Best Places to Visit in Abu Dhabi With Family | Top 8 Spots
17 mins read

Best Places to Visit in Abu Dhabi With Family | Top 8 Spots

If you are looking for family-friendly attractions in Abu Dhabi, you are in for a treat. The UAE’s bustling capital is not just about massive malls, sports cars and luxury resorts; there is also plenty of family-friendly nature, art and entertainment activities to explore! There are lots of things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids, from famous museums and magnificent mosques to desert safaris and beautiful mangroves. This article has rounded up hidden gems in Abu Dhabi that will bring immense joy to not just families but friends and even solo travellers.

Best Places to Visit in Abu Dhabi With Family

1. Cultural Treasures of Abu Dhabi

Qasr Al Hosn retains the essence of Emirati history and culture. It is home to the oldest standing building in Abu Dhabi—the Watchtower, constructed in 1760—as well as the Inner Fort (1795) and the Outer Palace (1939-45). Keen young sketchers can put pencil to paper here and artsy ones will relish the photo-worthy scenes. This exquisite national archive is sure to delight all ages. Before heading out, stop at the House of Artisans where traditional Emirati arts and crafts come to life. Here, you can soak up the opportunity to try your hand at a number of ancient techniques. And remember to experience the highly-engaging Cultural Foundation!

Visiting Heritage Village is a great way to learn about the way of life that once existed in the UAE. This reconstructed village features a souk, mosque, dhows and a traditional fort, originally built to ward off invaders from the sea. Kids will be fascinated at the barasti (traditional palm-leaf houses), the ox-drawn well and the falaj (an ancient irrigation system), which still works today in Abu Dhabi’s garden city of Al Ain! Artisans demonstrate their craftsmanship here too, like pottery, weaving and glass blowing. You may even have the opportunity to get involved!

A day at the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library is a great way to mix fun with learning. The library which is situated in central Abu Dhabi, has a design inspired by the diverse landscapes of the UAE. That means everyone from toddlers to teens can choose to kick back and read their favourites on soft faux sand dunes or explore new reads on Book Mountain. This impressive space is loaded with literature suitable for all ages and plenty of activities to make for an enjoyable day out.

After an extensive conservation programme, the historic Bait Mohammed Bin Khalifa was beautifully restored as a community space for the public. Located within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Ain, you can explore the building and enjoy the permanent exhibition on display—a deep dive into the home’s history and its surroundings from over 60 years ago.

cultural treasures in Abu Dhabi

2. Adventurous Pursuits for Families

Talking to kids about the real world is one thing, but showing them how the real world works is an interesting situation; but visiting KidZania Abu Dhabi is probably the best way to do that! One of the most unique places for kids in Abu Dhabi, this vibrant, interactive mini-city is designed for ages 3+ and it has everything – petrol stations, supermarkets, fast food joints and even crime scenes. Combining role play and fun all into one, this is one place that you have to tick off the itinerary. They even have their own currency called kidZos!

A high-speed trip through the Empty Quarter, the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass, is the experience of a lifetime. Kick off with adrenaline-inducing dune bashing across the vast slopes, try a camel ride, sandboard or quad bike, marvel at the glorious desert sunset and spend the evening at a traditional Bedouin camp where you’ll savour freshly grilled Arabic food. The evening’s entertainment also includes belly dancing shows and henna for the guests. Desert Rose Bedouin Desert Camp offers return transfers from your hotel for day and overnight trips.

Bounce Abu Dhabi guarantees fun for the whole family or groups of friends. This indoor trampoline park includes a variety of activities and arenas that will make you sweat. Freestyle jumpers can hop their way into the Free-Jump Arena while the ballers head to Slam Dunk and Dodgeball. Then there is Performance, where jumpers can perfect their skills, and the Big Bag for the jumpers willing to scale the heights. And if you want to get rough, try the wall runner at The Wall or the obstacle course at X-Park. Last but not least, try some ziplining, quick dropping and speed sliding.

adventurous activities

3. Exploring Nature’s Wonders

A trip to the Al Ain Zoo is an Abu Dhabi-must. Home to over 4,000 animals, you can experience several fun activities like penguin feeding, the lemur exhibit, parrot show, reptile encounter, horse and camel rides, a birds-of-prey show and much more. Pop in at the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre where you will learn about how the UAE has been preserving our precious natural environment. Book an Al Ain Safari tour for an unforgettable hour-long journey across 217 hectares of land along the base of the majestic Jebel Hafit mountain. Safari guides will share their knowledge of the ecosystem and their conservation efforts, and will ensure you get to see as many animals as possible, including lions, white rhinos, zebras, giraffes, and wildebeest. Cap it the day off with a gourmet dinner under the stars and on the edge of the lion territory.

Jubail Mangrove Park is Abu Dhabi’s first self-contained educational, nature and leisure destination, and the ultimate avian, marine and mangrove sanctuary. This is the ideal spot to learn about biodiversity as well as the ecological importance of mangrove habitats. As you stroll along the extensive boardwalk, you will be treated to sights of flamingos, herons, fish, foxes and more. It is the ideal spot to reflect or sit back and take pictures.

One of eight islands making up the desert islands of Al Dhafra, Sir Bani Yas Island offers everything you need for a day of fun. For watersports, head to Desert Islands Watersports Centre where you can sail, snorkel, dive or kayak through the pristine waters of the wildlife reserve, or take a relaxing sunset cruise. Hop on a 4×4 safari with expert guides for a breathtaking tour of the Arabian Wildlife Park. The reserve is home to some 17,000 free-roaming animals including Arabian oryx, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs. Before you leave, remember to make a stop at the Sir Bani Yas Stables to see their state-of-the-art riding facilities.

nature wonders

4. Theme Parks and Waterparks Galore

One of the main features of Yas Island is the super popular Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Equipped to bring the thrill to every part of your soul, this park sets the bar when it comes to rollercoasters. You and the kids can start nice and easy by jumping on any of the 40 exciting rides and attractions or you can go BIG, by riding Formula Rossa, the fastest rollercoaster in the world. Every ride has height limitations so be sure to check which are suitable for your child by visiting the theme park’s official website.

Where can you go to tackle teenage boredom and excite the little ones at the same time? Warner Bros. World on Yas Island is one of the most fun places for kids in Abu Dhabi and has a great mix of attractions, from thrilling rollercoasters to peaceful kiddies activities perfect for anyone aged 3 and up. You can jump on epic state-of-the-art rides in Gotham City, spend hours of fun at Cartoon Junction and so much more. Plus, your little ones will clap in delight when they get snaps with legendary Warner Bros. characters like Fred Flintstone, Superman and Bugs Bunny!

No vacation or staycation is complete without a day of water play at Yas Waterworld. Bathing suits, sunblock and flip flops are all you need to experience the impressive range of rides that this waterpark offers. The rides are categorised by thrill levels from the extreme (Shaheen’s Adrenaline Rush) to low (Sultan’s Young Fun). Babies and toddlers don’t have to be left behind – they can have their own splash party with floats and water toys at the dedicated kids’ pool area.

theme parks and waterparks

5. Iconic Landmarks and Attractions

Admire the architectural brilliance of the Sheik Zayed Mosque, perhaps the most popular of tourist places in Abu Dhabi, its stunning white architecture topped off with a brilliant dome. Take a guided tour of the Mosque interiors, learning more about its history, its architecture, and its significance to public life. Marvel at the Kufic calligraphy work that adorns the walls of the mosque, its minarets and its ornate pillars. Capture a picture of the biggest of the mosque’s 82 domes, also regarded as the largest mosque dome in UAE. Stay at the mosque through sunset to witness the exquisite lunar lighting, which is meant to represent the six phases of the moon. Also among the most exclusive places to visit in Abu Dhabi, entry to the prayer halls at the mosque are limited only to men following the Islamic faith.

Spend a night at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace, one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Also one of the most exquisite tourist places in Abu Dhabi, the hotel offers tours of its interiors to non-residents as well. Enjoy the signature coffee at Le Cafe, topped with a golden leaf and the logo of Emirates Palace. Let the restaurants of Emirate Palace – Hakkasan, BBQ Al Qasr, Le Vendome and Mawal, to name a few- provide you with a world-class dining experience in Abu Dhabi. Spend a day at the Emirate Palace private beach, or lounge, overlooking the stunning blue waters.

Pay a visit to the Louvre Museum, where over 600 works of art are kept on display, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Giovanni Bellini, and many more. Explore the Museum’s exquisite collections of art, gathered from around the world and arranged into thematic sequences. Let your children learn about and interact with art at the special workshops arranged by the Children’s Museum from time to time. Admire the special paintings ‘loaned’ by the Louvre Abu Dhabi from its counterpart in France, including those by Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas and Monet. Settle down with a cup of coffee by the lake at Aptitude Cafe, Louvre’s very own coffee bar.

iconic landmarks in Abu Dhabi

6. Beachside Bliss for Families

Spend the day building sandcastles and making memories at the turquoise seashore of Abu Dhabi’s Corniche Beach. Thanks to its central location, you can easily find a space here to set up a family picnic or play a game of beach volleyball. You can visit the public beach or opt for the private family beach which is chargeable. The setting is a contemporary mix of beach views in the foreground and skyscrapers in the background, with plenty of spots nearby to grab food and drinks.

Soak up the rays and pack your sunglasses for a sunshine-y day out at the gorgeous Kai Beach on Saadiyat Island. Located just five minutes away from downtown Abu Dhabi, you can really spend hours at this pristine beach and not realise it. Kai Beach and Saadiyat Island in general, are known for their cute inhabitants, the Hawksbill Turtles.

Located alongside Hudariyat Island, Al Bateen Beach is an 800-metre-long scenic shoreline that makes for a memorable family day under the sun. Toddlers can enjoy the well-maintained play areas while parents can take turns taking advantage of the incredible water sports facilities such as kayaking and jet-skiing. The beach can be accessed completely free! There is also a separate area for women and children to enjoy the beautiful and secure beach in peace, which includes female lifeguards, but there is a minimal fee to enter.


7. Action-Packed Fun

Why not toss in a wild encounter while you are exploring Abu Dhabi? Visit the Emirates Park Zoo where you and the kids can casually enjoy dinner time with the elephants or feed the hungry hippos (under careful supervision, of course!). The zoo also operates a large adventure play area where children can zip, swing and slide. There may be entry restrictions depending on age and height, however there is a junior climbing area that takes you across the tropical bird area.

Opened in 2021, the National Aquarium is the capital’s largest and only public aquarium and a real treat for the eyes and mind! Keep your camera ready (no flash please) to capture the most beautiful creatures of the sea, including the world’s largest living snake – the reticulated python also known as Super Snake – who is about seven metres long. Located in the Al Qana area of Abu Dhabi, you can even hop on a glass dhow tour to get closer or enjoy a fast track ticket through the entire aquarium.

If you and your older children love a good adrenaline rush, then check out the hub of fast and furious in Abu Dhabi – Yas Kartzone. Equipped for different ages, there’s the Kids Category for ages 5 to 7 where they can ride the Bambino Karts; there’s the Junior Category for ages 8 to 12, followed by the Adults Category. Powered by ADNOC, Yas Kartzone’s high-octane track is 1KM long and has 3 track configurations to choose from. Is there a better way to race through your holiday?

action-packed fun

8. Culinary Delights and Shopping Sprees

You do not want to miss the Mina Zayed Port markets. Discover an array of freshly caught seafood at the Mina Zayed Fish Souq. You can even buy and eat the deliciously prepared grilled seafood on the spot. For a greener menu, visit the Al Mina Fruit and Vegetable Souk and take home some of the finest, locally-sourced produce.

For a true taste of Emirati cuisine, head to the Al Mᾱrῑnah Souq. Here, you’ll find a vibrant array of traditional dishes, from hearty lamb machbūs to fluffy, buttery lᾱwibaĩ. Sip on a refreshing glass of kahwa, the aromatic Emirati coffee, as you browse the stalls. Don’t forget to pick up some dates, a beloved local delicacy, to enjoy later.

If shopping is your passion, the UAE’s capital has plenty to offer. Explore the grand malls, such as the iconic Marina Mall or the modern Yas Mall, for a wide range of high-street and luxury brands. For a more authentic shopping experience, venture to the traditional souks, where you can bargain for unique handicrafts, spices, and textiles. The vibrant Khalīfa A. Shᾱṣ Souq is a must-visit, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage.


What are some of the top family-friendly attractions in Abu Dhabi?

Some of the top family-friendly attractions in Abu Dhabi include Qasr Al Hosn, Heritage Village, Abu Dhabi Children’s Library, Kidzania Abu Dhabi, Al Ain Zoo, Jubail Mangrove Park, and Sir Bani Yas Island.

What cultural experiences can families enjoy in Abu Dhabi?

Families can explore the architectural brilliance of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, learn about Emirati history and culture at Qasr Al Hosn, and immerse themselves in traditional arts and crafts at the House of Artisans and the Cultural Foundation.

What adventurous activities can families do in Abu Dhabi?

Families can enjoy dune bashing, camel riding, sandboarding, and quad biking in the Empty Quarter desert, as well as trampoline activities at Bounce Abu Dhabi.

What are some of the nature-based attractions in Abu Dhabi?

Families can visit the Jubail Mangrove Park to learn about biodiversity and the importance of mangrove habitats, and explore the Arabian Wildlife Park on Sir Bani Yas Island.

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