10 Things Your Kids Will Love About The Gulf
The Gulf States aren’t just for business professionals looking to capitalize on tax incentives, cost of living, and business opportunities. It is also a fantastic region to grow a family. A happy family includes children, who need to share the same love for the area as you do.
Here are ten kid-friendly aspects to enjoy life in the Gulf. With these type of activities and locations easily available, the entire family will enjoy a blessed time during your expat adventure
Summers in the Gulf can be blisteringly hot. But everyone can beat the heat with some of the world’s best water parks. For the ultimate aquatic experience in the UAE, head to Marine and Waterpark. This attraction offers adrenaline-pumping slides alongside the educational opportunities parents and children alike will love. Children can also enjoy a range of animal interactions, from climbing into tanks with dolphins and sea lions to feeding fish in Ambassador’s Lagoon.
If it’s sand dunes and magic carpets that will thrill your kids, a desert safari adventure is a kid-pleasing favourite. A short drive from almost any city centre you can find such safaris. One prime example is the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Families can enjoy everything from 4×4 dune-bashing, camel rides, sand-board surfing, wildlife-watching, falconry and even have traditional desert meals in a Bedouin camp.
Everyone has to eat! For the adventurous kids out there, the Gulf offers a culinary awakening with great foods such as maqluba, basbousa, and shish kebabs.
If your child is a picky eater, have no fear either. Conventional western fare is also widely available, especially in the major markets. Don’t be surprised fast food chains such McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy, or even a Shake Shack! But there may be some subtle differences in the Gulf. None of the chains serve pork; Subway has a Chicken Tikka Masala sub and McDonald’s offers a McArabia- which is a chicken patty in a pita.
Friendly and accessible communities
The expatriate communities throughout the Gulf are small and friendly, and very welcoming to newcomers. You do not have to do a ton of searching to find them either. There are plenty of expatriate clubs and events to participate in. Even if you don’t prefer to engage in this manner, it’s likely you will bump into someone you know while at the market, walking along the Corniche or shopping at the mall. Once you get going, it is easy to make friends within the expat community, which is a critical aspects of a healthy and happy social development.
It’s safe in the Gulf States. The Global Social Progress Index recently ranked the UAE as number one for the lowest level of violent crime and the lowest homicide rate globally. And if you look at the comparison on safety on their website, when comparing the Gulf States with their western counterparts, you can clearly see that the UAE wins hands down on safety between the two. The only factor being lower is the “perceived level of criminality”. So yes, the Gulf is safe for children, which means less restrictions and concerns about playing in public.
Kids are not always gung-ho on visiting malls and shopping with their parents. This could change in the Gulf however! The region’s malls are more than just shopping centers. They include amusement parks, snow skiing, and even roller coasters.
For instance, there is Faby Land in the Deerfields Mall in Al Bahia. It is a 60,000 square foot complex that can entertain up to 800 children. It includes an indoor surfing pool, a climbing wall, bumper cars and adventure rides. Fun and games easily merge with running errands in these all-encompassing malls!
Dolphin and whale watching
The Gulf States offer a surprising array of whales and dolphins in its waters. These range from humpback, blue, sperms whales, as well as even spinner dolphins. Living in this region, particularly in Oman, offers a unique opportunity to explore the coast lines and interact with some of the ocean’s most enchanting creatures.
One of the best things to do in Oman with kids is to explore the little-known Musandam peninsula by dhow, a traditional Omani fishing boat. Explore these Arabian fiordlands, sleep under the stars at night, snorkel by day and visit traditional fisherman’s villages, accessible only by boat. And always keep an eye out for dolphins of course. They are never far away. These are the type of moments your kids will remember for the rest of their lives.
A “city” designed specifically for kids? How could this not be a kid-favourite! Children’s City consists of more than 80,000 square feet at Dubai Creek Park at Bur Dubai. It has a large educational area with attractions for kids from age 2 to 15-year-olds. Children’s City can be an amazing place for your kid where they can enjoy activities on nature, space, science, culture, human body and most interestingly- flight simulators.
Children will have to spend more time in school than they would care to, but there are definitely some advantages to schooling in the Gulf for them. In many of the international schools there is an emphasis on “world citizenship.” By the time the kids reach the age for middle school, they are taking school trips to places such as Tanzania and Kenya. School athletic teams even go to locales like India for tournaments. By the time a student graduates from these schools, he/she will be fluent in Arabic, will have travelled to at least five countries and he’ll have friends from all over the world. Not a bad experience indeed!
Many young boys and girls are diehard sports fanatics. For these individuals, moving to the Gulf can be scary because they think this will affect the sports they can play and enjoy on television. No such concerns are necessary however.
The Gulf States are home to a wide variety of sporting clubs and contests. Football, like in Europe, reigns supreme in the sporting landscape; however, many other sports such as tennis, golf, cricket, rugby, and basketball also are available in the form of youth leagues. The region even has its own unique sports, such as camel racing and falconry, which can offer new avenues for their enjoyment.
In terms of watching sporting events, the Gulf also is phenomenal. The English Premier League, Italian Serie A, and all of the major sporting competitions all are telecast for audiences in the Gulf. Further, some of the biggest sporting clubs and events regularly come to the region to partake in events (such as when Brazil and Argentina squared off in an international friendly in Doha). With Barcelona having one of their prestigious football academy’s in Dubai, it makes it an attractive location if your child aspires to be an elite footballer. Sports really do thrive in the Gulf!
The Gulf States have a lot to offer, especially for kids. Is your family ready to experience this for yourselves? If so, then why not get the ball rolling and have your CV sent to the leading recruitment professionals in your desired destination. Upload your CV and see what reach out option suits you best.