A family holiday to Dubai or Abu Dhabi is a sure-fire way of guaranteeing a vitamin D fix during the October half term and Christmas holidays. But sunshine isn’t all that’s on offer – you’ll also find some of the best waterparks in the world boasting extreme waterslides to tornado style raft rides, high octane surfing to extreme rollercoasters. Prepare to be thrilled and expect to get wet!
This Arabian-themed waterpark is located directly in front of the iconic Burj Al Arab With 30 rides which cater for all ages, and adrenalin levels, it may be smaller than some of the other parks, but still packs a punch. The tunnel of Doom will have you careering down a slide in the pitch dark, with a whole host of twists and turns thrown into the mix, and Tantrum Alley throws a few tornadoes into the mix. Younger children will love the wave pool and artificial surfing areas. Don’t fancy getting wet? Then settle back in one of many loungers available for those wanting to spectate rather than participate.
Winner of multiple awards and named the Middle East’s Leading Waterpark in 2016, Aquaventure is packed with rides and experiences suitable for all the family. You can even opt out of getting wet, but still achieve a burst of adrenaline by soaring through the air on the longest zip line in the Middle East, giving you unparalleled views of Atlantis, its gorgeous beachfront, and the glittering Dubai skyline from 20 metres above Aquaventure Waterpark. Take a trip down Lazy River but be warned, it’s not as harmless as it sounds with interconnecting waterways leading you under torrential waterfalls or down raging rapids. For the really brave, head to The Leap of Faith which is perhaps one of the quickest experiences in the park. A nine-storey tall, near-vertical drop slide will hurtle you at seemingly breakneck speed to the bottom of the slide in less than a second before speeding you through a shark infested tank, luckily within the confines of a transparent tube!
If rollercoasters are your bag, head to Yas Waterworld, where you’ll experience the Middle East’s longest (and wettest!) suspended ride. The Bandit Bomber not only ensures those on-board get a darn good soaking, but also enables riders to fire water cannons at those not brave enough to have a go themselves. Hamlool’s Humps is a helter skelter slide with a difference - three massive humps will get you airborne during the ride. Younger siblings will enjoy the Tot’s Playground, a somewhat more sedate series of pools and slides designed for little tots.
Our favourite family-friendly hotels
The largest resort in the Emirates, and also known as the Arabian Resort of Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah is set amongst its own private beach. Connected by 3 kilometres of waterways and landscaped gardens you’ll find a 1000 seat amphitheatre, spa facilities, tennis courts, a multitude of restaurants and of course a range of accommodation. Spacious bedrooms and marble bathrooms feature throughout whilst luxurious touches are noticeable everywhere. Children get complimentary access to Sinbad’s Kids Club which features over 1,000 square metres of play areas and pools.
Special waterpark access: Guests at Madinat Jumeirah receive unlimited entry to the Wild Wadi Waterpark.
A luxury beachfront resort with something for all ages, the five-star Jumeirah Zabeel Saray gives you the opportunity to relax and enjoy yourself in beautiful surroundings. Stay in one of 379 elegant guest rooms or choose a lavish suite with its own private balcony. For the ultimate in luxury why not upgrade to a Royal Suite which comes with its own private lagoon swimming pool. Children are well catered for on the entertainment front (leaving your more time to indulge in some R&R). Sinbad’s Kids Club is home to an extensive array of activities including a mini waterpark climbing wall, playground, interactive gaming- and iPad stations, soft play area and much more.
Special waterpark access: Guests at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray receive unlimited entry to the Wild Wadi Waterpark.
Set on its own 1.3km long private beach, this lavish hotel has been designed to impress. 302 guest rooms and 92 suites are home to the finest quality fixtures, fittings and furnishings ensuring a luxurious stay. For parents, the Anantara Spa offers a chance to be pampered with a traditional Moroccan Hamman taking centre stage, whilst safe in the knowledge that your children are being well looked after and entertained at the incredible Kids Club ‘for young Princes and Princesses’. With a huge selection of fun-filled activities on offer including arts and crafts, sports, Nintendo Wii, puzzles, face painting, henna and so much more you can be sure you won't run out of activities for them. For older children water sports are available including wake-boarding, water-skiing, mono-skiing, inflatable rides, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding.
For more information on any of these destinations or to find out more about planning a family holiday to the Middle East please call us on + 44 1993 899 430 or email our Middle East specliast Ian Anderson on firstname.lastname@example.org.