Things to do with children in Abu Dhabi, from museums to gaming

There's no shortage of things to do for youngsters (or teenagers) in the capital

Abu Dhabi Children's Library helps introduce little ones to big stories. Photo: Abu Dhabi Children's Library
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Abu Dhabi tops the list of cities with child-friendly entertainment, with the world’s largest indoor theme park, exceptional youth sports leagues and the world’s fastest rollercoaster.

In addition to its long-running status as one of the safest cities in the world, Abu Dhabi is arguably the most family-friendly of the seven emirates. From arts and culture to gaming, the capital is brimming with entertainment options for children.

Arts and culture: Abu Dhabi Children's Library; The Children's Museum

Abu Dhabi Children’s Library is a vibrant, cultural hub with areas for children to read, discover and participate in year-round programmes such as Stream (science, technology, reading, engineering, art and maths) workshops, exhibitions and reading initiatives. The colourful, eclectic space features a three-dimensional play area, a desert-inspired landscape with dunes, studio space, art room and open-air auditorium. Membership is free and available to children up to age 15.

Open daily from 9am-8pm, Saturday to Thursday, 2pm-8pm on Friday. Admission is free. Cultural Foundation, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street.

The Children’s Museum at Louvre Abu Dhabi gives families the opportunity to experience the museum’s art through immersive workshops and tours tailor made for young visitors. The museum regularly hosts exhibitions such as Picturing the Cosmos, an ultimate space adventure, which is on until June 2025.

Open from 10am-midnight on Sunday, and Tuesday to Saturday. Galleries and exhibitions close at 6:30pm on weekdays and 8:30pm at weekends. Admission is free for children under 18, Dh63 for adults 18+, Dh31.50 for teachers. Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island.

Sports: Yas Kartzone; Zayed Sports City

For youngsters with a need for speed, Yas Kartzone offers adrenalin-fuelled fun. The 1km track features a maze of loops and turns for drivers to navigate at whatever speed they like, whether it is moderately paced or pedal to the metal. With three different track configurations and more than 45 karts, Yas Kartzone is for children of all ages.

The kids category is for five to seven year olds, with 10-minute track sessions in Bambino Karts. The Junior category is for eight to 12 year olds, with 12-minute sessions in Junior Karts. All gear, including helmets and driver suits, are provided. All participants must attend a safety session beforehand.

Open daily from 5pm-11:30pm, Sunday to Saturday. Admission is Dh55 for children, Dh80 for juniors. Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island.

With basketball courts, football pitches, padel courts, ice-skating rinks and a bowling alley, Zayed Sports City is the ideal place for sports enthusiasts. It’s also home to Mubadala Arena, which hosts Jiu-Jitsu training and competitions. In addition to having top sports facilities, several youth sports clubs such as Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Abu Dhabi Little Sluggers and the Champions Football Academy are also located there. Children are welcome to join in or parents can book facilities as needed.

Open daily. Prices and times vary based on facility and activity. Airport Road, Al Rawdah.

Leisure and gaming: Orange Wheels; Zero Latency

Orange Wheels aims to revolutionise indoor entertainment and educational activities for children aged six months all the way up to eight years. There are several locations across the emirate including Reem Mall, Al Wahda Mall and Raha Mall. Orange Wheels brings together physical play, music, dance, discovery, and arts and crafts under one roof with an extensive soft play area.

It also has learning zones in O Town, a mini world that replicates real-life environments such as the supermarket. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times, but one adult can enter for free per household. There is also an O Cafe on site that serves fresh coffee and healthy snacks.

Open daily from 9am-9pm Monday to Thursday, 9am-10pm Friday to Sunday. Admission is Dh90 for a 90-minute session, Dh50 each additional hour, Dh25 for additional adult. Al Wahda Mall, Hazza Bin Zayed The First Street, Al Nahyan.

Teenage gaming fans are in luck with Zero Latency. The virtual reality gaming venue at The Galleria Al Maryah Island invites visitors to put on a headset, pick up a controller and get in the game – literally. Equipment is provided and there are several VR game experiences to choose from such as zombie apocalypses, family-friendly adventures, AI gone rogue and esports. After racking up recreational hours, players might want to test their skills in gaming competitions. Champions of the Undead, a zombie hunting gaming competition powered by Vive is running until September 6.

Open daily from 10am-10pm, Sunday to Thursday, 10am-midnight Friday and Saturday. Admission from Dh150 per person for 30 minutes, prices vary by game. The Galleria Al Maryah Island.

Hospitality: Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi; Rixy Kids Club

Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest indoor theme park, offers action and adventure with the WB Abu Dhabi situated right next door. The Warner Bros themed hotel (also a world’s first) allows youngsters to play the night away in a colourful, creatively adorned environment. There is also a pool, full service spa, fitness centre and five dining options. Plus, a stay at the hotel provides easy access to other excursions located on Yas Island.

Open daily. Prices vary based on room selection, dates and availability. Yas Island.

Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island is the ultimate family staycation with arguably the best kids’ club in Abu Dhabi. Rixy Kids Club has dedicated facilities, such as an art and painting studio, children’s cinema and even its own water park on the premises with indoor and outdoor pools. This hidden gem is tucked away outside the city and flanked by natural reserves and picturesque views of the Arabian Gulf.

Open daily. Prices vary based on room selection, dates and availability. Saadiyat Island.

Outdoors: Sheikh Fatima Park; Emirates Park Zoo

Sheikha Fatima Park offers 46,000 square metres of urban escapes consisting of a splash pad, basketball court, boulder area, toddler play area and more. There’s also a pet park and skate park located in the centre of the expansive space. Events such as yoga, outdoor cinema and seasonal concerts cater to children of all ages. After working up an appetite, youngsters can refuel with a healthy snack from one of the nearby cafes or restaurants.

Open daily from 7am-midnight,Sunday to Saturday. Admission is free. Khalidiya.

Home to different animal species and a growing list of experiences and attractions, Emirates Park Zoo hits the mark for nature lovers. Children can get a glimpse of wildcats, reptiles, birds, herbivores, primates and more. They can also enjoy VIP animal experiences, such as animal feedings or breakfast with a giraffe. The zoo also offers visitors the opportunity to zip line or climb as part of its adventure activities.

Open daily from 9am-8pm on weekdays, 9am-9pm on weekends. Admission is Dh50 per person, free for children under three years old. 12th Street, Al Bahyah.

Updated: August 24, 2023, 12:19 PM