It’s Umm Al Emarat Park in Abu Dhabi that gets all the love these days after its multimillion makeover and reopening a few years ago, and although Khalifa park is not as modern, there is a number of really great things happening over there that not everyone seems to know about, so with at least 6 things for families to do at Khalifa Park, I felt it deserved a dedicated blog post of its own:

1. Wander around the park

At first glance, after the entrance (pay at the door, it’s Dhs2 per person to enter) it looks like a fairly unexceptional park. And the first thing I remember noticing on my first visit was that there was an awful lot of concrete, considering it’s a park!

But it is quite a large space and there are lots of wide open sandy and green grassy areas to sit and set up camp for a picnic.

2. Catch the train

There’s also a train that runs around the perimeter of the park and you can catch it from two places – either over near the entrance of the park, or if you’ve already walked to the far end of the park you can catch it just to take you back the other way. The train runs after 3pm each day from every hour on the hour at the library end of the park, or at half past the hour from the stop nearest the main entrance and costs just Dhs3 per person which is also payable at the main entrance on arrival.

It’s a good size train, not a miniature one and it has space to hold quite a large number of people!

3. Visit Murjan Splash Park

The entrance to Murjan Splash Park is also within Khalifa Park, a slightly ageing little water park but great for younger kids, and a bit of a bargain at just Dhs50 to enter (anyone below one metre enters free!).

4. Library and Children’s Library

There’s both an adult and children’s library at the park, each in separate buildings with their own adjacent entrances. There’s a lot of books inside the children’s library and there are many books in English although the bulk are in Arabic. Children’s library or not though, it is still a library and kids are still expected to be relatively quiet – parents with rowdy or crying children will be asked to leave.

5. Ride the moving capsules at the Maritime Museum and visit the Aquarium

Also payable at the main entrance to the park is the Maritime Museum. It’s Dhs5 per person and do give it a look! It may sound a bit boring but it’s actually a lovely little thing to do with the kids. Straight after entering the park and paying turn left, and on entering the buildings next to the gym you’ll see the sign for ‘Abu Dhabi – A Journey Through Time’, where you show your tickets and are taken to be seated in a moving roofless capsule that physically carries you through scenes representing the history of the capital (as pictured below, it’s dark inside so tricky to photograph!).

At the end of the moving capsule ride (which is quite a novelty even if the kids don’t listen to any of the story!) you get out and proceed upstairs to the Maritime part. Here you’ll find a series of small aquariums with various sea life inside including fish and a great big turtle!

Finally, back down the stairs is the final room filled with curiosities and artefacts depicting education in the UAE. It is a little dated and perhaps even a little odd, but the place is well worth a visit just for the capsule ride and aquariums!

6. Check out other seasonal events in the park

Khalifa Park also hosts numerous other events throughout the year, including the Abu Dhabi Festival of Falconry which is usually held in December each year. The festival is a great event and again a brilliant place for kids to get up close with a variety of bird life and see them in action in flight shows. Best of all, it’s usually completely free to enter!

Find out more online, the park even has its own website!