Just what you needed with the unexpected early holidays…

It was unexpectedly announced recently that school holidays were set to commence early this year, running for four weeks from March 8. If that’s left a few working parents wondering what to do with their children during this time – or you’re just looking for something different to brunch this weekend – we’ve comprised a handy list of things to do.

Here are 25 of Dubai’s must-try indoor activities…

1. Try your hand at glow-in-the-dark mini golf

Love a game of mini golf? We do too. But we’ve never seen a course quite like this before. 3D Blacklight Minigolf is a mini golf experience set in the dark, illuminated by neon blacklighting and 3D effects that completely cover the walls and floor of the indoor course. Expect some epic visuals, from orange-hued desert scenes to the vibrant world beneath the sea. We’ve already got our eye on those neon golf clubs…

3D Blacklight Minigolf Dubai, daily 12 noon to 1am, Dhs110 adult, Dhs90 children aged 5 to 12. Tel: (04) 565 7621. facebook.com/3DBlacklightMinigolfDubai

2. See a film in 270 degrees

The first of its kind in the UAE, you’ll find ScreenX at Reel Cinemas in the Dubai Mall. The 170-seater cinema boasts a 270-degree screen, which wraps around three of the cinema walls, leaving movie-goers feeling like they’re part of the film at times. The films are adapted to suit the screen, and although not all of the films will be shown in the 270-degree format, the parts that are really leave viewers feeling thoroughly immersed. For the highest impact, pick a seat towards the back.

ScreenX by Reel Cinemas, Dubai Mall, various timings, from Dhs55. reelcinemas.ae

3. Navigate an urban maze

Jumble combines the element of logic and puzzle solving that we’re used to from other escape rooms in the city, and throws in an extra dose of physical exercise and exertion. Teams of three to six people must work through the series of baffling rooms (there are 12 in total to choose from and over 100 puzzles to try). You’ll find yourselves crawling through tunnels, scavenging for clues, and scratching your head at blank walls, while a timer counts down to your doom.

Jumble, Al Barsha, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Sun to Wed 11am to 10pm, Thurs & Fri 10am to 12am, Sat 10am to 10pm, Dhs175 for two-hour pass, Dhs225 for four hour pass. Tel: (800) 586253. jumble.ae

4. See a stunning water show

La Perle is a must-see for theatre and stunt show fans alike. The 90-minute show has been conceptualised by Franco Dragone, who is behind huge world-renowned productions like Le Rêve in Las Vegas and The House of Dancing Water in Macau. During the performance, acrobats and athletes dive from 25 metres into the changeable aqua-stage filled with 2.7 million litres of water, and fly around the theatre at 15 kilometres per hour. 

La Perle by Dragone, Al Habtoor City, Tuesday to Friday 7pm and 9.30pm and Saturday 4pm and 7pm. Tel: (04) 437 0123. laperle.com

5. Relieve stress at a Smash Room

Feeling a bit stressed out? Well, how’s this for a unique therapy session. The Smash Room lets you smash out all of your frustrations in a safe space – it’s essentially a rebel’s version of a day spa. The room is filled with old furniture, TVs, laptops, and mannequins, and you get to choose your weapon and show those objects who is boss (perhaps while imagining your boss). Packages start from Dhs99.

The Smash Room, Umm Suqeim Street, Al Quoz Industrial 4, Sat to Wed 11am to 10.30pm, Thur & Fri 11am to 11pm, from Dhs99. Tel: (058) 198 2323. thesmashroom.ae

6. Check out a virtual reality theme park

Another great activity for the hotter months is VR Park, the virtual reality attraction at The Dubai Mall. The park contains 21 experiences with different thrill levels – from a “dune bash” in the desert featuring encounters with camel spiders, scorpions and snakes, to a “Burj drop” which sees you propelled down the side of the Burj Khalifa. For Dhs119 you can get seven rides at the theme park, and for Dhs169 you’ll get seven rides, plus Dhs100 credit.

VR Park, Level 2, The Dubai Mall, 10am to 12midnight daily, from Dhs100. vrparkdubai.com

7. Brave a terrifying escape room

Escape room specialists No Way Out have ditched their family-friendly themes in favour of some seriously scary games. The most freaky of the lot is undoubtedly The Ring Room – yes, based on the horror film – which even features real-life actors. Shudder. How bad can it be? Put it this way – the room comes with its own health and safety clause…

No Way Out, HDS Business Centre, Cluster M, JLT. Sun to Wed 12 noon to 12 midnight, Thurs to Sat 11am to 1am, from Dhs125. Tel: (055) 929 8571. nowayout.ae.

8. Work up a sweat at Dubai Sports World

We’re trading our al fresco adventures for sports indoors from now, and Dubai Sports World is back at Dubai World Trade Centre to keep us active indoors. The space offers activities including basketball, gymnastics, football and badminton, and entry is free – although you’ll have to pay to use certain facilities.

Dubai World Trade Centre, daily 8am to 12 midnight. Tel: (04) 306 4000. dubaisportsworld.ae

9. Burn some serious energy off at Sky Zone

This brand-new activity park at Ibn Battuta Mall has everything you could need to blow off steam without being outdoors. With a Wipe Out zone, warrior courses, zip line, climbing wall, dodgeball court, trampoline park, toddler zone and giant warped walls, this 35,000 square foot centre is the place to be this summer.

Sky Zone, Persia Court, Ibn Battuta Mall, Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thurs & Fri 10am to 12 midnight, prices start from Dhs99 for 60 minutes. Tel: (800) 759 9663. skyzone.ae

10. Learn to ski or perfect your technique at this new dry slope

Booked that ski holiday but just missing one vital ingredient – knowing how to ski? Infinite Ski is the first of its kind dry-ski slope in the UAE, based in Al Quoz. You’ll ski or snowboard on a revolving belt, which simulates a real ski slope and you can adjust the gradient as you go. It’s perfect for those learning the ropes or for perfecting your existing snow skills, with a trial session priced from Dhs50.

Infinite Ski,123 – 4 26th St, Al Quoz, Dubai, Sun 12 noon to 9pm, Mon 10am to 9pm, Tues Wed & Thurs 12pm to 9pm, Fri & Sat 9am to 9pm, from Dhs110 per session. Tel: (04) 235 3408. infiniteski.com

11. Step into a rainforest at The Green Planet

It’s hard not to be impressed by nature at this tropical rainforest, home to over 3000 plants and animals. Little ones will be fascinated with activities such as The Sloth Encounter, The Bat Cave, The Sugar Glider Encounter and the new Australian Walkabout. There is also a wonderful variety of tropical fish to gaze at and, those feeling brave, can even hold a Python!

The Green Planet, City Walk, Dubai, daily 10am to 7pm, online Dhs110, on the door, Dhs120. Tel: (04) 317 3999. thegreenplanetdubai.com

12. Step under the sea with Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Some 33,000 fish, sharks and rays call Dubai Aquarium home. The 10-million litre tank is filled with marine life, and as well as being able to admire from the outside, Dubai Aquarium offers a number of experiences to get up, close and personal with the creatures that call the aquarium home, from feeding sting rays to swimming with sharks. You could purchase a combo pack to get up to 50 per cent off three top Dubai attractions. 

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, daily 10am to 12 midnight, from Dhs100. Tel: (800) 382246255. thedubaiaquarium.com

13. Let them get into character at Kidzania

Designed for children aged 4 to 16, Kidzania is a 7000 square metre city of fun with more than 60 activities for children to tackle. Inside, children can tackle real-life scenarios, role-play different jobs and even earn special ‘Kidzania’ currency.

Kidzania, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, weekdays 10am to 10pm, weekends 10am to 11pm, Dhs80 adult, Dhs195 child. Tel: (800) 382246255. kidzania.ae

14. Satisfy your need for speed

Dubai Autodrome is an exciting day out for all ages offering the chance for people to discover their racing driver dreams. Their indoor sKartdrome is perfect for when the weather is too hot, and the younger ones can enjoy it too, with carefully monitored karting sessions for kids aged 7 to 12.

Dubai Autodrome, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 9am to 9pm, daily Kartdrome from Dhs105, Tel: (04) 367 8700. dubaiautodrome.com

15. Defy Gravity

Ever wondered what it’s like to skydive but never want to step straight out of a plane? Then make your way to iFLY. You’ll be taken up 4-meters in the air where you’ll go against gravity, held up like you’re free-falling.

Ifly Dubai, Third Floor, Play Nation Area, City Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Sunday to Thursday 12 noon to 10pm, Friday & Saturday 10am to 11pm, from Dhs175. Tel: (04) 231 6292. theplaymania.com

16. Tackle the slopes

Arguably the coolest attraction in the city, the 22,500 square meter ski park set in Mall of the Emirates has loads of activities, including a ski slope for skiiers and snowboarders, a ‘Snow Park’ with a giant zorbing ball, ice cave, and ‘Mountain Thriller’ ride. Animal lovers can even see a penguin show. If you’re planning a ski trip, the ski school is available to help you learn the basics. Afterwards, warm up with a hot chocolate at the Avalanche and Ice Café. Ticket prices vary on your choice of activity.

Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Rd, Dubai, daily, 10am to 11pm. skidxb.com

17. Skate around

Swoop and glide (or try to) across the ice at Dubai Ice Rink with their daily sessions for all levels. They’ve also recently introduced mini-golf on ice, so if you think you’re at the top of your mini-putting game then why not give this a go?

Dubai Ice Rink, The Dubai Mall, Dubai, daily 10am to 11.45pm, adult Dhs75, child Dhs40, Mini-Golf on Ice, Dhs40. Tel: (800) 38224 6255. dubaiicerink.com

18. Ride Rollercoasters

IMG Worlds of Adventures packs out an impressive 1.5 million square feet of indoor space, and is divided into five zones; Marvel, Lost Valley, Cartoon Network, IMG Boulevard and Novo Cinemas. Within each area, there’s a host of themed rollercoasters and rides, as well as a 12 screen cinema dining and shopping. You can even meet some of your favourite Cartoon Network or Marvel characters.

IMG Worlds of Adventure, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Rd, Dubai, Sun to Wed 11am to 7pm, Thurs to Sat 11am to 8pm, from Dhs199 for UAE residents, general admission from Dhs299. imgworlds.com 

19. Bowl your way into the week

Wavehouse has certainly earned its stripes in terms of entertainment, and is a go-to for something different to your normal bar or restaurant scene. Set in the glow of neon lights and funky decor, try your hand at their four lane, ten-pin bowling alley from Dhs420 per hour (maximum 6 guests) or Dhs70 per person per game (walk in only). There’s also pool, arcade games, soft play and the Wave Rider, plus a bar and restaurant.

Wavehouse, Atlantis The Palm, Saturday to Wednesday 12pm to 1am daily. Tel: (04) 426 2626. atlantisthepalm.com/wavehouse

20. B-B-Bounce Around

Bounce at X-Park Dubai is not only insane fun, but a serious workout too. The super sized trampoline park is filled with obstacle courses, dodgeball, zip line, climbing walls, speed slide, slam dunk area and, of course, trampolines galore.

Bounce Trampoline Park, 4B Street, Al Quoz, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thurs 10am to 12pm, Fri, 9am to 12 midnight, Sat 9am to 9pm, from Dhs85. Tel: (04) 321 1400. bounce.ae

21. Take bouncing to the next level

BOUNCE-X is brought to you by the same people as Bounce Trampoline Park. This new concept will be the world’s first ‘freestyle terrain park’, complete with two storeys of trampolines, parkour elements and ninja courses. The 5,000 square metre space is described as a ‘giant adrenaline playground’ and will be filled with exciting challenges, superhero-style freestyle features and brand-new obstacles.

BOUNCE-X, Dubai Festival City Mall, opening Thursday March 12. bounce.ae

22. Tackle TEP Factor

Think of the 1990s TV show The Crystal Maze and you’ll have some idea of what you’re getting yourself into at TEPfactor. You’ll be trapped inside a closed chamber. Your strength can’t help you and there’s no assistance from the outside. Only your mind holds the key as you solve clues, puzzles and riddles against the clock. It’s brilliant fun.

Bahar Plaza, JBR, Dubai, one hour pass Dhs99 adults, Dhs79 children aged 8 to 12. Tel: (056) 404 0802. tepfactor.ae

23. Have hours of fun at this huge inflatable park

Air Maniax is the ultimate fun for young children through to adults. There’s five awesome zones with a giant inflatable area with an obstacle course. There’s a wrecking ball, climbing walls and even an inflatable wipe out area – that ought to ensure their energy is all burned out by the time they get home.

Air Maniax, 16/Street, Al Quoz Dubai, Sat to Wed 10am to 7pm, Thurs 10am to 10pm, Fri 10am to 9pm. Tel: (04) 438 8981. airmaniax.com

24. Check out a freestyle parkour jump park

Street Maniax is the brand new concept brought to Dubai by the people behind Air Maniax – the hugely successful indoor adventure park in Al Quoz. It will open near to its sister venue in the same area. Whilst Air Maniax is aimed at every age, from toddlers to adults, Street Maniax has been designed with older kids and adults in mind, and combines freestyle parkour and trampolining along with activities such as dodgeball, zip-lining and a cool VR game.

Street Maniax, 19/Al Khail Street, Al Quoz 3, Dubai, Sat to Wed 10am to 9pm, Thurs & Fri 10am to 10pm, from Dhs80. Tel: (04) 348 8981. facebook.com/airmaniax

25. Zoom in ekarts at Dubai Mall

Ekart Zabeel recently opened in Dubai Mall‘s new extension, adding to its ever growing list of fun attractions. The thrilling experience will see riders race through the track on the latest generation of electric go karts, to see who can log the fastest time. Helmets and jumpsuits are provided to ensure maximum safety for riders, then its down to you to beat your fellow e-karters to the finish line.

EKart Zabeel by Emaar, The Dubai Mall Zabeel, Downtown Dubai, open now. ekartzabeel.ae

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And two in Abu Dhabi…

Get your adrenaline fix at an indoor theme park

The world’s first Warner Bros. branded indoor theme park is home to a total of 29 rides and attractions based around six lands. Tickets to the theme park are available on the website, priced at Dhs295 for adults, and Dhs230 for children (under 1.1 metres). An annual pass costs Dhs695.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Dhs295. wbworldabudhabi.com.

Spike your adrenaline with indoor skydiving or rock climbing

For those action seekers in need of a serious adrenaline fix, it doesn’t get much better than the recently opened CLYMB in Abu Dhabi. Not only is it home to the world’s highest indoor climbing wall, but it’s also home to the world’s biggest indoor skydiving chamber. The monster wind tunnel is 32 metre high and nearly ten meters in diameter. Push yourself to the limit.

Clymb, Yas Mall (by Ferrari World entrance), Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Sunday to Thursday 11am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday noon to 11pm, basic flight package Dhs235, basic climb package Dhs120 for 60 minutes. Tel: (600) 511115, clymbabudhabi.com

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