FamilyA family festive season in Dubai

During the festive season, Dubai transforms into a winter wonderland full of family-friendly fun

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As the festive season approaches, Dubai’s sleek squares and modern malls are transformed into a magical landscape, festooned with twinkling lights and tall trees. Combine this with a packed programme of pop-ups, events and activities, along with a good dose of winter sun, and there are few places that can compete. From exploring the enchanting Green Planet Dubai bio-dome to ice skating, here are some of the best ways to bring seasonal cheer to your family holiday in Dubai.


The Green Planet

Stroll along City Walk on Al Wasl Road to discover Dubai’s wonderful bio-dome The Green Planet, home to over 3,000 tropical animals and plants you can explore interactively. Daredevils can snorkel through a school of piranhas, while for a slower pace of life visit the centre’s famous rescue Loris or enjoy a picnic brunch with the resident sloth. Celebrate your little ones’ special occasions with an animal party experience to bring the tropical world to life with games, decorations, an up close and personal animal encounter and some treats and snacks to round off the day.


Work up a sweat with Santa

Children needn’t worry, because Santa Claus is most definitely coming to town — to Dubai Creek, in fact, for the Dubai Festival City Santa Fun Run. Every year, hundreds pull on their holiday best and run through town dressed as the giver of presents, comical in bright red suits and long white beards. Take up a prime position and cheer them on as they jog past, or if you’re so inclined, dress up and join them. There are short routes available for children, and all participants enjoy access to Santa’s Grotto, free goodies and the chance to be crowned best-dressed Santa.


Go ice skating in the desert

Nothing says festive spirit like gliding around on the ice to the sound of twinkling seasonal songs, and in Dubai it’s possible, even surrounded by sand and sea. Head to Dubai Mall to find the Dubai Ice Rink, an impressive Olympic-sized rink suitable for all ages, and hop on the ice hand-in-hand. If you’re still holding onto the sides for dear life, don’t worry — instructors are available to help you perfect your technique.

Ice skating in Dubai


Sparkling stocking fillers at Souk Madinat Jumeirah

Who knew Christmas shopping could ever be so sensational? Arrive by Abra, a traditional Emirati boat made of wood, to wander the Arabian bazaar at Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Reminiscent of a Middle Eastern market, this boutique selection of sand-stone stalls and stands offer hassle free access to a careful curation of dazzling souvenirs, local spices, handcrafted slippers and artisanal jewellery, all of which make for wonderful gifts for friends, colleagues and loved ones. Admire the vast tree dripping with baubles and dining options set by the palm-lined water, perfect for a breakfast, lunch or dinner pitstop. Explore at your leisure, with opening times from 10am to 11pm.

Book your festive family escape now with The Dubai Collection at Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts