There’s no place like Dubai for the big kids
From thriller rides to sand boarding, go-karting and now, a brand new set of some of the world’s best theme parks, we give the guide to grown-up fun in Dubai.
Thrills and spills
Smashing records to become the world's largest indoor theme park, IMG Worlds of Adventure keeps guests cool and undercover as they enjoy the 22 rides designed to thrill, scare and entertain.
The new amusement park caters for adults looking for a rush, with the park's piece de resistance being the Velociraptor rollercoaster, reaching 96km/h in less than three seconds, propelling riders around eight upside-down loops.
City of Arabia
+971 4 403 8888
From Lego to Bollywood
The hugely anticipated Dubai Parks and Resorts mega-theme park, opening soon, comprises three full-size amusement parks in one super-sized location. The site includes Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park, dedicated to the beloved building blocks and featuring characters from the hit feature film. The first Bollywood-themed park in the world, Bollywood Parks, lets guests explore their favourite movie sets, visit replicas of bustling Mumbai and rustic rural Indian villages, and watch song and dance performances at the grand Rajmahal Theatre.
Motiongate Park features favourites from Sony Pictures, Lionsgate and DreamWorks, including The Hunger Games, Ghostbusters, the Green Hornet, Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, and How To Train Your Dragon. Visit Papa Smurf and his crew at the Smurf Village, with five imaginative Smurf-themed attractions. Or peer behind the scenes at Studio Central and discover firsthand how a movie gets made, from start to finish.
Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 820 0000
Specialising in interactive gaming experiences, the brand new Hub Zero immerses guests in a world of sci-fi experiences, shoot-em-ups and sporting glory. Take to the (virtual) skies in the Dragon Age: Flight of the Wardens ride, evade your captors with the cast of Final Fantasy ‘n’ Escape From Midgar, zap zombies with laser guns in the Resident Evil: Bio Terror abandoned laboratory, and test your motor skills in the top of the line Hyper Drive racing simulator. For those who prefer something more physical, Hub Zero also features the Hero Zone, a warehouse-like gym space that includes a huge rock-climbing wall, swinging ropes, obstacle course and laser maze – all guaranteed to help build a sweat.
City Walk Dubai
+971 80 063 7227
Bird’s eye view
In the ultimate urban adrenaline rush, Dubai's Xline powers riders off the edge of the W1 Tower, propelling them over The Dubai Fountains and The Dubai Mall forecourt, 90 metres above the ground. Covering a stretch of 558 metres, the zip line keeps thrill-seekers happy with its high speeds and amazing views over Downtown Dubai. Previously invitation-only, future zippers can now pre-book their three-minute ride at the XLine stand in The Dubai Mall – but be sure to book in advance to secure your slot.
Lower ground level (near Social House), Dubai Mall
Dubai’s biggest sand dune
Remember sliding down the dunes during a childhood beach vacation? Sand-boarding has upped the ante on the rough and tumble activity, with participants able to get up to speeds of 50 km/h racing down sandhills in the UAE”s immense Empty Quarter. Choose a qualified, reputable instructor and package (add on 4WD dune bashing for extra adrenaline), and head out to Big Red – the super-sized dune named for its striking rouged sands.
+971 4 456 99 44
Sweet treats for grown-ups
Get a sugar hit with one of Dubai's most over-the-top desserts at homegrown dining concept Fume. The Pier 7 restaurant lets diners order dessert any time of day with their sensational Monster Shakes menu. Stacked high with brownies, donuts, fruit, cream and sauces, the super-sized shakes are more dessert than drink and best shared – with an extra-large straw and spoons.
Pier 7, Dubai Marina
+971 4 421 5669
Put pedal to the metal with next level go-karting at the Kartdome, located beside Dubai Autodrome. Go-karts on the 1.2 km high tech track can reach speeds of up to 70km/h. Visitors can take part in ongoing championships, endurance challenges, or casual “arrive and drive” visits. The track has 17 corners, plus a tunnel and bridge to test drivers’ handling abilities. At the full-size “adult” track, step inside a V6 Lotus Evora 400 or take on the McLaren experience in an Audi TT 2.0 Turbo for a more sophisticated – and exhilarating – experience.
Dubai Autodrome, Motor City Dubailand, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road
+971 4 367 8700
Make friends with a falcon
Beloved for their razor-sharp hunting skills and keen eye, falconry is a centuries-old Bedouin tradition still carried on today by Emirati families. At the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, a 225 sq km natural reserve, visitors can watch falcons, hawks, and other raptors being put through their paces, ahead of the hands-on feeding time, when trainers explain the birds' significance to desert-dwellers.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
+971 4 832 8840