Keeping the whole flock happy is one of the greatest challenges for any globe-trotting family. Yet with its contrasting blend of high-adrenaline theme parks, gorgeous public green spaces, and children-friendly cultural experiences, Abu Dhabi is a win-win for parents and kids alike.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first international outpost of the legendary Parisian art museum. From its awe-inspiring exterior to the fantastic permanent collection within, the museum pays tribute to mankind’s common values and beliefs, presenting a cross-cultural treasure trove of art across the ages. On weekends, the museum offers tours and creative workshops designed with the whole family in mind, and the Children’s Museum makes the collection accessible to young visitors through interactive exhibitions dedicated to themes such as the history of costume and the representation of animals in art.
Qasr Al Hosn and Cultural Foundation
Young minds find plenty to be inspired by at Qasr Al Hosn and the Cultural Foundation: neighboring landmarks that preserve the rich cultural heritage of Abu Dhabi. Since the 1790s, Qasr Al Hosn has served as palace, seat of power, and national archive. Today, surrounded by modern towers, it is a reminder of the city’s incredible growth. The adjacent Cultural Foundation was conceived as a place to foster cultural exchange, a mission that continues today with an inspiring program of exhibitions and performances. Junior jetsetters will love the Children’s Library, where a series of spaces dedicated to reading and learning focus on both digital and traditional media, with workshops and themed areas for kids of all ages.
Yas Island Theme Parks
Rarely do developers have the chance to design an entire island from the ground up with one objective in mind: family entertainment. Fifteen years ago, Yas Island was a blank canvas. Today, it’s home to an array of attractions including a Formula 1 race track, a high-end shopping mall, an 18-hole championship golf course, and a gleaming marina filled with superyachts. The icing on the cake is the collection of world-class theme and water parks including Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, and Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi. The latest addition is CLYMB, an indoor climbing and skydiving center where the sky is literally the limit.
Umm Al Emarat Park
There’s no shortage of green spaces in downtown Abu Dhabi, but few are as beautiful as Umm Al Emarat: a sprawling expanse of lawns, date palms, and winding walkways that was one of the first parks in the Middle East to receive the Green Flag Award. Since a major makeover in 2015, the park features an indoor Botanic Garden and dedicated Children’s Garden, as well as a nearly 100-foot high Shade House with two viewing platforms overlooking the greenery. On Saturdays, the park is home to The Ripe Market filled with fresh organic and local produce. Events such as outdoor cinema and concerts keep families entertained all year round.
The Garden City of Al Ain is known for its date palm plantations, archaeological sites, and the craggy hulk of Jebel Hafit, Abu Dhabi’s tallest mountain. At the base of the peak is Wadi Adventure, where visitors can battle whitewater rapids by raft or kayak, practice their surfing skills in the wave pool, or strap on a wakeboard in the watersports lagoon. For the best views of the surrounding scenery, those with a head for heights can tackle the 650-foot zipline and dizzying giant swing or defy gravity at the climbing wall and aerial adventure park.
Reem Central Park
Art and architecture exist side by side in Reem Central Park, a huge public space in the heart of the city where families and friends come to unwind. Contemporary art installations and dancing fountains are dotted around the park, all surrounded by placid waterways and gleaming glass towers. It’s a multicultural scene, where locals and visitors from all over the world relax on manicured lawns and playgrounds, catch air at the skate park, and gather at restaurants and food trucks serving an enormous array of international edibles.
Look for the mural "Woven" created by National Geographic Explorer Jeremy Collins in Reem Central Park. It depicts an Emirati woman practicing the traditional palm fiber weaving technique known as khous.
Explore other unique Emirati experiences on the Explore More Abu Dhabi portal.