Top 10 Abu Dhabi Family Attractions

Abu Dhabi is packed with fun-filled attractions for all ages, making it the perfect destination for family holidays. From the undeniable thrill of world-class amusement parks and sporting facilities to the cultural lure of traditional mosques and heritage villages, the UAE capital has it covered. With so many options, choosing where to start can be a challenge.To get the most from your holiday or stopover in Abu Dhabi, check our recommendations on the emirate’s top 10 family attractions.

Remember, you can search for the best prices on flights to Abu Dhabi using the booking engine on this page, while fantastic car hire rates are available through our partner Hertz. For customised holiday packages in Abu Dhabi, including city tours, tickets to family attractions and hotel bookings, contact the travel specialists at Hala Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Corniche

Abu Dhabi Corniche

As one of the UAE capital’s most popular landmarks, Abu Dhabi Corniche attracts in the region of 30,000 to 50,000 visitors each month, which includes both tourists and local residents. Stretching around eight kilometres in total, the coastal promenade has dedicated areas for singles, families and the general public. Visitors have access to numerous cafes and restaurants, shaded landscaped gardens, separate pedestrian and bicycle pathways, children’s play areas, and facilities for beach football and volleyball. Of course, one of Abu Dhabi Corniche’s biggest draws in the lifeguarded beachfront, which has been awarded the coveted ‘Blue Flag’ status for guaranteeing clean and safe bathing water. However, it’s not possible to swim too far out, as floating fences will keep you within 40 metres of the beach. To make the corniche more accessible, there are over 1,100 free parking pages within a five minute walk of the beach.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

A trip to the world-renowned Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is highly-recommended during a visit to Abu Dhabi. The impressive monument is located on a 22,412 square metre site (the equivalent of five football fields) and has enough capacity for 40,960 worshippers. Leading artisans from around the world were involved in the mosque’s design and construction, with a major focus on materials such as ceramics, marble, gold, semi-precious stones and crystals for their long-lasting qualities. Once inside the mosque, keep an eye out for the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet, which was completed by 1,300 Iranian artisans and can be found in the main prayer hall, where one of the world’s largest chandeliers has also been placed, weighing a staggering nine tonnes. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open daily to visitors, except on Friday mornings, which is only for worshippers. General admission is free and complimentary guided tours are available for individuals and groups with a maximum of ten people.

Al Ain Zoo

Al Ain Zoo

If you’re looking to entertain children during a visit to Abu Dhabi, why not arrange a day trip to Al Ain Zoo? With a collection of more than 4,000 animals, families can tour the wildlife areas on foot or board a special train. There’s a range of interactive sessions too, where kids are invited to feed giraffes, ride camels and play with chickens, goats, llamas and ducks at the ‘Elezba’ petting zone. Another popular attraction is the children’s garden, where youngsters learn about the natural beauty of plants with mixed-use play areas, rolling hills and allotments for vegetables, fruits, herbs and native plants. Founded by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1968, Al Ain Zoo is spread across 900 hectares of land and includes retail shops, mobile souvenir carts and landscaped gardens for picnics. Food can also be purchased at the air-conditioned Zarafa Cafe, while snack kiosks are located throughout the zoo.

Yas Island

Yas Island

A number of world-class attractions have opened at Yas Island, making it a popular hangout for residents and tourists in Abu Dhabi. For thrill seekers, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is a spectacular indoor theme park and the first of its kind to be centred on the world-renowned Ferrari brand. The action continues at Yas Marina Circuit, venue of the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where visitors are also placed in the driver’s seat with special packages at Yas Racing School, Yas Drag Racing Centre and Yas Kartzone. Music fans will be entertained at du Arena, where the likes of Madonna, Elton John and Janet Jackson have performed, while Yas Marina is the ultimate place to unwind. The island’s newest leisure attraction is Yas Waterworld, a state-of-the-art waterpark with a unique pearl diving theme. Finally, to stay in the centre of all these attractions, book a room at the iconic Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi hotel.

Abu Dhabi Heritage Village

Abu Dhabi Heritage Village

A traditional oasis village has been reconstructed at Abu Dhabi Heritage Village, offering a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the UAE capital’s past. The landmark attraction, which is run by Emirates Heritage Club, can be found on a 1,600 square metre site overlooking Abu Dhabi Corniche, in close proximity to Marina Mall. It includes an open museum with examples of desert campfires, old-fashioned tents made from goat hair, sea houses made from palm tree fronds, traditional water wells, and the ‘falaj’ irrigation system. Demonstrations are often held at the village too, with skilled craftsmen focusing on pottery and metal work, while women use their netting and weaving skills to make woollen socks, carpets and trays. In addition, there are opportunities to shop around for handmade soap and dried herbs at the village store, and if you’re really lucky, falconry displays might also take place during your visit.

Hili Fun City

Hili Fun City

Here’s an interesting fact: before the mid-1980s, theme parks were non-existent in the Gulf region. However, the concept was finally introduced in 1985 with the much-awaited opening of Hili Fun City. Located in the ‘garden city’ of Al Ain, families from across the UAE and neighbouring countries have been flocking to the large-scale development ever since. Earlier this decade, a major revamp was completed at Hili Fun City, which included the renovation of existing rides, including the popular Crazy Marina, Flying Dutchman and Sinbad’s Farm, together with the introduction of new favourites, such as Twister Mountain, Hili Swinger, Circus Train and Lighthouse. The landscaped gardens were fully-enhanced too, with the addition of 30,000 new plants and 250 new palm trees, plus designated BBQ areas and benches for family picnics. What’s more, visitors are treated to year-round events at Hili Fun City, ranging from in-your-face entertainment at the 3D cinema to live performances at a 1,400 seat amphitheatre.

Al Ain Paradise Garden

Al Ain Paradise Garden

Offering a tranquil escape from the city, Al Ain Paradise Garden is best-known for having 2,968 hanging baskets, which is the highest number in the world according to Guinness World Records. In addition, there are approximately 10 million flowers in the garden, some of which are native while others have been imported from countries such as Italy, Uganda, Japan and the United States. Opened in 2010, the beautiful Al Ain Paradise Garden is around the size of four football pitches and incorporates the latest in irrigation systems and landscaping to keep the flowers in bloom for most of the year. Other highlights include a 12-metre tall replica of the Eiffel Tower and a 95-metre long water stream, in addition to a dedicated theatre and scenic meeting areas, all of which make colourful backdrops to your holiday photos. Entrance is free, although Al Ain Paradise Garden has been known to temporarily close during the summer months.

Wadi Adventure

Wadi Adventure

With year-round sunshine in Abu Dhabi, the temperatures are ideal for water sports. And what better location to splash around than the Middle East’s first manmade facility for surfing, kayaking and whitewater rafting? Wadi Adventure is located in the foothills of the Jebel Hafeet area, known for its extensive natural cave system and hot water springs. The complex includes a surf pool capable of making 3.3 metre high waves every 90 seconds, allowing your skills to be tested in a controlled environment with professional surf instructors. In addition, visitors have access to three whitewater rafting and kayaking runs with a combined length of 1,133m, each providing a different experience and thrill factor. All trips include a professional guide, a short briefing on the fundamentals and essential safety information, as well as technical equipment. Other highlights at Wadi Adventure include a rope course, climbing wall and zip line, swimming pools for adults and toddlers, and various retail and food outlets.

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

Launched on 3rd October 1999, Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) has emerged as the world’s largest falcon hospital, with more than 50,000 patients in the first 12 years. On average, this includes around 6,000 falcons each year from across the UAE, in addition to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. In addition to examining, treating and breeding the animals, the hospital was developed into a leading tourist attraction with the launch of a ‘Falcon World Tour’ in 2007. Under the initiative, guided tours are offered to a falconry museum, where the historical relationship between falcons and the Middle East is explored, followed by a visit to the examination room, where feather repairs, pedicures and other activities are conducted. Visitors also have access to a large free-flight aviary, where birds are kept, and can have their photos taken with a falcon on their arm in the hospital garden. A buffet lunch can also be purchased, served in a traditional Arabic tent and prepared by Abu Dhabi National Hotels' staff.

Emirates National Auto Museum

Emirates National Auto Museum

Emirates National Auto Museum offers a unique opportunity to view H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan’s breath-taking collection of vehicles. Located in a pyramid-shaped building, around 45km south of Abu Dhabi city, the museum includes a ‘rainbow selection’ of Mercedes-Benz, comprising of seven cars, each painted a different colour of the rainbow, with matching seats and hubcaps. In addition, visitors are often amazed at the five-metre high Dodge Power Wagon, which weighs over 50 tonnes and has a complete apartment under its roof, containing four bedrooms, a kitchen and bathroom. Other highlights include a large military vehicle with roof-top golfing range, a transparent disco car, and a motor-home shaped like a massive globe, which is exactly one millionth the size of earth. With such jaw-dropping attractions, Emirates National Auto Museum has received considerable interest from international media over the years, even making an appearance on Jeremy Clarkson’s Motorworld during the 1990s.