This morning, head out to Al Ain
, roughly an hour and half from the city of Abu Dhabi. This UNESCO World Heritage site is an almost magical oasis, with historic forts and thousands of date palms that will entrance the entire family.
Start at the camel market
, just outside town. It’s one of the rare remaining camel markets in the world and offers a chance to see these ships of the desert up close. Your kids may want to take some photos for their Instagram feeds before watching the animals compete in impromptu races. Next, visit the Al Ain Heritage and Culture Village
; enjoy lunch at the café and learn about traditional crafts from artisans in the village’s marketplace.
In the afternoon, explore the fairytale Al Jahili Fort
, first built in the 1890s and opened to the public in 2008. After wandering the ramparts, stop by the museum dedicated to the legendary explorer Wilfred Thesiger.
Other family favorites in Al Ain include the Al Ain Zoo
, the largest in the region. A visit includes chances to see Arabian oryx, Barbary sheep, and other species indigenous to the region and from around the world. Highlights include giraffe feedings and the walk-through exhibit featuring a variety of lemurs. At Wadi Adventure
, kids—and parents—can fly above the desert on a zipline, conquer the climbing walls, or enjoy the park’s whitewater rafting courses. With rapids ranging from Class I to Class III, there are stretches for kayakers of every ability. Even first-timers are welcome; instructors will soon have them paddling like pros.