If you’re visiting Dubai with kids there’s a strong chance that you will end up in a mall and find yourself there for 8 hours straight without even noticing it! That’s what happened to us anyways. Growing up in Dubai a visit to the mall was a big part of my childhood and my friends and I would escape the heat by shopping and chilling at coffee shops but on my most recent visit to Dubai with my kids, I came to realize that the malls in Dubai now offer so much more! The Dubai Mall is one of the largest malls in the world and is home to some amazing shops, restaurants, kids museums and one of the largest suspended aquarium in the world! The reason we visited The Dubai Mall (the first time) was to spend our afternoon at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo with our two young kids before meeting friends for lunch.
Disclosure : This post is in partnership with The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo but, as always, opinions are TOTALLY ours!
Most of my friends mentioned that they had never been inside the aquarium but that their kids love standing on the main level and looking at the tank which houses thousands of aquatic animals, comprising over 140 species. Over 300 Sharks and Rays live in this tank, including the largest collection of Sand Tiger Sharks in the world. This free entertainment will definitely have your kid mesmerized (you can also head upstairs to a restaurant and get a closer view) but having explored the various parts of the aquarium and having seen the joy on our kids’ faces and what they learned whilst exploring, I think an actual visit is definitely worth the expense.
There are various packages on offer if you plan to visit the Dubai Aquarium with kids and we opted for the Explorer Package which gave us access to the Aquarium Tunnel, the Underwater Zoo, a Behind the Scenes tour, a ride in the Submersible Simulator and Aquarium Glass Bottom Boat. We also tagged on an Otter Experience and decided to miss the the Behind the Scenes tour as we were getting a bit antsy after 3 hours in the aquarium and had to meet friends for our late lunch.
The video above showed you all that we got up to and my one tip is to remember to buy fish food if you’re doing the glass bottom boat because Baby Boy loved that experience and we’re so thankful that another lady on the boat shared her fish food with him. You’re only going through a small portion of the tank and when I first saw it I was a bit disappointed but it turned out to be a great experience for the kids and I may have to take them snorkeling the next time we’re by way of underwater fish. The Simulator was quick and got the kids in the mood before the boat ride but overall they weren’t too impressed with that potion to be honest. The boat is what they liked the most.
They did however love getting up close with the Otters and not only did the trainer teach them about Otters and allow them to touch one, but they also learned how to take care of the environment and not to litter because of the dangers it poses for creatures like the Otters.
What I really liked about the Dubai Aquarium is how they have made the space so kid friendly while adults can experience and learn too. There are touch points for the kids to look and see but then there are parts where parents can step in and play the role of educator by reading the various facts and relaying it to young kids. Each experience was on a different floor of the mall but there were lifts and escalators to get around if you had a stroller with you. There were benches and seating spots inside the Aquarium for when you need a mini rest and washrooms had change tables. I brought the re-usable bottle of water for the kids because I knew they’d get thirsty during our explorations. We missed the crocodile feeding but totally wished we had planned our visit around this because the King Croc is MASSIVE and watching him eat would have been quite the show I bet!
There’s plenty to do in the Dubai Mall with kids and we chatted about that on our Podcast if you want to give it a listen!