Best pavilions and things to do for children at Expo 2020 Dubai

From playgrounds to a funfair and enchanted forest, there's family fun for everyone

Latest: Inside the nerve centre bringing Expo 2020's Al Wasl dome to life

Expo 2020 Dubai is quickly making its mark as a leading family entertainment hub in the city.

With hundreds of events on each week, there's plenty to keep everyone entertained – especially the little ones.

In fact, there are so many children's activities and kid-friendly pavilions to check out, you will want to return for some family fun time and time again.

The National has put together a list of child-friendly activities and pavilions you don't want to miss.

The activities

Watch a show at Al Wasl Plaza: The star of Expo 2020 Dubai since the dazzling opening ceremony, Al Wasl Plaza is often called the beating heart of the Expo because of its central location. Visit at night for a truly magical experience, when the 360-degree projection dome pulses with waves of colour. It will keep the young and old mesmerised for hours.

Cool down at the waterfall: This stunning waterfall is already a crowd pleaser, offering children the chance to frolic in the stream below while adults watch in wonder as water crashes to the ground before disappearing into the stone.

Pledge to help save the planet: Children can learn about saving water, energy and food at the Opportunity Pavilion by helping a giant flower to grow. They can also pledge to do their bit to help save the planet and work towards sustainable development goals.

Expo Explorer: A cross between a train and a golf buggy, the Expo Explorer is a fun way to view the Expo site.

Playgrounds: There are a number of playgrounds to explore, including Latifa’s Adventures and Rashid’s World, plus the Around the World merry-go-round in the Mobility District, close to the Belgium Pavilion. Latifa’s Adventures has a ‘zero gravity’ chamber and a replica of the UAE’s Hope Probe, while Rashid’s Playground includes sharks on springs and whale slides.

Hammour House: A community art project that draws inspiration from the One Thousand and One Nights story of Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman, Hammour House hosts daily workshops for children that highlight the continued destruction of the ocean’s coral reefs.

Desert Farm: Located near Latifa’s Adventure playground, Desert Farm is a dedicated learning centre where children can learn about the kinds of plants that grow naturally in the desert, and gaze at the fish endemic to the Arabian Sea.

The best Expo 2020 pavilions for children

Saudi Arabia: One of the largest country pavilions at Expo, Saudi Arabia's pavilion has an incredible LED floor with 8,000 lights that move with you as you walk across it.

Palestine: The Palestine Pavilion is a feast for the senses. The VR headsets transport you into the Old Town of Jerusalem and allow you to explore the narrow alleyways, decorative arches and screens. Then it's all about smell, as little urns release the scent of fruits and herbs farmed in Palestine.

Luxembourg: Echoing former expos and in a nod to its own Schueberfouer - the annual Luxembourg city funfair - this pavilion has a giant slide that twists and turns between hundreds of trees and plants.

Netherlands: The Netherlands Pavilion teaches visitors about vertical farming and how to harvest water out of thin air. You can even see it rain in the desert. Watch in awe as you descend four metres into a cool basement and conical structure before being handed a white umbrella that turns into a projection screen onto which stunning visuals are beamed.

India: The India Pavilion is one that has to be viewed at night, at least once, as the light on the facade reveals a tiger that appears to prowl across the front of the building.

United States: For space enthusiasts, the United States pavilion is a must. The space section at the top of the pavilion allows you to touch a Moon rock more than 3.5 billion years old that was collected during one of the Apollo missions. Visitors can also see a Martian meteorite sample found in Antarctica and a model of the Mars Rover.

Sweden: If you go into the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise. Not only is the Sweden Pavilion full of trees brought from the Scandinavian country, there's also an Ikea cafe nestled in the centre.

China: Another pavilion offering delicious food is the Chinese pavilion – plus there's a panda robot on the top floor.

Philippines: Standing six storeys high, the Philippines Pavilion has lots of cool 'Instagrammable' art on the way up that looks even better at nighttime. It's located next to Jubilee Park, where there's a play area and stage where entertainers often perform.

Australia: Look out for the incredibly friendly koala mascot at the Australian Pavilion, plus their great toasted sandwiches, which they call jaffles.

Hungary: Built without using a drop of water, the Hungary Pavilion has a ball pool that children will love to dive into.

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Brazil: The main feature on show at the Brazil Pavilion is hard to miss: it's a large pool of water in the centre. Visitors are invited to wade through, so kick off your shoes and get your feet wet. At night, the four walls surrounding the pool light up and images of waterfalls are projected onto huge screens.

Switzerland: Visitors can go on a hike through a sea of fog that gives way to a sound and light show, reflecting day turning to night over the Swiss Alps. The feature was inspired by a common phenomenon that occurs in Switzerland in the autumn.

Tonga: The Tonga Pavilion has an interactive feature that invites you to visit the enchanted forest, which is full of motion sensors that mean flowers bloom as you approach.

Monaco: Visitors are welcomed into a corridor covered in mirrors that act as a kaleidoscope before being transported into the Antarctic. Huge penguin statues illustrate the nation's commitment to fighting climate change, while robotic penguins roam. Children can take part in a game and help guide a baby penguin home.

Emirates airline: Visitors to the Emirates Pavilion can design and fly their personalised, futuristic aircraft. Through an ultra-haptic interface, visitors can build their very own aircraft, run it through a flight simulator and get instant feedback on their designs.

Updated: October 21st 2021, 7:34 AM
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