Things to do over the long weekend in the UAE: Snow, shows and staycations

From the latest family-friendly venues to a plethora of culture, here's what to see, do and eat in the Emirates

Snow Abu Dhabi maintains a temperature of -2°C all year round. Victor Besa / The National
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The UAE will have a three-day weekend as Friday marks the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. While it's still not cool enough to spend an entire afternoon at the beach, here are some ways in which you can entertain yourself – and the little ones.

Friday in Abu Dhabi

If you haven't already, take the children to Snow Abu Dhabi in the capital. The sub-zero family-friendly park opened in Reem Mall in June, and has 20 rides and attractions, as well as three food and beverage outlets.

Themed around an enchanted forest – complete with a mischievous mountain troll mascot named Graupel – the multilevel snow park spans 9,732 square metres.

Suitable for children over the age of three, it has rides such as Troll Bowl, an inflatable ball that rolls down a snowy slope; Flight of the Snowy Owl, an aerial roller coaster-zip line; and Drift's Downhill Run, where guests can slip and slide down a lane on sleds.

Open Friday to Saturday, 10am-midnight; Sunday, 10am-10pm; single-day entry pass from Dh215 per person, inclusive of a pair of fleece gloves and a locker; Reem Island, Abu Dhabi;

Friday in Dubai

In Dubai, take toddlers, tweens and teenagers to Wild Wadi to make the most of the waterpark's continuing all-you-can-eat package, introduced this month.

On the menu is everything from Greek salads and chicken wraps to hot dogs and corn dogs, plus pizzas, burgers and nuggets, all of which can be picked up in unlimited quantities for the duration of your visit.

Open Friday to Sunday, 10am-6pm; Dh255 (children under 1.1 metres) and Dh290 adults for the all-you-can-eat package when booking online, children under 3 go free; Umm Suqeim 3, Dubai;

Friday in Umm Al Quwain

If you're looking for a staycation, consider the child and pet-friendly Vida, Umm Al Quwain.

Both its pools are made for children, with one shallow bed of water a few steps away from a shaded splash pad, with vibrantly coloured water-spouting structures. The main pool is not more than 90cm for nearly three-quarters its length, with the deep end going up to only 152cm.

The infinity-style pool is a short walk away from the property’s private beach, which offers water sports from a third-party operator.

The swimmable beach, complete with an Instagram-friendly white swing, is also the centre for child-friendly activities organised by the resort each evening, from a scavenger hunt to a sandcastle-building session.

A few metres away from the splash pad is an outdoor play area – with a slide, jungle gym, climbing ropes and a minuscule rock-climbing wall – and an indoor kids’ club, which is stocked with toys, plus foosball and air hockey tables, and screens for both cartoons and gaming.

From Dh1,054 for a room for three; Al Raudah, Umm Al Quwain;

Saturday in Abu Dhabi

In Abu Dhabi, check out the first beauty store in the world opened this week by department store Bloomingdale's.

Customers at the Reem Mall shop can expect products from luxury brands such as Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Estee Lauder and Ex Nihilo, as well as exclusive collections from Dries Van Noten, Van Cleef & Arpels Beauty and Gucci’s The Alchemist Garden.

The shop is equipped with advanced retail technology, including a “magic mirror” that allows customers to try on products digitally.

Open daily; 10am-10pm; Reem Mall, Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi; @bloomingdalesme

Saturday in Dubai

In Dubai, check out Mumbai artist Sudarshan Shetty's solo exhibition at Ishara Art Foundation.

Only Life, Myriad Places presents a survey of Shetty’s works that range from videos and multimedia installations to sculptures. Most hard-hitting is an untitled collection made up of six pairs of water utensils, displayed vertically within a glass column. Each pair consists of a metallic vessel found by Shetty, dented and misshapen with age, alongside a replica he made from wood.

“The historical connotation of utensils and rescuing them deeply connects with partition histories and migration histories,” says curator Sabih Ahmed. “A lot of people who move cities, either out of circumstance or by choice, carry their utensils with them. Many carve their names on to those utensils. These vessels are practically residues of the life you’ve left behind and the one you're carrying forward.”

Until December 9; Friday to Saturday, 10am-7pm; Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai;

Saturday in Sharjah

In Sharjah, check out the newly launched outpost of indoor trampoline park Bounce.

The destination has everything the “home of freestyle” offers, from classic activities in the performance area and an infinity wall to a dodgeball court.

There's also a new offering in the Sharjah outpost, called X Run, a Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course.

Open daily; Sunday to Wednesday, 10am-10pm; Thursday to Saturday, 10am-midnight; from Dh75; Al Jada, Sharjah;

Sunday in Abu Dhabi

In Abu Dhabi, snap up tickets for singer-songwriter Charlie Puth's concert.

The American pop star is launching his Asian tour from Etihad Arena, an intriguing prospect as it's full of songs from Charlie – Puth’s break-up album written when the singer was at his lowest (he has since announced his engagement to partner Brooke Sansone).

Expect tracks such as That's Hilarious, How Long and One Call Away.

October 1; doors open 6pm; from Dh270; Yas Island, Abu Dhabi;

Sunday in Dubai

In Dubai, take children between the ages of three and 10 to Leo and Loona, an indoor attraction that opened in Dubai Festival City Mall this month.

The family-friendly destination spans 2,200 square metres and has more than 30 activities, with facilities such as trampolines, ball pools, soft play areas with bridges, climbing walls, pedal karts and more.

The venue also has co-working spaces for parents (not that you'll need these over the long weekend, hopefully) as well as a restaurant serving American and European dishes.

Open Friday to Sunday, 10am-midnight; Dh129 per child for two hours;

Sunday in Ras Al Khaimah

If you missed the staycation boat, consider heading to Ras Al Khaimah for the day. The Daycation Playcation package by the family-friendly resort Rixos Bab Al Bahr is valid throughout the long weekend.

Priced at Dh125 per child and Dh500 per couple, the daycation pass includes unlimited access to the all-inclusive resort's facilities between 11am and 6pm, from its beach and various pools to its sports club classes, gym, children and teen clubs. The resort also puts on live entertainment on a large, custom-made stage each evening. The package also includes buffet lunch at Seven Heights and unlimited drinks at Isla Beach Bar.

Although it's a school night, if you want to stay a little longer, you can upgrade for Dh400 per couple and Dh100 per child, and take in a buffet dinner, unlimited drinks and the evening entertainment, from 6pm to 11pm.

Friday to Sunday, 11am-6pm; from Dh125 (children) and Dh500 (couples);

Updated: September 28, 2023, 11:04 AM