These pink birds at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary are absolutely worth a visit. Park up and walk out to the viewing platform to look through binoculars. Take a sketch pad and pencils for the kids to draw these fabulous feathered friends. Grown-ups must also sketch regardless of artistic ability!
Location: Oud Metha Road, Ras Al Khor district. 04 606 6822. Open Saturday–Thursday, 9am–4pm.
This fabulous pet sanctuary for abandoned domestic and exotic animals is a great way to get up close with our furry and feathered friends. Be prepared to be stalked by emus! Our favourites? The quirky armadillo and cute turtles. Pack a picnic and bring some dirhams to donate to a good cause. See www.poshpawsdubai.com, or call 050 273 0973.
Head to Zagol, a tiny hole in the wall in Bur Dubai with an authentic African vibe. Don’t miss the delicious injera – soft and savoury pancake-like bread that little ones will love squishing up with their fingers to eat communal style. And finish off with the surprising but winning combination of popcorn (for little ones) and coffee (for grown-ups – pure rocket fuel that gives you the mojo to keep up with the kids!).
Location: Al Karama, near Pyramids Building, or call 04 550 9103.
Find feathered friends
The impressive Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi is the largest of its kind in the world and runs regular tours. Children will be fascinated to see these majestic creatures up close and to learn about looking after them and their relationship with humans throughout history. See www.falconhospital.com to book a tour.
Breakfast with giraffes
Fancy some leafy greens anyone? The kids will be desperate for some when staying in one of the chalets at Emirates Park Resort in Abu Dhabi with its attached zoo. You can get up close and personal and even feed zebras, deers and giraffes. Wild! Emiratesparkresort.com, 055 522 0500.
Go back in time
Drive out to the Sharjah car museum for a journey through the ages as seen via its extensive and eccentric collection of classic and modern cars. A must for parents of car-obsessed boys or girls – and why not dress for the occasion? Dress up authentically and pose for photos behind the wheel of well-preserved motoring beauties for Instagram memories. 06 558 0222, Sharjahmuseums.ae/Our-Museums/Sharjah-Classic-Cars-Museum.aspx.
Scan the old souqs
For the princely sum of Dh1, cross the creek on an abra to explore the spices, gold and perfume souqs. Buy fresh cinnamon and cardamom, or pick and mix perfume blends to put in glamorous gold bottles for young girls. Then cool down with some coconut water and explore the docks. Little ones love wandering around looking at all the cargo from weird and wonderful places. Take a blank world map to fill in and good walking shoes. There are two abra stations on Deira waterfront – Baniyas Road – close to Spice Souq and at Al Sabkha, Dubai. 04 284 4444.
Have tailor-made fun
Visit Satwa in Dubai, or the tailoring districts of RAK corniche and Abu Dhabi (behind Hamdan street) for some custom-made costumes. You can find wicked pilot, doctor, military and UAE police outfits for kids. While you’re there have some jalabiyas made up in red, green, white and black for the next December 2 National Day celebrations at school (it creeps up on you!).