Because we cannot have “Sunday funday” here (unlike the States, Layne has to work here on Sundays), we decide to take a “Friday funday” as a family and check out some local attractions…IKEA, another mall and a park!
As previously stated, we got our wheels and are now able to adventure out, anywhere really! We did our best to memorize some directions and after a lazy morning of sleeping in (Layne and Caden slept until noon), we were on our way to IKEA at the Festival City Mall! Festival City seemed like a really far way out, probably because we are used to taking a quick walk to get to what we need. In reality it was only about a 30 minute drive, 34 km. We drove over what is called the Dubai Creek, which flows into the Arabian Gulf, and then stumbled upon our destination. When I say stumbled, I really mean it. We were a little lost with our “memorized” directions and only made it because we saw the big IKEA yellow letters across how many lanes of traffic.
The first thing that I noticed was the parking lot. I had seen this before, but never looked into it, because we didn’t have a car. The lot has car ports for shading your vehicle from the Dubai sun, so we tucked our little Jeep in, nice and snug and were off to do some “damage” (shopping). The ports looked pretty fancy and did the job, if you ask me! Caden’s car seat clips were not scalding when we got back in to leave- much appreciated by the little dude!
We then entered the Festival City Mall, which was attached to IKEA. I have never been into an IKEA, EVER…I know you are probably surprised! My sister, on the other hand, probably has a frequent flyer card there, ha! I was pretty excited to see what the rave was about and also excited to do a little exploring in another Dubai mall! We decided that we would explore the mall first and do some walking before allocating ourselves to the white arrowed lines in the IKEA assembly production. We first hit up the DU stand (a Dubai cell phone company), where I refilled the data plan on my Dubai phone number and then set off to explore, with a Costa coffee in hand! The mall seemed small from the outside, until we turned some corners and were exposed to a whole new world! This mall was really neat! It has several restaurants that are right on the water and then 2 1/2 levels of shopping fun! (My mom is going to be in heaven when she visits!)
Prior to our trip to IKEA, I knew I wanted three things: a stacking cups toy for Caden (our friends have it and Caden loves it, so I had to buy it, obviously), a small flipper for my 9×9 pan and a blanket…yes a blanket, the AC is cranked up in our apt, living with Layne :). I was warned that the baby section was last in the “assembly line”, but we could cut through if we desired. I kind of wanted to experience the whole thing and because I had a happy crew with me yesterday, that is just what we did. Needless to say, we were very overwhelmed with the number of people shopping, the bright colors everywhere and the tiny line with arrows that they make you follow like cattle. CHAOS! However, we did leave with more than three things and I was a VERY happy girl! (Pictured below is Layne and I ready to find the checkout and the real MVP, Caden! We were ready to hit the road!)
After the shopping madness, we stopped at the info kiosk and asked for some directions to the Creek Park. Layne navigated us there really well and we soon were infront of what looked like an amusement park, crossed with a fair, mixed with a park…
We paid 5 Dhs per person to get in and started to explore. One of the things on our bucket list is to visit the Dolphinarium. This was inside this park, but was a little costly, so we decided to save it for when some visitors come. Instead, we set off exploring with our sleepy boy. This park is simply beautiful (or lovely, as our Brit friends would say)! It seems like it really has a lot to offer people and I am sure it is packed when the temps cool down. It looks like there are several fair games and stands to partake in, but most of it was shutdown when we were there.
What wasn’t “closed” was the riding experience with Aladdin and Jasmine (not their real names, but I thought it was cute). We really wanted to hop on for a ride, but decided we would save that experience as well, for when Ryan and Haley come in November. Caden will not be riding them, so no worries there :).
We continued walking and stumbled upon what I think is my new favorite spot…the view of the Creek. It was such a pleasant evening, so the walking was just right! I honestly think that Caden and I will start taking the Metro here and then walk over to this park to have afternoon picnics! I was obsessed! It seems like there is a lot to offer here as well. According to the website there is:
- Sea excursion services
- Services of renting bicycles that are available in two types (The bicycles belonging to the Municipality which fee is AED 20 for small bicycle and AED 30 for the ordinary bicycle per one hour); and the (Bicycles belonging to an investor which fees differ according to the bicycle type)
- Aflaj Village
- Area’s of children’s games
- Restaurants and cafeterias
- Plants and horticulture spaces
- Cable Car Rides
- Dubai Dolphinarium
- CHILDREN CITY
I also snapped some photos of a couple really neat plants/trees we saw along our walk. I thought these were quite interesting and nothing like any I have seen in Midland, MI!
Oh, and some Dubai corn, pictured below, for my father-in-laws enjoyment! HA! (Not really corn, but it was the closest thing I could find!)
Needless to say, we had a great day as a family exploring our new homeland and will be bringing visitors back! Have a great weekend, we are off to the beach!