Hey grown-ups, here’s how to be a goofball in Abu Dhabi…
Big kids of the UAE listen up: you no longer have to grow up. Our city has become one big playground book-ended by a huge sand pit to the South (read: the desert), and a great big paddling pool to the North (read: the sea). So, abandon your adulthood, here’s how to start acting like a child in the UAE.
Slip ‘n’ slide across the sea
When you’re a kid, there’s nothing more thrilling than a good old-fashioned playground. Swings, slides and your friends messing around together are the recipe for simple pleasure. Take this tried and tested formula to the next level at Aqua Fun, the world’s largest inflatable water park at the cornich where you can slip, slide, bounce and jump around on 74 inflatable obstacles in all shapes
Abu Dhabi corniche, Mon to Sun 9am to 6.30pm, Dhs150 adults, Dhs120 children. aquafun.ae
Ever felt like stepping into hurricane force winds to see if you could fly? No? Well, you can do it anyway at Spacewalk, Abu Dhabi’s indoor skydiving centre. Walk into the wind tunnel and before you know it you’ll be horizontal and flying in the air like Superman. It’s the exhilaration of a skydive without a parachute or plane.
Abu Dhabi Country Club, daily noon to 9pm, Dhs180. Tel: (02) 6577601. adcountryclub.com
When it comes to the great outdoors, the GCC desert is a truly unique adventure playground. With massive areas of rarely-visited wilderness to explore, dune and wadi bashing can be some of the best ways to unleash your inner child. If you’re not an experienced off-roader, team up with someone who is before making a beeline for Liwa
and its incredible dunes.
Don’t just watch a movie, live it
3D films are for old fogies. It’s all about 4DX now. Theses cinemas heighten every jump, jolt, gush, crash, bang and wallop you see on screen to cartoonish proportions, all designed for a more immersive way of watching movies. The 4DX Vox screen at Marina Mall is kitted out with smoke machines, strobe lights, and mechanical chairs that move in every direction, all synchronised perfectly with the film. Make sure you’re ready for the ride…
Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi. Dhs150. Tel: (600) 599905. uae.voxcinemas.com
Remember when you used to be mummy’s little soldier? Well, you can pretend to be one again thanks to the spectacular paintballing zones at Al Forsan. Choose the number of colourful paintballs you require; 300 usually covers it. You’ll then be given all the necessary padding to make you look and feel like Rambo. Aim of the game? Make it rain bullets and don’t get hit. A 40-minute game costs Dhs210 per person.
Get bouncy at a trampoline park
Make like House Of Pain, and jump around on the interconnected indoor trampolines at Bounce. There are fitness classes and family-friendly bookings as well as a swish mezzanine café where you can chill out and watch other people think they’re bouncing at the Olympics.
Ride a dragon…
… boat, that is. The Capital Dragons, Abu Dhabi’s dragon boat racing team, are on the lookout for recruits – the first three training sessions are free.
Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club. Tel: (050) 7230966. capitaldragons.weebly.com
Ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster
Formula Rossa covers 1.3 miles in 90 seconds. Queue for that all-important front seat where you’ll be handed a pair of goggles for safety – it’s not called the world’s fast rollercoaster for nothing. Strap in and wait. Your brain will feel like it’s been lodged out of place, but for the ultimate big kid adventurers, it’s the coolest ride on the planet.
Ride everything at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
There are 29 rides to try at the capital’s newest theme park, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg: get ready to hang out with batman, Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny and loads more cartoon legends at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi.
Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Dhs230 to Dhs295 day pass. Tel: (02) 6129333. wbworldabudhabi.com
Play a glowing round of golf
A round of crazy golf at Dalma Mall is roaring fun and the capital’s only neon, glow-in-the-dark mini-course. With ultraviolet lights, aliens and astronauts, it’s silly, fun, and surprisingly tricky.
Dalma Mall, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thur to Fri 10am to midnight. Tel: (02) 5555307. teeandputt.com
Drive a Formula 3000 car
While you may never be able to sit behind the wheel of a real Ferrari car, nor race in an international competition, the Ferrari GT driver experience at Yas Marina circuit gets you pretty close. Jump into the driving seat and take charge of the paddle shifters while revving a 3,000cc V6 engine. You’ll feel like Lewis Hamilton, even if only for a few laps.
Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Dhs1,840. Tel: (02) 6599800. yasmarinacircuit.com
Slurp on a monster shake
Remember how your parents would tell you not to eat too many sweets? Be a little rebel and order a sugary shake sensation from The Black Tap. Order the eye-bulging cake batter shake – a vanilla frosted rim with rainbow sprinkles topped with a funfetti cake slice, whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and the obligatory cherry. You’ll be recovering for days, but it’s worth it.
Yas Mall, Sun to Wed 11am to 11pm, Thur to Sat 11am to midnight. Tel: (02) 4465128. blacktapme.com