Dubai

1. Dubai Frame

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Opened on New Year’s Day this year, the golden marvel that is the Dubai Frame offers unparalleled views of old and new Dubai while opening the minds of visitors to the boundless possibilities of Future Dubai. The Expo 2020’s logo was one of the inspirations for the structure’s exterior design.

Here’s what you can expect when you get there: The museum located at the foot of the Frame immerses visitors in the rich history of Dubai. You then advance to the top where the two towers are connected by a bridge and provide panoramic views and augmented reality activated screens. Within the bridge’s interior is another highlight – the 25sqm glass panel (certainly not for the faint-hearted) that offers sweeping views below your feet and creates the illusion of walking on air.

The Frame also houses a time-travel-like swirl tunnel that will transport you to an imagined futuristic Dubai. Open from 9am-9pm daily; tickets cost Dh50 for adults and Dh20 for children at dubaiframe.ae or contact 800 900. People of determination with two companions, and those above 60 enter free.

2. La Mer

This popular new beachfront retail and leisure attraction with restaurants and stores is spread across 9.5 million square feet and provides fun for the whole family whilst offering soaring views of the Dubai skyline. Adding to the entertainment appeal are Roxy Cinemas, which will be opening soon and the Laguna Waterpark which opened on May 12.

The waterpark will have thrilling slides and rides – one ride, the WazeOz 180 FloRider generates waves you can surf on, and will be the third such ride in the world. Immaculately designed, La Mer oozes minimalist, contemporary and urban design. As you stroll through La Mer to the sounds of the broadcasted lounge music, you can view colourful interactive graffiti on the walls. Beneath fairy lights galore and amidst the colourful Wharf, you can also dig your toes into the sand and book a private cabana at La Mer’s beachfront – Sea Breeze. Open from 10am-10pm on weekdays and 10am-10pm on weekends; meraas.com.

3. Dubai Safari

Home to over 2,500 animals of 250 species from around the world (some relocated from the iconic Dubai Zoo and some brought to the UAE for the first time), the whole family can stroll through this park and enhance their wildlife knowledge. Absorb the information and sights and sounds of the animals and birds that have been segregated into the Arabian, Asian and African villages to reflect their place of origin.

The iconic park, that opened in December last year, has accomplished many feats, including being the world’s first drive-thru crocodile exhibit, the UAE’s only drive-thru hippopotamus and tiger exhibit and the first moon bear and orangutan exhibits as well as and the UAE’s largest aviary exhibit and outdoor animal theatre. You can get close and personal with rhinos, white lions, gorillas, greater flamingos, various owls, crocodiles, snakes and more. The Park also holds interactive programmes offering true edutainment appeal.

Open daily throughout the year from 9am-7pm. Tickets: Dh50 for adults; Dh20 for kids over three years and below 12 years of age. People of determination with two companions, kids below three years and seniors above 60 enter free. dubaisafari.ae.

4. VR Park Dubai

The one stop Virtual and Augmented Reality Theme Park in the UAE, opened in March 2018, can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It has 18 experiences that range from horror to adventure as well as rides. At Plummet, you can experience what it feels like to sky-dive without actually having to jump off a plane; at Robocom, you can navigate a space ship, and hold your breath as a Dubai Drone Taxi takes you on a rollercoaster ride. The park is open from 10am-11pm on weekdays and 10am-1am on weekends. With free entry, purchase credits to access the rides and experiences starting at Dh200 at vrparkdubai.com.

5. Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre

Located in Mushrif Park, you can revel in the wonders of space at the Astro Academy theatre and the UAE’s largest public observatory. The Centre, which had its soft launch in October 2017, promotes awareness of science by dispelling myths while promoting Arabic heritage and culture.

The centre has a telescope observation platform, planetarium shows, meteorite display, observation gallery and more. Amateur astronomers can join experts at observation parties that the centre regularly holds to sight cosmic events such as the super blue moon eclipse in January this year.

Entry to the centre is free but entry to Mushrif Park costs Dh3 per person; people of determination and two companions enter free. Open daily from 5.30pm-9.30pm daily, attendance to some events involve a charge starting from Dh10; althurayaastronomycenter.ae

6. Queen Elizabeth 2

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An emblem of British heritage, culture and history for nearly 50 years, the newly renovated QE2 cruiseliner, which had her soft launch last month, glistens in her beauty on the shores of Mina Rashid port. The grand opening is slated for October 2018. Named after the British monarch in the 1960s, QE2 has sailed many a sea and has operated as a transatlantic liner and cruise ship. That’s not all, on May 12, 1982, the cruiseliner carried British troops into the Falklands War.

Those who fancy tasting the suite life on the high seas without having to venture out far can reserve a room or suite on this liner and enjoy all that it has to offer from its restaurants to gorgeous Dubai skyline views. You can also explore the history of the cruise liner at the QE2 Exhibition. Open from 11am-5pm daily with guided tours every hour costing Dh150, of which Dh100 is redeemable against food and beverage at outlets. qe2.com.

7. Dubai Fountain Boardwalk

Get as close as possible to all the action of the Dubai Fountain’s musical performance at this floating platform on Burj Lake. Photographed by scores of people, the closest point at the Boardwalk is only nine metres away from the Dubai Fountain. Be mesmerised as the water rockets above you while towering in the background is the Burj Khalifa. Aglow with blue orb lights, this truly magical experience runs every half an hour from 5-11pm and is for those aged four and above; tickets cost Dh20 at burjkhalifa.ae.

8. Dubai Waterfront Market

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A one stop shop for all your food-related needs is the indoor Dubai Waterfront Market. Opened in June 2017, in addition to a range of eateries and retail outlets, it offers fresh produce – fish, seafood, vegetables, meat, poultry as well as dry goods. Centrally located and spread across 104,373sqm, modern design meets tradition at this renovated facility that was once home to the Deira Fish Market. Presently, the bustling fish market is open 24/7 and the meat, poultry, fruit and vegetable markets are open from 6am-1am daily; waterfrontmarket.ae.

9. Smash Room

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Do you have a lot of pent up anger? Have you wanted to break things legally and safely? The Smash Room is the place for you. Here you can release your pent up stress and feel a calming release. You can bring your own objects to demolish or destroy products such as electronics, mannequins and chairs that the venue provides for a fee.

You can scream, shout, and let it all out, stomp, yell, tear, break – have your pick from the range of battering tools such as sport bats and sledgehammers. You can also choose the background music too. You will be provided with protective helmets, kneepads and gloves. Head down with your friends – we hear that a little friendly competition adds to the fun. Packages start at Dh99 at thesmashroom.ae.

Abu Dhabi

10. Louvre Abu Dhabi

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The Abu Dhabi counterpart of the iconic French institution, the Louvre stands on Saadiyat Island and holds a number of artworks, sculptures and pieces by monumental artists from around the world. Opened in November 2017, the glorious architecture is inspired by Arabic heritage which meets French design. Separated not by geography but by chronology, each gallery transcends you in to deep self-reflection, sparking your curiosity of artwork from myriad cultures and deepening your respect for artistic expression.

Some monumental pieces include Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait (1887) Lenoarda da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronnière (1495-1499), Claude Monet’s La Gare Saint-Lazare (1877), Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Blue, Red Yellow and Black (1922) and Pablo Picasso’s Portrait of a Woman (1928). The museum is closed on Mondays and open from Saturday-Wednesday from 10am-8pm and Thursday-Friday from 10am-10pm. Tour the galleries, exhibitions, children’s museum and public spaces. Entry is free for people with determination and a companion. Tickets cost Dh31.5 for the UAE military personnel, teachers and students aged 13-22; adults pay Dh63 at louvreabudhabi.ae.

11. Warner Brothers World Abu Dhabi

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Opening on July 25, this theme park is the epitome of cinematic fun for the whole family. There’s something for everyone in the theme park’s six lands, which are DC’s Metropolis and Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch and Warner Bros. Plaza. Crowned the largest indoor theme park in the world, this massive entertainment centre is spread across 1.65 million sqft and offers 29 rides in addition to live entertainment and themed food and beverage outlets. In each land, you have the chance to meet your favourite characters such as Batman, Wonder Woman, Fred Flinstone, Bugs Bunny; rekindle those fond childhood memories and interests. The park will be open from 10am-9pm. Tickets start from Dh230 at wbworldabudhabi.com.

12. Qasr Al Hosn

Dating to the 18th century and steeped in history, the Qasr Al Hosn Fort was once a watchtower built by the Bani Yas tribe.

Also located on the grounds of Qasr Al Hosn are The National Consultative Council which witnessed monumental historical decisions, and the Cultural Foundation Building, the cultural heart of Abu Dhabi, which held the UAE’s first exclusive cultural centre. The building also hosts the Qasr Al Hosn Festival which celebrates Emirati heritage, culture and the fort’s history with activities, performances and exhibitions. This beloved monument is undergoing major redevelopments and is slated to re-open this year; qasralhosn.ae.

13. The Founder’s Memorial Abu dhabi

This is a permanent national tribute to the founder of the UAE, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Opened in April 2018, stroll through the gardens and learn about the UAE’s founding father and enjoy the visuals of The Constellation – a unique three-dimensional portrait of the late Shaikh Zayed which offers different views from different locations across the memorial. At night, The Constellation almost comes alive as it shines like the stars, alluding to the infinite legacy of the leader who serves as a beacon of light, hope, vision and prosperity. Free entry, open daily from 9am-10pm; thefoundersmemorial.ae.

14. Yas Waterworld new 5D cinema Cinesplash

This waterpark will be home to Cinesplash – the UAE’s first 5D cinema, opening in June 2018 which will provide an experience like no other, by immersing you in nearly 40-50 cm of water. Housing 36 seats, it will screen their original production, The Legend of the Lost Pearl, in English and Arabic, which recounts the journey of Dana and her friends as they seek the Mother Pearl. This film lasts 12 minutes and will be played four times every hour. The park is open from 10am-7pm, tickets cost Dh210 for children and Dh250 for adults at yaswaterworld.com.

15. Al Ain Oasis

The UAE’s first Unesco World Heritage site, Al Ain Oasis is covered with over 147,000 lush date palms of various varieties. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city, surround yourself with greenery and delight in the sights, sounds and smells of Mother Nature. You can even hop on a bicycle and work your way through the oasis trails. Through interactive and educational exhibitions, you will learn about aflaj, the UAE’s 3,000-year-old traditional irrigation system, the oasis’ ecosystem and its importance to the UAE’s civilisation and oasis preservation measures. With free entry, it is open from 8am-5pm daily; call 02 5995438.

Ras Al Khaimah

16. Toroverde Ras Al Khaimah

Feel like a bird as you zip at around 120kph on the world’s longest zip line that opened in February 2018 at Jebel Jais Mountain. From atop the highest point of the UAE at 1,680 metres above sea level and stretching across 2.83km, this zip line that was launched in February this year, offers the experience of a life time. You can enjoy the beautiful mountain views if you are able to keep your eyes open while zipping through this scary, yet thrilling, attraction. Priced at Dh650 and open from 9am-5pm, summon all your courage and book your spot at toroverdeuae.com.

Sharjah

17. Zero-6

Offering a host of international cuisines in their restaurants, popular retail and entertainment outlets, Zero-6 is a new shopping mall in Sharjah that launched in April 2018. It is also home to the UAE’s biggest IMAX screen which is the perfect treat for all you movie-lovers. Open from 10am-10pm from Sunday-Saturday; zero-6.ae.

18. Al Montazah Water Park & Amusement Park

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Previously known as Al Jazeera Park, Al Montazah Amusement and Water Park, in Sharjah’s Flag Island, is a destination for the entire family. It is undergoing some renovations at the moment. Opened in February 2018 and stretching across 126,000 square metres, it offers the chance to experience an adrenaline rush on the rides after which you can relax in the green parks. There are also food and beverage outlets, a souk and live performance venues offering comforts and entertainment throughout. The Water Park is open from 10am-7pm daily; call 06 5110555.

Ajman

19. Ajman Qubes

The sustainably constructed Ajman Qubes, made out of 45 shipping containers, is home to 10 retail creations of enthusiastic entrepreneurs. From restaurants offering a range of cuisines, to a gallery and even a spa, these cubes provide something for everyone. Open from 8-12am; call 055 8635954.

20. Al Zorah Marina

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Offering panoramic views of preserved mangroves, Al Zorah Marina opened earlier this year. From gardens to sand dunes and beaches, nature’s beauty is visible everywhere. There are also a slew of food and beverage outlets and entertainment venues. Take your family to spend the day in the midst of nature. You can charter a yacht cruise, the luxurious Nordic Star, engage in water sports like kayaking, sailing and kite surfing or head to the nature trails where you can run, jog, cycle or stroll. Prefer land? You can also engage in a quick game of basketball, soccer and beach volleyball with your mates. Open from 9am-12am daily, the marina is closed on Friday; alzorah.ae.

21. Ajman Festival Land

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Experience a host of cultures under one roof at Ajman Festival Land, a new multicultural shopping destination which has more than 600 stores. Opened in November 2017, the pavilions are UAE, China, Turkey, Egypt, India, Kuwait and Morocco, Yemen and El Sham. The Heritage Village with its art pieces and exhibits informs you of the UAE culture and traditions. With the outdoor rides, indoor games and even a cultural library there are multitude of things for you, your friends and family to engage in here. Open from 4-11pm on weekdays and 4-12pm on weekends; festivalland.ae.