My family is off to Abu Dhabi for a week. It’ll be me, two pre-schoolers, my husband and my parents-in-law. We’re deep in planning what to do and it’s looking fairly pricey. So when I was approached by the PR agency for Etihad Airways to see if I wanted some insider tips on affordable family fun in Abu Dhabi from some of their international cabin crew, I said yes immediately.
Until now I’ve only done stopovers in Abu Dhabi with kids, which only lets you do a couple of things. So with a week up our sleeves and plenty of time to explore the UAE capital, these tips have helped me plan out our longer itinerary.
Here’s the scoop from 3 insiders on what to do with kids in Abu Dhabi.
Smita recommends visiting the theme parks and going on a desert safari
Smita Bhosle is a Cabin Manager with Etihad and is originally from India.
“The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is between November to May,” Smita said. “The weather is fantastic and you can enjoy all indoor and outdoor activities. November is also the month of Formula 1 where you can have the best time between its many options for concerts and events to choose from.”
“There’s Ferrari World, Warner Bros World, Louvre Museum, SeaWorld, Water World, of course, the Emirates Palace and so much more to visit and do here.”
Smita also recommends that if you are coming to Abu Dhabi as a family, you should book a desert safari. “It’s a one-of-a-kind experience and fun with its camel rides, dune-bashing and of course the barbeque,” she said.
Smita’s perfect day in Abu Dhabi includes enjoying a quick breakfast after waking up late on her day off, and then taking her son to the beach for some fun activities with him. “We follow that with a nice lunch before taking a calming sunset stroll along the beach. We end the day with some shopping and dinner in a mall before we head home,” she said.
Shuting recommends the Grand Mosque and the Corniche beach
Shuting Sun works in Cabin Service with Etihad and is originally from China
“Abu Dhabi is one of the safest cities in the world. The city has both a dynamic and a tranquil side. It gives more than it takes,” Shuting said.
Ms Sun said that the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is at the top of the must-do list for travelers, even if you are in Abu Dhabi with children. “There is no entrance fee, but there is a dress code, so be sure to check before you visit,” she advised.
Another family-friendly thing to do in Abu Dhabi that Shuting recommends is a visit to Corniche Beach. “It is a public beach with all necessary facilities in downtown Abu Dhabi. It’s definitely a low-cost option,” she said. “This beach is also surrounded by some of Abu Dhabi’s landmarks so visitors can enjoy the beach and city at the same time.”
If you’re in Abu Dhabi with older kids, “Visiting Yas Marina Circuit is a must-do as well. Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi is one of the most advanced Formula 1 circuits in the world. Visitors can go for a run or ride a bicycle on F1 track by registering on the official website, all for free,” she said.
Chayapa recommends an Emirati dinner and visiting the Emirates Park Zoo
Chayapa Neeramon works out of Abu Dhabi as a Flight Attendant with Etihad and is originally from Thailand.
“My perfect day in Abu Dhabi would be going for Karak tea with my friends at Tea Break before visiting Warner Bros. World and enjoying an Emirati dinner at Al Fanar Restaurant with great company,” she said.
Chayapa said “Abu Dhabi is safe to live in, a good place to make new friends, and you can enjoy sunshine all year without ever getting bored.”
She recommends that families visit Abu Dhabi during wintertime (November to March), for the best weather. She also said that kids who visit Abu Dhabi will love “the Emirati hospitality, discovering the theme parks on Yas Island, and going to feed the animals in Emirates Park Zoo.”
Heading out of Abu Dhabi to explore more of the UAE? Here are so ideas for further afield.
Outside Abu Dhabi there are loads of other family-friendly experiences in the UAE. Most people will spend some time in Dubai, so we’ve pulled together a list of 12 awesome things to do in Dubai with kids.
And if you’re covering multiple locations in one trip, read our guide on things to do in the UAE with kids.
For those looking for our top tips on what to do in the UAE with kids, here are seven of the best family-friendly experiences.
- Do on a desert safari
- Stay at the Legoland hotel in Dubai
- Visit the theme parks on Yas Island
- Scale the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai
- Try indoor skiing (it’s available in Abu Dhabi and Dubai)
- Visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
- Visit a mall (try Mall of the Emirates in Dubai or Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi)
Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.