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Dubai with kids

Fat Mum Slim /

I knew I'd love Dubai but I wasn't sure how great it would be for kids. The reality is, it's awesome! I'm sharing where we stayed, what we ate, and the cool things we did with the kids. Add it to your bucketlist today.

dubai-trip

A few weeks ago I shared a post on our flight to Dubai, and today I wanted to share about our time in Dubai.

I want to first start by saying that Dubai was always on my travel bucket list, but I was a little bit apprehensive about traveling there. Why? Because I’d heard that you had to cover up, that it was ridiculously hot and that you could land in trouble for public displays of affection. The truth is that I probably needed to stop being so narrow-minded and research a little better. I have two friends that currently live in Dubai, so I messaged and pestered them until I had all the information I needed.

After consulting my friends, and our tour guide, I discovered that it’s really just about being respectful. We were visiting a foreign country that had different beliefs and customs to what we’re used to. So if we visited a mosque, then it was important to cover up {but many provide appropriate clothing for you}. So while I didn’t have to wear top to toe cover, I kept a wrap in my handbag just in case I needed to cover up at any stage {I didn’t}, I didn’t wear tight or revealing clothing {because that’s not me anyway}.

Also, we visited in December and the weather was perfect. Warm enough to be comfortable. I would definitely recommend traveling at that time of year if you’re not into super hot weather. In the Dubai summer the temperatures can get close to 50 with humidity at 100%. Temperatures were around 26 when we visited and much lower humidity {lower than we get at home, which my hair was thankful for}.

WHERE WE STAYED

Atlantis Hotel, Dubai

When I found out that we were staying at Atlantis, The Palm, I was a little bit ridiculously excited. And rightly so. It’s an iconic hotel, and when I’ve mentioned to people that have traveled to Dubai about where we stayed, they always gasp. My aunt even had a photo taken out the front, but didn’t stay. If something says fancy, it’s that big pink building with the hole in the middle. F-A-N-C-Y.

dubai-2

Atlantis, The Palm is a holiday in itself, you could pretty much arrive and not go anywhere else. It has restaurants, pools, shops, a waterpark, an aquarium and loads more attractions. If you stay there, then definitely plan to have a handful of days just at the hotel itself. I’ll get to that stuff in a moment, but first I want to share this…

Can you imagine deciding that you thought an island in the shape of a palm tree might be pretty cool, and then actually making it happen? Someone did, and someone made it. The island is the SHAPE OF A PALM TREE. I kid you not. Evidence below.

palm-jumeirah

Atlantis is located on Jumeirah Palm, and is located around 30 minutes from the airport. The Atlantis itself has two pools and a playground for kids, plus you can also swim in the ocean. Next to Atlantis is Aquaventure Water Park, which is a 17 hectare sized fun water playground. There are play areas for little kids, and waterslides for big kids. If you’re staying at Atlantis you get free access whenever you please. Hubby will probably kill me {or roll his eyes at least} for telling this story, but he’s hopeless at lining up for stuff. He doesn’t pay attention and he’ll think he’s lining up at the hot dog stand, only to end buying fairy floss because he’s in the wrong line.

So he lined up in a line for a slide, and when he got to the top he realised he’d lined up for THE slide. The one that drops you out into mid-air, and sets you on your way. And because he didn’t want to look like a wuss, he went through with it and lived to tell the tale. They also have a slide that goes through an aquarium, among others. You can check out all the attractions here.

 Next to Aquaventure is Dolphin Bay where you can swim with dolphins or seals. We played with the dolphins one morning, and had a really magical time.

dubai-3

There’s also The Lost Chambers, an aquarium that is beautiful and intimate, yet expansive at the same time too. The hotel itself has a huge {HUGE!} aquarium in the foyer that you could spend hours staring at {which we did, even at 3am when we couldn’t sleep}.

aquarium

I can’t fault Atlantis at all. The staff were the friendliest I’ve experienced in my travels around the world. The hotel is huge, with over 1500 rooms and some of the staff remembered the girls’ names and were always happy to see them.

WHAT WE DID

We did spend a lot of time in the water {beach, pools, Aquaventure} but we also ventured out and explored Dubai too.

On our first afternoon in Dubai, Alex the tour guide from Arabian Adventures, picked us up and showed us around for a few hours. Getting a tour guide is something I never would have thought about before becoming a blogger, but it’s my favourite thing about traveling. We’ve become friends with lots of guides from around the world, staying in touch through Facebook and Instagram. I like to ask questions like, “What did you eat for breakfast today? What does your home look like?” and other annoying questions that give me an insight into what it might be like to live there.

burj-al-arab
Our first stop, the Burj Al Arab, quite possibly the fanciest hotel of them all. One room fetches up to $24,000 a night. Can you imagine toiletries?

We stopped at beautiful Mosques, heard the history of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, which had just celebrated it’s 43rd birthday when we arrived. We also chatted to Alex about the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as well as visiting outside his residence {bunny rabbits like to hang outside on the lawn}, how quickly Dubai has developed, future plans {including the current development of a series of islands in the shape of the world, seriously!}.

spice-markets
We took a little boat across the water to the Spice Market and Gold Souk. As we walked through the call to prayers echoed over us and it was just beautiful. I’ve often found markets overwhelming, but not this one. It was intimate and everyone was friendly. Alex told me that the stall owners wouldn’t respect me if I didn’t haggle, and so I did. They smiled the whole way through, and I ended up with a bargain or two {just some small souvenirs for the kids back home}. Even if you don’t buy anything, make sure you try a date or two. So soft and sweet.

Our tour ended with Alex {Lulu and Lacey passed out in the car} and we were left to explore for the rest of the trip on our own. We had booked a Desert Safari with Arabian Adventures, which I was really looking forward to {it had an Arabian feast, camel rides, belly dancing and more} but we all got hit with a bug and couldn’t make it. We’ll just have to go back, of course!

ski-dubaiShane and Lacey spent a few hours playing and skiing at Ski Dubai {located at Mall of Emirates}. Unfortunately Lulu was too little to play.

After a morning or skiing and snow-balling, we headed to Dubai Mall to have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory which is right near a huge aquarium, and to play at Kidzania. If you have time, apparently the fountain display at night is definitely worth putting on your to-do list.

kidzania

When I was a kid, Kidzania would have been my idea of heaven. If you’re traveling with kids, you have to do it. I’ve been raving about it since visiting, and I’ve heard Lacey do the same. You just have to. It’s a world made just for kids. Everything is kid size. In a nutshell, kids walk in and immediately cash a cheque. They then choose one of many jobs at which they make money {get paid} for their services. In her time at Kidzania, Lacey worked as a police officer, supermarket cashier, packer at McDonalds, and as a nurse. She also spent her money by doing an art class, baking a cookie and having a beauty treatment {she’s fancy}. They had a room for babies, so Lulu played in the ball-pit while Lacey earned her money.

This post wouldn’t be complete without answering the question that everyone asked me, is it really good for kids? And it is. We were waiting in a long line at Dubai airport and we got pulled out of the line and taken to the front. I know that’s not a big deal, but that is what it was like for our whole trip. Restaurants had kids eat free, the people just loved our kids so much {not sure if it was the blonde hair and pale skin}, and when we caught the Metro, I got asked at least 8 times if I wanted a seat by the gentlemen in the carriage. It’s just something I’d never experienced before. We flew from Brisbane to Dubai, and then Dubai to Brisbane. It was about 14 hours of flying. I thought it was a great destination, but it would also make a great stopover as well.

We traveled to Dubai with Emirates.

@Fatmumslim