Family friendly resort @ Double Tree by Hilton Resort and Spa Marjan Island

We spend a two days one night at Double Tree by Hilton Marjan Island over the kids half term break in October and I am very impressed with how family friendly the place is. We have been in the UAE for one and a half year now and we did staycation every now and then at different Emirates and this is by far my favourite.

The resort is huge and there is a long stretch of private beach dedicated for its guest. Although there are many people, I do not feel too overwhelmed. There is plenty of restaurants to choose from and most of them are on Entertainer which is a plus for us as we get buy one free one on its main course. 
We arrived at 12pm and since the room is not ready, we went for lunch first. The food at Vespa is nice. We even double back and had dinner there as well. 
After lunch, the rooms are ready and we are also ready for the water slides and beach. Did I mention waterslide?? Yes, there is water slides at the resort!!!!
Kids had lots of fun while the parents sip on some cocktai…

Finally...our first camping experience! @Jebel Sham, Oman.

We had zero experience in camping and despite attempting to camp since couple of months ago, we have not succeeded. Either the campsite was too windy and deserted, or it rains on the day we wanted to camp. The closest thing we did was to camp in our backyard in December when the weather is really cooling. 
It is summer now and summer in Dubai is not mild so to speak. Daytime temperature can go up to 48 degree celcius and the sun is scorching hot! I was not expecting to camp in summer but we chanced upon a few blogs sharing their experiences camping on Jebel Sham and we checked the weather. It's 18-24 degree celcius up there and sounds like a good option to escape the heat in Dubai.
The drive from Dubai to Jebel Sham takes about 4.5 hours via Mezyad Border Crossing near Al Ain. We made a mistake driving via Hatta Border and it took us 7.5 hours to reach Jebel Sham, do not make the same mistake as us if you are driving from Dubai. 
Another thing to note is that there is a few ways …

Indoor Wildlife Centre in UAE- a great place to escape the heat during the summer months!

It is not easy to find places to entertain the kids in the summer that doesn't involves shopping mall, indoor playground or just chilling at home with TV/games. We all would prefer to minimise screen time and kids love the nature. So, when I came across a wildlife park that is fully indoor, I make it a point to bring the kids. It is in Sharjah, google "Sharjah Desert Park" and it's about 30-40 mins drive from Dubai.

The entrance fees is AED 15 for adults and absolutely free for kids under 12 years old. Payment is made at the entrance as you drive in and you can enter the 4 sections inside in the park with the same ticket---> Arabia's Wildlife Centre, Children's Farm, Islamic Botanical Garden and Sharjah Natural History Museum. 
Our favourite is the Arabia's Wildlife Centre. It exceeded our expectation. Everything is indoor and there are a wide variety of animals-- from snakes, to birds, frogs, leopards, goats etc etc. 
Kids …

There are always fun things for kids to do at IKEA

Over the EID weekend, we pop by IKEA for their AED 5 breakfast. While many restaurant does not accept buy 1 free 1 voucher over long public holiday, IKEA had Eid holiday breakfast special where their breakfast set goes for a whopping 50% off (as long as you are their member which is absolutely free to apply).
We reached at slightly past 10am and there are so many people already. We are lucky to find a table so fast and the queue to purchase does move pretty efficient and we got our food within 30 mins of reaching. 

After breakfast, we dropped the kids at Smiland. It is the first time for us and I am pretty amazed. The play area is not big but the adult does not need to be around so we practically get free childcare services for 1 hour (1.5 hours on weekday for members. Yay, another reason to get their free membership card) and they even have loyalty card where we get a free kids meal with 5 visits. Probably one of the best deal around--> kids get to play for free, I get free child…