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The Best Things to Do in Abu Dhabi with Kids in 2024: A Family Guide

Abu Dhabi holds a special place in my heart and it still remains one of my favourite Middle Eastern destinations for families and couples. There is so much to do in Abu Dhabi, plus you are only one hour from Dubai, yet, it feels at least to me more authentic and relaxing. 

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a mesmerising destination that seamlessly blends traditional Emirati heritage with ultramodern architecture. They don’t try to compete with Dubai but make it so that they still remain true to their heritage and encompassing modern features. 

For families planning to experience the city there are countless things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids. From the thrilling rides at the world’s fastest roller coaster in Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, located on Yas Island, to the informative and cultural exhibitions at Qasr Al Hosn, there’s something to captivate everyone. The indoor theme park ensures fun times away from the heat, making it a top pick for family outings.

And if you want to cool down, you can do so at Yas Island Waterpark or spend the day at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi to enjoy some cool activities and sea Marine life in the Gulf. 

While the skyline and the coastline offer stunning vistas and water sports, the Observation Deck at 300 provides an unparalleled view of the city, showcasing attractions in Abu Dhabi like never before. No trip to Abu Dhabi is complete without a visit to Saadiyat Island, known for its white sand beaches, art galleries, and exhibitions, offering both relaxation and a culturally immersive experience.

Moreover, for those looking into Abu Dhabi attractions, the beautifully landscaped Corniche Abu Dhabi presents a picturesque setting for evening walks and leisure activities, making it one of Abu Dhabi’s beloved spots.

For adventure and education, Masdar City portrays the future of sustainable living and its unique approach to urban development for those interested in green living. 

Abu Dhabi offers a rich array of fun things to do, mixing leisure, adventure, and culture. Whether you’re reading through reviews and photos of Abu Dhabi on TripAdvisor LLC or planning your day trip itinerary, be sure to include these not-to-be-missed places you can miss in Abu Dhabi for an unforgettable family vacation.

Best Places to Visit in Abu Dhabi

1 Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

things to do in abu dhabi with family
Many years ago, I took my aunt and mum to Abu Dhabi. Great place for family memories too

You cannot go to Abu Dhabi and not visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The architecture, reflecting a blend of Moroccan, Mughal, and Andalusian styles, and can hold over 40,000 worshippers. Visitors can explore its 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, 24-carat gold gilded chandeliers, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. 

They have tours for tourists that you can enjoy and also options with coffee shops and places to relax before continuing. If you are a Muslim, you can also pray within the mosque. 

Make sure you cover yourself with maxi dresses as your head and shoulders when visiting the inside of Sheikh Zayed Mosque. 

Fridays are usually for Muslims as the mosque is still fully functioning. They do have a visitor centre with information, but I would suggest going very early in the morning before the Jummah ( lunch prayer) or visiting after in the afternoon.

2 Emirates Palace

Every visitor wants to visit the opulent Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. The hotel, which is currently a Mandarin Oriental, costs over £500 a night; however, as a tourist, you can either visit for a coffee (which we did) or book a tour and explore more areas unavailable to standard visitors. 

Given its dual role as a luxury hotel and a cultural landmark, the Emirates Palace is open to visitors, and there is no shame in just walking around and enjoying the spaces. It will take you anywhere from one hour to several hours, depending on whether you are enjoying a coffee or booking a tour of the Palace.

3 The Corniche

You can combine a visit to Emirates Palace with a day in the Corniche. Downtown Abu Dhabi has a lot to offer families and those who want to enjoy a walk by the water. I love how easily walkable the city is especially around the Corniche – if the weather permits it of course. 

Several hotels also offer a beach, which you can get access to if you don’t have one in your hotel, though I would recommend Saadiyat Island for a better beach experience. 

If you are visiting from Dubai, booking a day tour from the city might be a more convenient option to maximise your time there.

Things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids_1
I loved the fact we walked so close to them

4 Seaworld Abu Dhabi 

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi offers great day out experience for families.  This marine-life theme park provides a unique blend of entertainment and conservation, bringing the wonders of the ocean to the desert. They offer educational activities and much marine life from the Middle East.

Seaworld Abu Dhabi is the first park outside the United States. Boasting the world’s largest and most expansive marine life aquarium, it features a range of attractions that cater to all ages. They have shows, tours, cafes with dolphins or penguins as lunch companions and generally it is such a nice place to visit with kids. 

I was not sure what to expect, but we absolutely loved it, and I wish I had an extra day to explore.

5 Dune Bashing 

A visit to the desert when in the Middle East is a must. You get to experience true desert with the beautiful golden colours especially at sunset. You can get yourself a guide since this is a guided experience and usually dune bashing is done by proficient drivers who know how to. 

Dune bashing and desert camp experience tours are great things to do with kids, although I feel that dune bashing is especially best for older children. They might enjoy sand surfing as well, which is a little milder. I did get dizzy and car sick, so there are better options if you have the same problem. 

At the end of these tours they usually also offer a desert camp experience and also camel riding. If you have never done this before it is definitely recommended for family or tourists in Abu Dhabi. 

6 Yas Marina Circuit Experiences

One of the great things to do in Abu Dhabi is to visit Yas Marina whether for a guided tour, to watch a Formula 1 performance or my favourite to actually get on the track and bike around it. 

This is one of my best memories, and I did that almost 14 years ago. Twice a week, the track is open to visitors who can bring their bikes or rent one and then enjoy a race with the family around the track. It is a nice way to enjoy an evening with the kids in Abu Dhabi. 

kayaking the mangroves in abu dhabi
It was a fun experience, though my arms hurt after

7 Kayaking in Mangrove National Park

Many people don’t consider the Middle East to have anything more than luxury and desert; however, this is far from the truth, with many nature options available, like the mangroves. I believe that this is one of those things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids, especially older ones, who will remember the experience.

You can get yourself a guided tour and kayak around the Mangroves National Park in Abu Dhabi and learn more about its preservation. It is definitely a great day out and an experience, and trust me, your arms might not thank you. Also, don’t expect little helpers to be able to help with all the paddling. 

8 Yas Waterworld

I have been to Abu Dhabi many times over the years, but until recently, I had never been to Yas Waterworld. I just felt that without children with me, it was not enjoyable.

Yas Waterwold things to do in ABu Dhabi with kids (1)
We did stay until closing

While this might be the case since I am not an adventure junkie, I truly loved our day at the Yas Waterworld with the kids. We had so much fun splashing in the pools, and I loved that I got to experience this with my daughter. 

Definitely expect to spend the whole day there; there are restaurants, activities and slides for small and big kids alike. It does get busy, especially on the sun loungers, but we didn’t feel there was a queue for the rides. 

You can book a tour from Dubai or buy tickets prior to visiting. Buying tickets for several parks is cheaper if you plan to visit more than one.

9 Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Warner Bros offers kids a great day with their favourite characters, so it is high on the list of families visiting Abu Dhabi. You can explore and play in the area for a full day. While I have not visited, my friends love it, though it is best for a little older children who are more aware of all the characters on display. 

They also have a theme hotel which is just close to all three Yas parks where you can stay in order to enjoy Yas Island more within the 40min commute from downtown Abu Dhabi. 

10 Louvre Museum

The famous Louvre Museum opened its doors in Abu Dhabi in 2022, and it was an instant hit. The design of the museum is extremely relaxing, and the white minimalist deco and design add a quiet luxury. It is a must-visit while in Abu Dhabi by many influencers. 

Personally, I felt underwhelmed with the whole experience. I felt the museum was empty, and although it was so pretty in design, it was lacking something. Maybe I just expected more. 

Louvre Children musuem was a hit for kids in abu dhabi

The one part we absolutely loved and I wish it was the case for the rest of the Louvre Museum was the Children’s Museum at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. They had many interactive activities for kids and we spent the most time there with our daughter. It is a very fun place, and we did enjoy all the adventures and them tracking their progress as they discovered the clues. If you are visiting Abu Dhabi with kids and the Louvre museum, don’t miss it. 

11 KidZania at Yas Mall

We love KidZania which is basically a minitiature adventure park for children. We have visited quite a few of them especially when we go to Jeddah and it is hot to spend time outside in the summer. You can easily spend several hours there exploring supermarkets, being a firefighter or a doctor – which are my daughter’s favourite professions. 

12 Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

I was never a fan of tourist busses however after taking one in New York I have to say they are my favourite especially in large cities and Abu Dhabi with kids definitely fits that category. With a Hop-on Hop-off bus, you can take the sights of the city and a tour without having to walk. If you have young children with you, this is much easier especially if they are at the stage between pram and walking. 

Considering Abu Dhabi and its attractions are spread across the city, and if you don’t want to rent a car, the tour bus offers a great alternative for families to make the most of their time there. 

13 Ferrari World 

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is a Ferrari-branded theme park located on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It holds the record for the largest space frame structure ever built and features the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, which reaches speeds of up to 240 kilometers per hour (150 mph).
The park opened on November 4, 2010, and is an anchor attraction for Yas Island, which is situated about 30 minutes from the capital of the UAE. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi offers a variety of thrilling rides, shows, and attractions inspired by the Ferrari brand and its rich history in racing.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is designed to appeal to a broad audience of families, thrill seekers, and Ferrari enthusiasts. It offers a unique blend of informative attractions and adrenaline-pumping rides, all within the iconic red-roofed structure shaped like a giant Ferrari logo. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is a mostly indoor theme park located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 

Louvre abu dhabi things to do in the city (1)
The design of the Louvre is stunning

14 Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital Tour

The Falcon Hospital, as its name suggests, is a hospital for falcons that treats and cares for them. As a national bird, they take very good care of falcons and offer tours and options to learn more about them. It is a highly recommended tour and place to visit in Abu Dhabi, and for kids, it is fascinating to learn more about them. 

I have actually had several flights in the Gulf where we had falcons as passengers, and it is such an intelligent bird. Always a cool story.

15 Fort -Qasr Al Hosn 

Qasr al Hosn, or Abu Dhabi Fort, is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s downtown.It is the oldest stone building, originally serving as a watchtower to safeguard the only freshwater well on the island. Eventually, it evolved into the permanent residence of the ruling Al Nahyan family and expanded into a formidable fort, embodying the growth of the city itself. The Fort offers a glimpse into the history and how Abu Dhabi was evolved over the centuries to what it is today. 

It is worth visiting while in Abu Dhabi. Since it is located downtown, you can combine it with a full day of exploring the corniche, the Emirate’s Palace, and the Qast Al Hosn fort. You can book a private tour of the Fort or you can buy tickets on the day. They also hold several events throughout the year.

16 Emirates Park Zoo

emirates park zook in abu dhabi great activity feeding the elepahnts. _1
A highlight for my daughter

Again this is the perfect day of things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids since Emirates Park Zoo although not big offers a fun day out. We did go around 12 and left just after 6 since we also enjoyed a snack and took the slow trip around the park. Of course, you can see animals, they have activities for kids but I feel the most fun all of us was feeding the elephants and the tigers.

They do have feeding times where you can go and watch them feed the animals, but we paid extra to feed the elephants. My daughter absolutely loved it, and I would recommend it since I enjoyed it too. The tiger feeding/hunting was not so much, and we had to wait 30 minutes for them to set it up. 

Overall I feel it was a nice day out especially in the afternoon. Some parts of the park are indoor and others are outside, so if you go in the summer, make sure you do go in the afternoon; otherwise, you might be disappointed. 

You can book yourself a day ticket as they had that option and we didn’t book in advance. You pay for some activities extras. Also, check out Group UAE, which always has some good deals.

17 Traditional Emirati Breakfast

Things to do in ABu dhabi with family - emirate breakfast

You cannot leave Abu Dhabi without going for a traditional Emirati breakfast. Our friends who live in Abu Dhabi took us to the Golden Dalla Meals Restaurant for breakfast. I really liked the decor and how it was set up as a traditional Emirati house. It is a small place, but the food and drinks were nice, so it was definitely a nice start to your day. 

If you want to experience some local food with a nice cup of karak, then this place hits the mark.

18 Observation Deck Emirates Towers

The Observation deck is an excellent place to visit for a few hours to enjoy the views of Abu Dhabi from above. Located in the Etihad Towers Conrad in the Corniche, it offers 360-degree views of the city and the sea. You can also sit and enjoy afternoon tea there, which is what we did. It is relaxing and a good way to spend an afternoon. The kids can also enjoy the telescopes there and the nice views.

Is it worth visiting Abu Dhabi?

I would say it is definitely worth visiting the capital of the UAE. They create a more “quiet” luxury experience than Dubai, which I find loud and overcrowded these days. Abu Dhabi is elegant, and many locals live in the city, which is more authentic and as welcoming to tourists as any other Emirate. 

Family-friendly Hotels in Abu Dhabi 

Abu Dhabi has many family-friendly hotels, depending on what you want to enjoy while in the city. Depending on where you want to stay during your holiday. For example Yas Island offer plethora of family and kids-friendly hotels. For kids who love Warner Bros movies, you can definitely book yourself into one of the Warner Bros Abu Dhabi theme hotel available. They have activities and are on Ya Island for easy access to all the parks. 

If you want luxury for your holiday, Sadiyatt Island and St Regis offer that. One other property I love is the Four Seasons Al Maryah Island, which can be a very good value. It is next to a promenade and a Mall, making it easier to keep the kids busy.

I also have a list of halal hotels in the Middle East that don’t serve alcohol and are as close to halal as possible.

Getting around Abu Dhabi 

If you are new to the city or you are coming from Dubai or planning to visit, I would recommend renting a car. Driving in the United Arab Emirates is not hard, and I found that Abu Dhabi’s driving is very similar to driving in the UK. While Dubai can be a little wilder, it is also manageable. 

With distances in the Emirates being so long it is best if your child is secured in their own car seat and you have more flexibility over your schedule. Even though taxis are not expensive, they can add up if you want to make the most of your stay in Abu Dhabi. 

As an example of distances – it takes around 40 minutes without traffic from downtown Abu Dhabi to Yas Island. 

Just remember if you are renting a car make sure you also have excess high insurance for it just in case of any damage.

How long do you need in Abu Dhabi? 

How long you should stay in Abu Dhabi will depend on what you plan on doing. Personally, I would suggest you visit for a week to enjoy spending time on the beach with the kids as well as planning some activities like SeaWorld or Yas Waterpark, which usually don’t have access anywhere else. 

Overall I find that Abu Dhabi with kids is a great option for families who want to enjoy a relaxing atmosphere, still have plenty of activities to do and enjoy quality family time. Personally, I prefer the slower pace of Abu Dhabi, and since my best friend lives in the city, I rather drive for a few days in Dubai to see the things I want and then go back to a more relaxing vibe. If you want to visit Dubai I have several articles below as well. 

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Visiting SeaWorld Abu Dhabi Is it Worth it?
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