Family-Friendly Indoor Play Areas to Explore Over Summer.
For anyone that’s been living in the UAE for at least a full year and made it through the peak summer months, you’ll know all too well how incredibly hot it can get, with temperatures soaring to around 45°C or more. The weather starts to get extremely hot around May until October, when it starts to cool down. It also gets very humid over summer in the UAE, so outdoor play (especially during July and August) isn’t appealing at all for many. Dubai is well prepared for such harsh conditions so finding indoor venues that can entertain your kids isn’t so difficult but finding the ‘best’ indoor play centres that can accommodate and please an eight-month-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old toddler (at the same time) can be challenging. There’s a lot to do in Dubai for older kids, but not so many baby-friendly venues that can please both age groups. I’ve had to test out a few children’s play areas to find my favourite in the city that are both equally diverse, engaging, and entertaining for my two little kids.
Here are the best indoor kids play areas in Dubai that I felt my children particularly enjoyed. They’re great because they cater for babies, starting at six months old, to around eight years old. They also offer summer camps to entertain and educate your kids so that’s a bonus! If you’re a new resident in the UAE, or you’re just visiting Dubai as a tourist with your family, and you have young children, you’ll probably find this article very useful, so read on, and share!
Trampo Extreme, Nakheel Mall, Palm Jumeirah
Opened in 2019, this exciting and fun-packed venue has a super large 1,200sqm soft play area that will keep your kids up to 12 years old entertained for a good few hours. There are several fun diving spots to immerse in large foam pits or ball pits. The soft play area has several tube slides and open slides, which are always exciting for kids. They can play dunk basketball or test their driving skills go-karting. And if that isn’t enough, they can challenge themselves on sky high climbing walls. Located on the ever-so-popular Palm Jumeirah, you’ll find spectacular, interconnecting, trampolines, interactive walls, challenging battle beams and a playful dodge ball zone, amongst many other things. Babies under a year will love the smaller soft play area that has boulders, blocks and colourful shaped obstacles to climb over.
Trampo Extreme in Nakheel Mall also has the UAE’s biggest indoor caves which will happily amuse your toddler. The indoor caves allow 45-minutes of older toddlers from around 3 years old to pave their way through nine tunnels with the assistance of the experts on site. Every tunnel is dimly lit to create a real-life cave effect. They can experience a fun treasure hunt, bear hunt and gem hunt, which will bring out the adventurous explorer in them and put their navigation skills to the test.
Ready Set Go, Al Quoz
Opened in 2021, this is hands down one of the best indoor play areas in Dubai. Literally the moment you walk in with the kids you’ll feel a sense of the ‘wow factor’ because it’s such a huge make-believe jungle, located in a very large, converted warehouse in Dubai’s industrial area. The immense and immersive jungle theme is truly enchanting, creating a captivating environment for children to enjoy play and exercise safely. The animal statues in display throughout the venue are hand-painted by talented artists and they certainly enhance the atmosphere for a colourful and captivating environment for children to feel as close to nature as possible.
Labelled as Dubai's largest indoor soft play area and it certainly feels like it is. Babies, who can crawl and sit up on their own, will enjoy the smaller jungle-themed soft play area, designed to help their confidence to gradually advance into the larger soft play area. Whilst toddlers get to go down spiral slides, walk across rope bridges, slither through tube crawls, try out balance beams, spider towers, and more. There’s even a foam cannon area and sledging slope. They can unleash their energy and jump around in the 13 trampolines on site, as well as go on a zipline.
My daughter loves to role play and she particularly enjoys the six playrooms on offer. No doubt she likes the hairdresser (where she gets her face painted and her nails done) and the supermarket the most. There’s also an arts and crafts centre and a 55-inch touch screen Kiki Wall – this is a games terminal, with over 100 educational games to enjoy.
While the kids play you can sit back and enjoy a coffee or a snack at the café restaurant. Also watch out for the kid’s entertainers on stage to get the party going.
Playtorium, Meadows Village
The first thing I should say here is that it’s super clean and spacious. It also has the best brewed coffee I’ve tried in any kid’s play venue in Dubai. Plus, the quality and standard of the food is above average. You can enjoy a proper nice breakfast, lunch, or snack, with top-quality ingredients.
This playground has been conceptualised and designed extraordinarily to provide an experience which is unparalleled and unlike any other. Playtorium is a modern unique concept of a kids play area and café - not your typical play area. It allows parents to go out with their children, sit back and enjoy good food and specialty coffee, while their children enjoy their tailormade play area.
There are climbing walls, slides and tubes, role-playing areas, net mazes, crochet knit swings, an obstacle course, and the award-winning digital trampoline game, ValoJump. Special activities also include dance, bubble and nursery rhyme time. Babies under two years old get to enjoy wooden toys and soft play, an ocean waterbed, builders’ section, a supermarket and play kitchen.
There’s also a two-hour drop-off service available for children from 3-years-old and potty trained. However, if the kids need to go to the washroom, the parent must be called.
Gogo Village, Al Quoz
Gogo Village is a family owned and operated business. You certainly feel that sense of family nurturing. The venue feels a little smaller compared to the other larger ones in Dubai, but with three play areas on offer, including a café and an outdoor area, time spent there feels a bit more intimate.
In the main room, there are several climbing walls, ranger slides, a trampoline, zip line and a grassy soft play area for pre-walkers. The sustainable patio area is where kids can feed the animals like rabbits and ducks. They can also experience plant potting which is also fun.
The Green Planet, City Walk
The Green Planet is an incredible indoor eco project which houses a tropical rainforest including 3,000 different types of plants and animals inside a beautiful biodome that’s perfect for exploring with kids. It’s a great place for children and babies of all ages to get in touch with nature in the comfort of a cool environment. Twice a day, (1pm and 5pm) you can even experience thunder and lightning which is definitely something I miss feeling since living in the desert. It’s as close as you can get to what it’s like to be in a rainforest storm. But don’t worry, there are areas from which you can watch without getting wet!
The Green Planet simulates an expedition to the tropics with lush vegetation, waterfalls, majestic trees plus insects, birds, reptiles, monkeys and even sloths to look out for! At the centre of this four-storey space is the world’s ‘largest indoor manmade and life-sustaining tree’ around which each level of the rainforest is built. From the ‘flooded forest floor to ‘the canopy’ and everything in between, kids can see and learn about the intricacies of some of the world’s most fascinating ecosystems and meet a few very cool creatures along the way.
Each level is dedicated to a different section of the rainforest and there’s something new to discover around each corner – from fish and river-dwelling rays to marvel at, to insects including leaf-cutter ants, tarantulas, and giant cockroaches to watch. Most of the wildlife are free roaming so it’s a real interactive experience. The Green Planet biologists are also there to answer questions. I first took Noura when she was only six months old, and she loved interacting with all the animals. She’s now a toddler and is even confident interacting with snakes.
On the basement level, there’s an Australian Walkabout experience which takes visitors on a journey ‘down under’, meeting some of Australia’s famous creatures and going ‘walkabout’ through an Aussie landscape which includes wallabies, kookaburras and more.
For anyone who wants to take The Green Planet experience to the next level, ticket add-ons include fun experiences from piranha feeding to up close and personal encounters with sugar gliders, birds, reptiles and even The Green Planet’s famous resident sloths. There’s also The Green Planet Café, a jungle-themed spot for meals and snacks, with an excellent kid’s menu and a play area complete with soft play, ball pits and more.
Jungle Gymsters, The Mall, Umm Suqeim 3 This is one of the smaller fun indoor venues in Dubai for babies, toddlers, and older children up to 8 years old. It’s a high-end, trendsetting kids’ fitness centre where your child can enjoy experiencing a mini gym (for toddlers) to ‘work out.’ There’s also another soft play gym room that’s great for three years old and above. My toddler, Noura, particularly loves the monkey bars and the climbing wall.
You can sign your kids up for karate, gymnastics, dance, Zumba, and much more. The ‘Siblings Class’ is also very helpful for parents of two kids or more. The staff put together a class curriculum designed to nurture and challenge each age group. Children get to sing, dance, play games, and draw. What I love about this place is the staff are very friendly and great at engaging with all the kids. And if you have plans and you want to just drop them off you can because the staff are great at watching over them. It’s so useful if you need to run errands and leave them in safe hands for a couple of hours. Also, check out JG Café and get a free cup of coffee or tea when you register. Once you're a registered member, you can enjoy 5 per cent off all items at the café. It’s a win-win!
OliOli, Al Quoz
The must-visit world-class children’s museum OliOli is the Hawaiian word for 'joy' and it certainly gives kids just that! There are eight galleries, with over 45 interactive exhibits, lovingly designed and inspired by ideas of educators, artists, development psychologists and museum experts from 12 countries. OliOli offers children the ability to engage in open-ended and non-judgmental play, learn to take risks in low-stakes environments, use their hands to make things and problem-solve, gain fascination with STEAM in a joyful manner – and most importantly, play and bond with others.
A focal feature is the bright and colourful Toshi’s nets, which are made almost entirely of a nylon structure that’s been hand crocheted for over a year, by 78-year-old textiles artist Toshiko MacAdam. Kids can swing and climb on the trampoline-style nets for a good hour.
Visit the gallery called ‘Future Park’ where art meets technology and little ones can see their drawings of sea creatures and a futuristic cityscape brought to life on interactive screens before playing with giant glow-in-the-dark neon soft balls.
There’s also a ‘Cars & Ramps’ gallery which allows budding engineers to construct their own mini vehicles from Lego. The gallery called ‘Forts & Dens’ includes everything for building the ultimate personalised playhouse, from special blankets, clips, foam shapes and wooden structures. My two-year-old particularly loves the ‘Toddlers’ gallery where she can enjoy sensory exploration through carefully curated games, puzzles and climb-ons.
The ‘Air’ gallery is another one of her favourites. Learn about the principles of flight, wind, gravity, aerodynamics, friction, and resistance through playing with ‘floating shapes’, testing a hurricane booth, making paper airplanes and hovercrafts. Also, the ‘Water’ area is one of the best galleries. They learn how to clean a car and they get immersed in ‘rain,’ which is fun if you want to splash around and play in water. Don’t worry about them getting wet because they are given wellies and a cute yellow raincoat.
Little Explorers, City Centre Mirdif
Little Explorers is a 2,000sqm space that can hold up to 400 people, with 97 different exhibits across interactive play areas (Water Zone, Play Zone and Space Zone). It’s designed specifically for children between the ages of two and seven. Little ones learn to collaborate, construct, and play freely while learning physical, mental, social, and emotional skills. The idea is to get kids to experiment, play, learn languages, discover, move and dance.
Each zone covers the following:
Children will learn the importance of water, plants, and ocean life. They can splash around and play with water. They’ll also find out more about how water behaves and how it shapes the landscapes around us.
Kids can blast off on their own adventure as they learn more about the solar system, the stars and planets, space stations and how rockets work. This stellar area is the perfect way for them to start understanding the universe, perhaps even sparking a life-long love of science and the cosmos.
This area helps them develop their sense of balance, builds hand-eye co-ordination, and improves their ability to focus. Being able to play with other children of the same age also helps them grow in confidence and builds up their social skills, allowing them to make friends at the same time as having fun! This is always a nice thing to, especially if you’re new to Dubai.
And if that isn’t enough, they can take part in some of their many workshops, which include cooking classes, pottery, arts and crafts, painting, and music. All staff have a minimum of two years KG teaching experience and knowledge of early child-hood education, so that’s also a huge plus!