16 places to keep the family active indoors in Abu Dhabi this summer
Put the controllers down, it’s time to hit the town…
Staying here for the summer? It doesn’t have to be a pool-to-sofa existence. We’ve rounded up our favourite ways to keep those bodies moving, kids entertained and malleable minds sharp.
Active Al Maryah Island
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This sporting hub offers a range of fitness activities, but for the sweatier months — their professional football dome is a great way to enjoy the beautiful game without the pain. You can rent out the 11-a-side pitch for Dhs1,575 per hour, and the 7-a-side pitch for Dhs924 per hour. Worked up a bit of an appetite? There are also a collection of food trucks on site. Back of the net.
Al Maryah Island, Tel: (02) 403 4488, @activealmaryah
Abu Dhabi Summer Sports
Now open to the public, Abu Dhabi Summer Sports is on a mission to keep the capital’s residents active this summer, providing a gargantuan 27,000 square metre indoor AC-cooled space to get gains in. Operating out of Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre between now and August 31, between 8am and 1am daily, Abu Dhabi Summer Sports will offer 25 courts, a running track, a huge indoor inflatable assault course, kids’ zone and food and beverage outlets. Available sports facilities to get involved with include a seven-a-side football field, two lots of five-a-side football courts, eight Padel tennis courts, three basketball courts, three badminton courts, three volleyball courts, one cricket court, a CrossFit track, and a 1-km running track.
Zayed Sports City
There’s a full kitbag of indoor sporting entertainment available at Zayed Spot City, but one of our favourite active highlights is getting on the ice skating rink — a exceptional way to cool down from just Dhs55 — and there are even lessons available if, like us, you’re still a bit Bambi on stilts. You can also go on strike with Cosmic Bowling (7pm every Wednesday) at the compound’s Khalifa International Bowling Centre. Because in space, nobody can hear you gutter ball.
Inside Yas-based adventuredrome, Clymb — you can skydive and scale up an artificial Everest beneath the snug-comfort of a steel sky. The venue is home to a truly epic wind tunnel that lets you live out all the thrills of hurling yourself out of a plane, except at a few metres above sea-level and without having to put faith in square metres of voluminous nylon. Prefer your ascents a bit more hands-on? There is a huge collection of climbing walls, and boulder-edging to pit your finger strength against. It’s our nation’s spiritual home of the war on gravity.
Clymb, Yas Mall (by Ferrari World entrance), Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Sunday to Thursday 11am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday noon to 11pm, basic climb package Dhs120 for 60 minutes, Combo tickets from Dhs315. Tel: (600) 511115, clymbabudhabi.com
Taking inspiration from iconic TV shows, The Crystal Maze and Fort Boyard, Prison Island – Beat the Bars is a new adventure experience now open at Abu Dhabi Mall. Set over a 1,000m² expanse, this is no escape room — it’s a network of 26 individual ‘cells’ featuring tasks each more fiendishly conundrous (shhh, that’s a word) than the last, and you’ll have to beat them all if you want to escape the island, with winner’s bragging rights.
Abu Dhabi Mall, Dhs125, @prisonisland.abudhabi.
Al Forsan International Sports Resort
The Al Forsan International Sports Resort has some pretty amazing recreational fun times to get involved with, and whilst a lot of it is staged on the outdoor grounds (including the karting track, paintball arena and archery range), there are indoor pursuits too. Take the shooting club for example, visitors line their on a range of firearms including handguns, rifles, sniper rifles, a bow and arrow – and even a virtual VirTra 300-powered shooting simulator.
Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Khalifa City. Tel: (800) 9900, alforsan.com
Say bonjour to the second Abu Dhabi location of AirManiax right in the heart of the capital’s excitement hub, at Yas Mall (the first is in Marina Mall). It’s a gigantic indoor kids’ entertainment megaplex arriving, mercifully, just in time for the return of summer heat. Located on the ground floor of the mall, next to the Grand Prix entrance, this intelligently designed adventure complex is now open and offers multiple themed zones and attractions for all age groups of kiddlywinks. .
Air Maniax Abu Dhabi is open now at Yas Mall, daily 10 am to midnight, prices from Dhs85 for 60 minutes. Tel: (02) 635 2544, airmaniax.booknow
A few leagues up from ‘jumpers for goalposts’ this inflatable 5-a-side dome with 5G (no tin foil hats please) pitch belongs to 321Sports, on Abu Dhabi’s adventure island — Hudayriyat. You and your squad can rent the pitch, along with a tidy collection of other sporting courts and amenities.
Hudayriyat Island, Dhs520 per hour. Tel: (02) 691 0256, 321sports.ae
A brand new ‘digital paintball’ experience has just opened in Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall and it looks like a solid bullseye for the Call of Duty generation. There are a few different ways you can play at Battle Park — gather the squad for iBattle, a team deathmatch spawned in an abandoned prison-themed layout, from Dhs75 for a 20 minute game. There’s also a virtual shooting simulator with sessions priced from Dhs40, and target shooting from Dhs50.
Marina Mall Floor 2. Tel: (800) 228853, @battlepark.official
Get the jump on your week by heading to Marina Mall’s extreme trampoline park, Bounce — and picking up one of their special passes. Inside there’s a Free-Jump arena; Slam Dunk zone; you can play Dodgeball; find the origin of fun in the Big Bag; dare you face The Wall?; or dive into the upgraded adrenalin of the X-Park?; Just here for the gains? You can also get involved with some Bounce Fit; there are also the elevated thrills of the Zip Line, the Quick Drop and Speed Slide. Prices start at 85 for adults but there’s a premium unlimited day pass (access all areas) charged at Dhs250 for adults and Dhs180 for kids.
Bounce, Marina Mall, Sat to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thu and Fri 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3 211 400, @bouncemideast
Cake and Sprinkles
It’s all available to experience at Abu Dhabi’s Cultural Foundation, behind Qasr Al Hosn until August 31 — as part of a fun-packed schedule of events under the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi’s (DCT Abu Dhabi) ‘Summer Like You Mean It’ campaign. Cakes and Sprinkles is a limited time pop-up pop-art patisserie serving up cakes, coffee, ice cream and spectating access to some stunning works of awe from 25 UAE-based artists, around a theme based on ‘the love of sweets’. There are also some incredibly fun interactive installations and fun-zones that look just perfect for a family day out.
Cultural Foundation, until August 31. @abudhabicf
Etizan the colossal fitness complex at hotel Erth (formally known as the Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel) is legitimately stacked with an Olympic range of sporting activities including a 3,500 sqm gym, tennis courts, multiple football pitches (including a fully FIFA-certified 11-a-side pitch), a boxing studio, martial arts space, an eight-lane-indoor-tournament-spec pool, facilities for gymnastics, aerobics, squash, bowling, track and field, volleyball, basketball, shooting and Jiu Jitsu. But something they do offer a more bijoux racket in, is everybody’s fave new court sport — padel tennis, with rental from Dhs240.
Erth, Khor Al Maqta, gym day passes from Dhs151, padel court rental from Dhs240, football pitch rental from Dhs504. Tel: (02) 497 5229, Etizan.ae
The Galleria Al Maryah Island offers 44,200 sqft of recreational adventure. There’s the synapse-jangling thrills of electronic entertainment; all the button-mashing fun of the video games arcade; and intense virtual reality (VR) experiences. Prefer your activities a little more analog? You can pick up sticky splits at their 12-lane bowling alley, double-bounce your bestie at the trampoline park, beat the peak on the climbing wall, or take on the Tag Arena’s timed obstacle course for leaderboard bragging rights.
The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, Saturday to Wednesday 10am to 10pm, Thursday to Friday 10am to midnight. Tel: (02) 493 7400, thegalleria.ae
If you’ve not been to Kidzania before, it’s essentially a theme park for careers. And we mean that in the most positive, complimentary way. Kids wander through the streets of a toy-town, with the opportunity to try their hand at role-playing a series of simulated job experiences. There’s a replica hospital, radio station, fire service, acting academy and more.
Kidzania can be found in Yas Mall, 1pm to 8pm, ticket prices for kids start from Dhs149, adults from Dhs69, other packages are available. Tel: (054) 998 6897, tickets.kidzania.ae
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Located on level three of WTC Mall’s The Hub – you can gain entrance to what might just be the cheapest thrill ride in the city, a pair of slides that make up the attraction called: Velocity. It only lasts a few seconds, but don’t judge — at Dhs15 (or Dhs35 for two goes and camera rental) — for a stylish tumble down a four storey drop, you really can’t go wrong.
World Trade Centre Mall Abu Dhabi, 10am to 10pm, from Dhs15. @wtcad
This 35,000 square foot entertainment zone at Dalma Mall includes a bowling zone (from Dhs30 per game), virtual relaity experiences, racing and rollercoaster simulators, pool tables, arcades and a network PC gaming room with 25 high spec computers. There’s also a shisha lounge and a restaurant on site.
Dalma Mall, 10am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 672 4922, @zealentertainmentcentre