Dubai is full of expensive kids’ entertainment options but – let’s face it – when they’re little, all they need is some space to run around, a bit of fresh air, and a few swings and slides. While there are many parks dotted across the emirate, it’s not always easy to tell what they’re going to be like: Is there ample parking? Are there toilets? Is there anywhere to buy food? Does it charge an entry fee? Is it good for my toddler or better for an older kid? We’ve tried and tested the city’s best parks to give you the lowdown on everything a real mum needs to know...

Al Khazzan Park

Al Khazzan Park

 

This fairly new addition to Dubai’s park portfolio is a good-looking, centrally located park opposite City Walk, with a striking blue-and-white-striped water tower at its heart, and the Burj Khalifa for a back-drop. It has two shaded play areas with climbing frames, swings and slides one suited to toddlers and one for older children. There’s a peaceful little library here, with walls built from UAE coral, and it’s also home to one of the UAE’s oldest trees. Sadly the café that used to be here shut down, so bring a rug and a picnic
Parking: Street parking directly outside
Entrance cost: Free
Facilities: Toilets, shaded seating and play areas
Opening times: 8am - 10pm Saturday to Wednesday
8am - 11pm Thursday and Friday
Map

Read more: '10 Must-see places to take kids in Dubai for Dh5 or less'

Umm Sequim Park  (aka Burj Beach Park)

 

A stunning location looking out across the sea with the Burj Al Arab close by, this small park has a play area at the back with a climbing structure that is ideal for those confident on their feet and older children. With a small café and toilets on site, in the late afternoon the sea breeze can be a welcome relief from the heat. This is a great park to keep everyone in the family happy –  you can do beach day and park play in one visit without needing to move the car. This park is for women and children only during the week and families at the weekend. It can be busy due to its location so go early, especially at weekends.
Parking: Paid parking
Entrance cost: Free
Facilities: Toilets, small café
Opening times: 8am - 10pm ladies and children during the week. All family members welcome on Thursday
to Saturday
Map

 

Al Barsha Park  (aka Barsha Pond Park)

 

This medium-sized park has a European feel to it, featuring manicured lawns, tree-lined avenues and a large man-made pond. You can hire peddle boats on the water, or mini peddle quad bikes on land, and there are also large shaded play areas, with one area for under 3-year-olds and the other more suitable for older children. There are plenty of trees and grassy areas that are perfect for picnics, plus a running track, should you fancy a jog with the buggy. Gets busy at weekends.
Parking: Free, just outside the gate
Entrance cost: Free
Facilities: There’s a Park House Café kiosk selling breakfast, healthy snacks and food, plus toilets
Opening times: 6am - 11pm daily
Map

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Safa Park 2


A hidden gem, this small park is a green oasis just off Al Manara Street. With three different play areas within the park, there is plenty to keep the kids amused – just running between the different zones will tire out little legs! Lots of trees provide shade for picnics, the small kiosk in the middle sells simple snacks and drinks, and there are toilets within the park. Lovely and quiet on a weekday morning, it’s popular with kids’ parties at weekends.
Parking: Free, roadside
Entrance cost: Free
Facilities: Small kiosk and toilets
Opening times: 8am - 10pm
Map

 

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Al Ittihad Park  (aka Palm park)

 

With small play areas dotted throughout, this long, thin, spread-out park under the Palm monorail appeals to younger children who will enjoy the slide, wooden play houses and seesaws. Although it doesn’t have swings, there are water fountains that come on periodically throughout the day and are great to splash in. Restaurants and coffee shops have outside seating facing into the park, so parents can grab a meal or a hot drink, or pick up a few essentials in the supermarket while letting the kids scoot through the park.
Parking: Free 
Entrance cost: Free
Facilities: Toilets, restaurants and coffee shops in Galleria Mall
Opening times: Open all hours
Map

 

Al Sufouh Park


Located in a quiet area near the intersection of Hessa Street and Al Sufouh Road, parking on the sand at the back of this park means you will have direct access to the two shaded play areas. More geared towards toddlers and younger children, with small slides, swings and roundabouts, this cosy park is compact but still has a cushioned running track, football, basketball and sand volleyball courts as well as a small window coffee shop, serving a selection of items from snacks to ice-cream.
Parking: Free, at the front or back of the park on sand
Entrance cost: Free
Facilities: Toilets, window coffee shop
Opening times: 8am - 10pm Sunday to Wednesday; 8am - 11pm Thursday – Saturday
Map

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Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT Park)

 

Hidden behind JLT’s skyscrapers and formerly a lake, this community park is divided into three zones, one for babies and toddlers with a great set of swings. Another is for children from four onwards, and there is a zone for older children with a huge black spider’s web climbing frame and zip line. There are toilets and baby changing facilities within the play area, and a security officer. There are plenty of grassy areas to put down a rug to eat. It’s a sun trap in the morning, so hats and sun-cream are advisable, but the towers offer shade from the sun in the late afternoon. 
Parking: Paid roadside parking but only via text - there are no ticket machines
Entrance cost: Free
Facilities: Toilets and baby changing, eateries open in the afternoon and evening
Opening times: Open all hours
Map

Read more: '20 places under Dh20 to visit with kids in Dubai'

Some of our other favourites worth checking out are:

Zabeel Park


Home to the Dubai Frame, this huge park (Dh5pp entry) is popular with people of all ages, whether for a walk or a game of cricket. At sunset, Dubai Garden Glow and the Dinosaur Park come alive (extra entry fee) – but beware: the dinos make a loud roar!
Map
 

Dubai Creek Park

Next to the Creek, this vast park (Dh5pp entry) is great for watching abras and boats splash past or for a family barbecue. As one of Dubai’s oldest parks it can get very busy. Playground facilities are dotted about, while on warmer days a visit to Children’s City indoor entertainment is a must.
Map

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Mushrif Park

 
Toddlers and children will love the Small World replica houses in this sprawling park (Dh3pp or Dh10/car) – ideal for games of hide and seek and imaginative play. There is enough shade on offer from trees for picnics and barbecues to be an option.
Map

 

Although not technically parks, these are some other play areas:

The Greens


At the heart of the Greens, this is a fully shaded park perfect for children of all ages. There are slides, four swings and a giant spider’s web climbing frame – plus plenty of sand to dig for hidden treasure! Next to the ponds in the Greens, why not grab a scooter and make use of the shady pathway around the lakes (1 km)? You can walk to The Greens Village where there is are a selection of neighbourhood cafés and a supermarket.
Parking: Paid
Entrance cost: Free
Facilities: Caribou coffee (with toilets and baby changing)
Map

Business Bay/Bay Avenue play area


Fenced off and with a gated entrance, this play area is handy for little ones whether you are visiting friends in the area, need a break from shopping in Dubai Mall, or just fancy somewhere different. Best for younger children, there are plenty of swings, slides and climbing frames. Parking is usually easy, and there is the chance to grab a coffee and any essentials from the supermarket opposite. Come on a weekend morning to enjoy the organic farmer’s market.
Parking: Two hours free then paid after
Entrance cost: Free
Facilities: Cafés, Spinneys and toilets in the promenade of shops opposite.
Map

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