For our world culture for kids post today, we are visiting beautiful Dubai of the United Arab Emirates courtesy of Tarana Khan (TK) of Sand In My Toes! Check out these fantastic posts from Tarana’s blog: What exactly is your child learning from you?, It never gets easier, only better, and Life lessons I want you to know.
Dubai, our playground!
Dubai is probably the most glamorous and well-known cities in the Middle East. In fact, Dubai is just one of the seven ’emirates’ (similar to states) in the United Arab Emirates or UAE, a country that achieved independence from its British colonists in 1971. Hosting the Dubai Shopping Festival every year, it receives millions of tourists from around the world. The city is home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. You can even buy a ticket to go up to the 125th floor for a breath taking view!
But what is it like to actually live in this country? Having spent my childhood here and then coming back here to raise my son, I can give you a fairly good idea of that! Dubai is as fabulous a place as the reputation it has earned. Perhaps the most wonderful thing is that there are over 200 nationalities living here. Did you know that there are more expatriates here than the native population? Even then, the locals have worked hard and continue to preserve their culture and identity.
I can say that I am delighted to bringing up my son in a place that is nothing less than a huge playground! There’s so much for children to do here, that I am waiting for my toddler to grow up so he can have more fun.
Here’s why Dubai is a wonderful place for children and fun-spirited adults alike:
Dubai has dozens of parks that are span large areas, and are well-maintained and clean. There’s so much greenery around that you forget you are in a desert! Many parks even have artificial lakes and fountains. The play areas have safe equipment and you can also rent buggys to ride around.
Some of the best parks to visit are Creekside Park, Mushrif Park and Za’abeel Park. Apart from the bigger parks, which are a favourite for families on holidays and weekends, there are many neighbourhood parks strewn around the city. Luckily, we stay close to one and it’s just a five-minute walk. Don’t be fooled by the ‘neighbourhood’ tag though, ours has a jogging and bicycling track, a lake and basketball and tennis courts!
The only thing better than the parks in Dubai are the beaches. There are plenty of them because of a coastline across the whole country. There are many open beaches, but what I like best are the ‘beach parks’ which combine the best of both! In these, the beaches are flanked by huge parks that provide superb changing facilities, restaurants, and barbecue stations. The waters are pristine and the sand is sparkling – there’s no better way to spend a day off.
Indoor play areas
A downside to being in Dubai is that for a couple of months, the weather is too hot and humid to go outside, except after sunset. But you wouldn’t notice, because there are so many indoor play areas and amusement parks to head to! The biggest one – Ferrari World, developed by the automobile giant itself, is touted to be the biggest indoor park in the world. There’s also Ski Dubai, an indoor ski area with real snow…you have to see it to believe it! There are play areas with gaming arcades and rides in almost all big parks and malls. Some of the best places to visit are KidZania, a small ‘city’ in which children get to try out different professions, and Playnation, where they can get truly adventurous.
Waterparks are the best places to spend a hot summer’s day and there are many to choose from. One of the popular ones is Wild Wadi. Many amusements parks also dot the country and the oldest one is in Al Ain (the ‘green city’ in UAE).
The only real wildlife here are the camels that you can usually see on a drive to the outskirts of the city or on a desert safari. However, the zoos in UAE display large selections of animals. Al Ain Zoo is the largest and well-known, but you can also go on a wildlife safari on a natural island known as Sir Bani Yas Island.
You can also see a variety of underwater life in the big aquariums. In some places, you can even swim with dolphins and sting rays!
The original inhabitants of UAE were fishermen and Bedouins, who were nomads of the desert. You can get a glimpse into the earlier times by visiting museums and heritage villages. There are some truly fascinating aspects you get to know about how they survived desert life. Many original historical sites have also been preserved across the country, the most notable being the ‘wind towers’ that naturally cooled the houses made of mud and sand.
I am proud to be living in a country that has transformed itself completely in the past four decades, providing a safe and excellent quality of life to those residing here.
Tarana Khan (or just TK!) is mom to a toddler. She loves writing and has done her stints as a copywriter, reporter and content editor, before embracing parenthood full time. She blogs at Sand In My Toes, where you can drop by to read more of her parenting and other adventures! You can also catch up with her on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.
Thank you, Tarana, for this fantastic tour of Dubai! It sounds like a wonderful city to explore with children!!!