thursday, 10am-midnight, Friday to Sunday; from Dh45; City Centre Mirdif and City Centre Al Zahia;

Clymb Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall

Clymb Abu Dhabi, which is connected to Yas Mall, is home to the world's widest indoor skydiving flight chamber and the region’s tallest indoor climbing wall, The Summyt which is 43 metres.

Climbers can choose from five walls of different heights, and visitors can also try indoor skydiving.

Wednesday to Sunday; noon-9pm; from Dh100; Yas Island;

Glitch, Al Ghurair Centre Dubai

The indoor entertainment complex is located on the second floor of Al Ghurair Centre in Deira.

Spanning 3,716 square metres, the space is a cross between an arcade, a theme park and a playground. More than 30 activities are peppered across the space. Children as young as four can experience one of the main attractions at the park, Pandora's Peak, where there are cloud-shaped structures to climb through. They reach the top of a 10-metre-high slide, which loops back to the ground.

All the games and activities inside are individually priced, but there are deals on offer depending on the group activity. For example, there are packages for the roller glider starting at Dh35. Bowling starts at Dh30 per round, and games at the arcade start at Dh25.

Open daily; 10am-10pm, Sunday to Thursday, 10am-midnight, Friday and Saturday; from Dh25; Deira;

Rainforest Cafe, Yas Mall and Dubai Festival City Mall

Those looking for a more laid-back experience, the Rainforest Cafe is a good option.

The cafe is designed to mimic the environment of the jungle, complete with greenery, animal figurines and ambient nature sounds.

On the menu are American-style classics, such as the rainforest burger, lava nachos, chicken tenders and Amazon fajitas. The family-focused venue is also perfect for hosting birthday parties, which is one of the restaurant's main services.

Open daily, noon-10pm, Yas Mall. Open daily, noon-11pm, Monday to Thursday, noon-midnight, Friday to Sunday at Dubai Festival City Mall;

Dubai Ice Rink, Dubai Mall

One of highlights within Dubai Mall is the Olympic-sized ice rink, located on the ground floor.

Aside from leisure ice skating, the venue also runs an academy that accepts students year-round. The rink can be rented for private events, such as birthdays or a corporate team building. It also runs a regular DJ night, a 90-minute ice skating experience coupled with dance music, topped off with falling faux snow.

Open daily, 10am-midnight; from Dh90 per person; Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai;

Zero Latency Abu Dhabi, The Galleria Al Maryah Island

Another virtual reality-powered attraction, Zero Latency at The Galleria Al Maryah Island invites groups of up to eight players at once to “escape the restraints of the material world for a while”.

The free-roam VR space transports players to different virtual worlds, where they are either shooting zombies or running through a parallel space and time.

Open daily; 10-am10pm; Dh150 onwards; The Galleria Al Maryah Island;

Velocity Slide, World Trade Centre Mall

Inside the World Trade Centre Mall, you'll find the Velocity Slide, described as the “longest and tallest stainless-steel slide in the Middle East". There are two slides within the attraction, one is 68 metres long and the other is 54 metres long.

With a sliding speed of two to three metres per second, the structure is a unique way for thrill-seekers to zip through the mall.

Open daily; 10am-10pm, Sunday to Thursday; 10am-midnight, Friday and Saturday; Dh25 for one round, Dh40 for two rounds; WTC Abu Dhabi;

Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates

Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates was the first of its kind in the Middle East when it opened in 2005. It features five ski slopes, a family-friendly snow park and an array of other winter-themed activities, such as meeting penguins and Snow Cinema, where visitors can watch a movie in sub-zero temperatures under a cosy blanket, complete with a hot chocolate.

Open daily, 10am-midnight; ski lessons start at Dh255 per adult; Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha 1;

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Mall

About 140 species of aquatic animals are housed in the expansive Dubai Mall aquarium, including 400 sharks and rays.

They can be viewed from the outside, but entering the tunnel allows you to choose from and book other activities, such as feeding sessions and up-close encounters with several animals, including penguins, otters and sharks.

Open daily; 10am-11pm, Monday to Friday, 10am-midnight, Saturday and Sunday; from Dh199; Downtown Dubai;

Updated: August 24, 2023, 12:17 PM