All for fun and fun for all

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All for fun and fun for all By Cindy L Bailey, Staff Writer GULF NEWS Published: December 18, 2007, 22:59

Families in the UAE are spoilt for choice when settling for
a weekend of serious fun.

A hard week in office demands a fun weekend. Now, having fun may be a state of mind in some hick town due to a lack of options, but not in the UAE. Dubai and the other emirates throw up seemingly endless opportunities for the family for a weekend of fun and frolic. Seek and you shall find.

Whether it’s spending time at the many beaches or parks in Dubai, visiting the exciting water parks or enjoying the adrenalin rush while indulging in some serious dune bashing in one of the seven emirates in your four wheel or on an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle), the UAE prides itself in having something for every outdoor enthusiast.

Clare Hadley, mother of two children, Alexander, four, and Daniel, one, says, “As my boys are so young I can only really take them to the beach. We are quite limited to what we can participate in due to their age.

“Parks are great, Alexander likes to ride his bike (in the park.).
There are so many things to do in Dubai. There are a lot of options, although we tend to observe rather than join in. There are powerboat and hot air balloon shows. They all cater well for children. We do like to go to the Jebel Ali Sailing Club, the boys can play in the pool and play with the other children there.”

Kay Robinson, mother of Summer-Jane, seven, and Megan, five, shares what she does to keep her daughters entertained. “My girls love the beach. They love to build sand castles and play in the sea. Wild Wadi is also one of their favourite haunts. I’m happy to take them wherever they can get fresh air, I don’t like to keep them inside all day. Dubai’s weather is great and I like to take full advantage of that, obviously we have to be very careful during the summer months, but on the whole I like to involve them in anything that keeps them active.”

The beach isn’t just for children as parents can also take advantage by sitting back and relaxing while watching their children play and enjoy the sun, sand and sea.

Andrew Kirk, a Dubai resident, is father of Jessica, 11, and Adam, nine and describes what his family likes to do in their free time.

“The beach is always a popular choice with my kids, they never get bored with it. Whether they are playing soccer, volleyball or just rolling in the waves, they are always entertained. And it’s always nice for Sarah (his wife) and me to have some down time too.

“We always try and go to a water park once every few weeks. Now that the weather has cooled down we will be spending a lot more time on the beach, it was a little too hot for the kids during the summer. We could only take them before noon or after 3 pm. Our favourite water park is Wild Wadi with Juha’s Dhow being quite high in the popularity stakes.

“Of late, a personal favourite is spending the day at Dubai Creek Park. It has a great picnic area and we play rounders — Jessica and Adam love it. We have a great time. That is one of the things I love about Dubai. There are so many places that parents can spend quality time with their children.”

Wild Wadi is not the only water park where families can enjoy quality time together, Wonderland, Dubai, also includes a family water park.

“The park is divided into three areas: the main street that includes a special water mist cinema show, (films are projected on to a thin layer of water) the theme park that has roller coasters, go carts and restaurants, and Splashland water park with a host of water-based activities and pastimes to keep the whole family amused. The park also offers a ‘families only’ special on Thursdays.

“Wonderland is a family favourite. It’s an amusement park and water park rolled into one and keeps my whole family entertained; we love spending the odd weekend there,” says Marcus Bumby, father of two children, Cameron Reece, eight, and Annalise, four.

“My son loves to play football, so I take him to the park or beach most days after school. I am very conscious about keeping my children active. I want them both to be as healthy as possible and I believe an active lifestyle will ensure that.

“I don’t really like them playing videogames and watching TV all the time so my wife and I try to rustle up activities that involve them. Annalise loves to just join in with anything that Cameron does, whether it’s kicking a ball around on the beach or playing at the park.”

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