OliOli Dubai: Meet the UAE’s first interactive children’s museum

OliOli is Hawaiian for joy, and we imagine your kids will experience that by the bucketload when you bring them here…

The UAE’s first interactive children’s museum is certainly impressive. Spread over 8 galleries, OliOli Dubai invites little ones and their parents to experience ‘Forts and Dens’, ‘Air’, ‘Water’, a ‘Creative Lab’, ‘Toshi’s Nets’, a ‘Future Park’, ‘Cars and Ramps’, and a special area for under-2s called ‘Toddlers’.

This is no bog-standard soft play folks. This is a legit interactive, educational museum, all inspired by the work of leading educators, artists, and developmental psychologists.

In the Water gallery, kids can “splash through this gallery to analyze theories of engineering and physics as they interact and play with over 10 exhibits including ball cannon, vortex, rain, and weirs.” In the Air gallery, they can “build aeroplanes, rockets, or hovercrafts. Play with airways. Withstand the pressure of extreme winds in the Hurricane Booth to learn more about the science of air surrounding us.” The Toshi’s Nets are the handiwork of Japanese artist Toshiko Horiuchi Macadam, they took a whole 365-days to create and are “part trampoline, part playground, part Alice-in-Wonderland-style adventure”. ‘Forts and Dens’ does what it says on the tin. ‘Cars and Ramps’ is especially fun and offers visitors the chance to create their own cars using legos and then put them to the test using two pretty major ramps. The ‘Creative Lab’ is the place where your tots can “create, build, take apart, and tinker together,” and the ‘Future Park’ sits “at the intersection of arts, technology, creativity, and science”– make sure you play around with the table that has the wooden frying pan, so fun. Lastly, a dedicated area for under-2s called ‘Toddlers’ is “a gallery specially designed for our youngest visitors to learn fine & gross motor skills as they make their first friends.”

There’s also a gorgeous cafe inside run by Appetite. It serves up a selection of sandwiches, salads, some hot meals and teas and coffees. There’s not a huge selection, but we recommend trying the chocolate croissant if you fancy something sweet and the mac n’ cheese was pretty good too.

OliOli is open Sunday-Wednesday 09:00–19:00 and Thursday-Friday 09:00–21:00. Unfortunately the prices are quite unreasonable as you have to currently pay 42AED for each adult – which can get expensive. See here for the new pricing (as of AW19).

Insider tip: Bring socks for your little ones (no bare feet or shoes allowed in some areas). It might also be worth bringing socks for yourself if you anticipate getting involved too. If you forget, they are for sale at reception.

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