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Abu Dhabi for families

Abu Dhabi may not be quite as well known as its neighbour Dubai, but the emirate is still an outstanding destination and one that's very well-suited to families. It's got beautiful beaches, fast-paced theme parks, amazing animal attractions and plenty more besides.

There is also a wealth of family-friendly accommodation within the emirate, so you can find a hotel with facilities that will keep your youngsters entertained, as well as provide some rest and relaxation for you and your partner.

If you want to incorporate some educational sightseeing into your stay, you won't be short of historical and cultural landmarks to visit, such as the stunning Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the wonderful Arabian Nights Heritage Village, which you'll find near Ain.

Top attractions in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi boasts an incredible variety of family-friendly attractions. One of the most thrilling is the Ferrari World Theme Park, a huge indoor venue dedicated to the world of motor sports. There are numerous rides for younger children, like the Junior Grand Prix track, while teenagers can have the ride of their life on the likes of Formula Rosso - the world's fastest rollercoaster.

For a more sedate day out, take your kids to the Al Ain Zoo. This animal park is located near the towering peaks of the Jebel Hafeet mountain range and what's particularly wonderful about it is that all the enclosures have been designed to mimic as closely as possible the natural habitat of the creatures they house.

There's a real focus on local wildlife at the zoo, so you can see species such as the Arabian Oryx, desert gazelle, desert antelope, Arabian leopard and UAE sand boa. Another outstanding wildlife-based attraction that children will love is the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. At this working facility, you can get close to the beautiful birds of prey that have been trained to race for centuries.

Hit the beach in Abu Dhabi

Given Abu Dhabi's hot climate, you and the children will probably want to make the most of the sun (and cool down) by taking a trip to the beach. The best spot in the city is the 5 mile long Corniche, which has a special section just for families and holds a Blue Flag award.

The water is clean and safe for swimming in, while there are a host of facilities along the sand. The Corniche is also an excellent vantage point from where to view the glittering skyscrapers that dominate Abu Dhabi's skyline.

For a fun-filled day out in the sun during your holiday in Abu Dhabi, head to Yas Waterworld, where you and the kids can splash about in swimming pools or enjoy the thrill of riding one of its fast-paced water slides. There are 43 slides and rides here in total, with everything from lazy rivers and near-vertical slides to wave riders and play areas for toddlers and younger children.

Desert tours with the children

Whether you're travelling as a family or not, you should take the time to explore the desert on your holiday in Abu Dhabi. The vast expanse of sand that surrounds the emirate's main cities may be barren but it's beautiful.

Of course, the best way to discover this landscape with the kids in tow is to go on a traditional camel tour into the dunes. As well as having the thrill of seeing this inhospitable environment firsthand, you'll also have the fun of riding a camel - a must-try activity when you're visiting the Middle East.

If you and the kids become enamoured with the camels, you should then head to one of the camel racing stadiums, where you can watch in excitement as the thrills and spills of a camel race unfold before your eyes. Although the main season is between April and October, there are competitions all year round, so no matter when you're planning your family holiday to Abu Dhabi, you should be able to get tickets for an afternoon of racing.

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