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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Things to do at Expo 2020 with Kids

We took advantage of being in Dubai during the Expo by attending two different days during our weeklong stay in Dubai. Expo 2020 is running from beginning of October 2021 to the end of March 2022. The Expo is full of things to do and will easily keep you entertained for days! (It’s no wonder that they offer a season’s pass!) We found our visit to Expo to be one of our best values while being in Dubai and the kids really enjoyed there time there and were eager to keep going back! Therefore, we wanted to share our personal list of Things to do at Expo 2020 with Kids – all Kid Tested & Kid Approved!!

Over the two days that we explored there we visited about 20+ different country pavilions, as well as the some of the other general pavilions on the grounds. However, there are 237 different country pavilions ALONE, so we barely touched the surface, but these are the pavilions that our kids – age 5 & 7.5 years old – enjoyed the most!


Therefore, without further ado, here is our List of Things to do at Expo 2020 with Kids....in no particular order!


Robots

What kid doesn’t love robots & there are such a variety of them here at Expo! We saw the security robot (telling us to wear our mask) roaming the pathways, the orange friendly robots who say messages & pose for photos, as well as a robot that even delivered food! The kids constantly wanted to stop & interact with them.

Large Orange robot poses with 2 children for photo at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Kids enjoying interacting with one of the many robots at Expo 2020 - Dubai.
Water Feature

Located in the central area of the Expo grounds is this water feature where kids can stand at the bottom & get splashed! The water feature is a large circle so there is plenty of space for kids (& adults) to stand around it. Every few minutes, there is a choreographed show with waves or rushes of water! They had an absolute blast and thought it was so fun! [Our kids were the only ones wearing a swimsuit, but we thought it worked out perfectly to bring the swimsuit along, as they would have completely soaked their normal clothes. We paired this with a visit to Brazil, so we only had to do one swimsuit change.]



Kids Playgrounds & Slides

There are a couple of different playgrounds around the Expo, including Latifa’s Space-themed & Rashid’s Underwater-themed playgrounds, as well as some FUN slides near the Sustainability Pavilion. The playgrounds were well set up and offered a variety of unique features and had bathrooms within them, which is always great as a parent.

Girl giving two thumbs up for Rashid's Underwater playground at Expo 2020
Rashid's Underwater Themed Playground at Expo 2020 - Dubai.
Saudi Arabia

This Pavilion was very impressive inside & outside – even for adults! On the inside they have a daring water display where you can stand inside the circle of water flowing from the ceiling, but just be careful when you exit the circle as you might get soaked!

A group of people standing in a circle surrounded by falling water - Saudi Arabia Pavilion at Expo 2020.
Interactive Water Fountain Display at Saudi Arabia's Pavilion - Expo 2020.

They also had some beautiful displays inside & the kids especially enjoyed the interactive floor where they could dance in the dark! Outside the pavilion houses the World’s Largest LED Interactive Light Floor! They had an absolute blast here! Come here in the evening for the best lighting effects & so the kids don’t overheat as ours were literally running for 15-20 minutes straight!

Children run across the interactive LED lights at the Saudi Arabia Pavilion light display - Expo 2020 Dubai.
World's Largest Interactive LED Light Floor Display at the Saudi Arabia Pavilion - Expo 2020.
Brazil

Known for its beaches, Brazil created a wading pool that both kids & adults could wade through. However, our kids treated it more like a Kids’ Pool. It was the perfect spot to keep cool on the Expo grounds, and they even had hammocks and beach chairs where we could sit and watch as the kids played.

Brazil sign with the wading pool in the background at Expo 2020 Dubai.
A large wading pool at the Brazil Pavilion was the perfect place to cool down during the hot afternoon at Expo 2020.
China

It’s all about the future in the China Pavilion! There was a Panda Robot that danced as well as a futuristic car on display. While the kids were too young to do the train simulator, Alex was able to take a turn at driving the high speed train and later the kids could play a video game where they drove a car. China also has a nightly drone & light show that the kids enjoyed! (The indoor exhibits are closed during this time.)


Luxembourg

There is actually a SLIDE in this Pavilion….need I say more? This slide is probably about 2 stories high so it was a lot of fun to go down! However, we went to the Pavilion on a Friday evening, and while the wait outside to get inside wasn’t bad, the line up for the slide was about a 30 minute wait. So probably best to visit this one during less busy times.

Large tube slide at the Luxembourg Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Large slide inside the Luxembourg Pavilion at Expo 2020.
Hungary

There is abundance of thermal springs in Hungary, so their display showcased this part of their country. The kids loved the large ball pit where they could dive in and out of the balls that was part of one of their video features.

Children jump around in the huge ball pit at the Hungary Pavilion. Expo 2020 Dubai.
A big ball pit to represent a thermal pool at the Hungary Pavilion at Expo 2020.
Belgium

Tintin is a famous cartoon character from Belgium, so here the kids were transformed into a cartoon character & had to try to perform some simple tasks. We also got some cookies as we entered the Pavilion, which was a fun treat!

Child tries to perform simple tasks as a cartoon character at the Belgium Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Clara is transformed into a cartoon character and tries to perform different tasks at the Belgium Pavilion.
Australia

They actually have a koala mascot that kids can take photos with, so this was a hit with our koala-lover. Inside they have a slide show that you are surrounded from all sides that showcases some of the unique parts of Australia.

Two children give hugs to the Australian Koala Mascot at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Children interact with the Koala Mascot at the Australia Pavilion.
Tonga

This pavilion is smaller than some of the others, but there are several interactive elements, including blooming flowers. Kids can also color a sea creature & then project their own unique creation to add to the larger mural on the wall. Our kids really enjoyed seeing their own pieces up on the wall.

Girl holds up colored drawing next to the projected fish image on the wall at the Tonga Pavilion at Expo 2020.
Clara shows off the fish that she colored & how it projected onto the living wall mural at the Tonga Pavilion.
Netherlands

Focusing on vertical farming, everyone got an umbrella that had a short film projected on it, which they thought was cool!


Jamaica

This one also was a smaller Pavilion, but they share a lot about Jamaican music, and there was one part where the kids could pretend to be a DJ. They had some fun jamming out to the tunes for a bit!


Palestine

This Pavilion engages with all your senses and you can smell, touch and hear things as you go through the display to learn about Palestine. The kids thought the virtual reality goggles were pretty cool as well.


United Arab Emirates

As it was the pavilion of the host country, we thought this one would be a good one to attend, plus there was always a large line-up which made us suspect it was good. They had several unique features such as sand dunes inside, a movie theatre where you were elevated in your seat as you watched the show and even live music outside. This might not as been as ‘FUN’ as some of the others for the kids, but I thought it was really well done and a good way for kids to learn about the country we were visiting.


Kids Carousel

Within the Family Zone, there is an old fashion carousel – and best part, the ride is FREE!


Other Kid-Friendly Pavilions We Missed

We obviously missed quite a few pavilions as we only visited 20 out of the 200+ there. However, three Pavilions that we heard good things about, but just couldn’t make it work during our time there were: Germany, Monaco and the Emirates Airlines Pavilions. Supposedly in the Germany Pavilion, there are swings as well as a ball pit; in Monaco you can guide a baby penguin back to safety by running & jumping; and in Emirates you can build and fly a plane. However, these Pavilions weren't available to pre-register on the app, and the lines were always long. If you really want to see these, I would highly recommend going to them first before it gets too busy later in the day.


Here is a link to the official Expo 2020 website with more information about a visit with children as well.


Other Tips & Information for Expo 2020


Admission

Full-priced admission is typically 90 AED per adult (about $12 USD/$15 CDN) and children under 18 years old are free. However, there are a variety of ways to get FREE or discounted admission. Etihad, Emirates & Fly Dubai Airlines were both offering complimentary tickets with your flight boarding pass that you just have to redeem online for your Expo Ticket. Also, there are occasional ticket offers by Expo 2020. For instance, while we were there in November, they had a weekend discount where if you attended Sunday-Thursday (Arabian weekend) you can get 50 percent off admission.


Since we flew into Dubai on Emirates, we got a complimentary admission ticket with our boarding pass from the flight – making it super affordable to attend! After enjoying our first day so much and finding out about a November weekday promotion, we went back for a second day.


Food Costs

Once on the grounds, there are an abundance of things to spend your money on. However, those costs are completely discretionary and for us personally we were able to keep costs low. We actually packed a lunch the first day we visited and didn’t have any issues bringing it on the grounds. If you’re wanting food on the grounds, there is a wide range of options and prices. The first night we had some shawarma wraps for about $7-8 USD each and then the second night we found a food stand near the Palestine Pavilion for one of the best deals we saw! They were selling Zaatar for about $2.50 USD each – they were SUPER tasty!

Zaatar in the box - cheapest food we found - at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Cheapest food we found at Expo 2020 - Zaatar for $2.50 USD outside the Palestine Pavilion.
Getting There

Getting to Expo can also be super cost efficient too. Many hotels in Dubai offer free shuttles, and there is even a complimentary shuttle from the Abu Dhabi Airport to the Dubai Expo Grounds. In addition, parking is completely free if you come by vehicle.


Other Good to Know Information

Our first time there we visited on a Friday and then the second time was on a Tuesday. The Friday definitely was busier, but it wasn’t too bad considering it was a weekend. Most places were a 10-15 minute wait or less to enter. Evenings were busier than the daytime both days we attended, likely because it was much cooler and more enjoyable to attend then. There is also an online reservation system available, where you can download the app and reserve a specific timeslot to visit specific Pavilions. The only catch with this, is that we found that several Pavilions (including Germany & Emirates Airline) weren’t available to reserve time slots on the app. We ended up only doing the time reservation for the UAE Pavilion, but once we were in we still had to wait about 20 minutes for us to actually enter the Pavilion, which seemed a bit counterintuitive to reserving the specific time slot.


If attending Expo 2020, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. While this list definitely isn’t all inclusive, we hope it might help streamline some of the places to visit at Expo 2020 with kids!

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