9 ways to get your heart pumping in Abu Dhabi
1. Riding the world’s fastest rollercoaster
The Flying Aces, meanwhile, comes with the world’s highest rollercoaster loop that climbs 63 metres at a 51-degree angle. The Tyre Change Experience tests if you can match the pace of F1™ pit crews, while Turbo Track offers an epic zero-gravity fall.
2. Climbing the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall and freefalling in the biggest indoor skydiving tunnel
Whether you're a first-time ‘flyer’ as young as three years old or an expert skydiver, flight instructors ensure a fun and safe experience, making this one of the best places to visit with family. Clymb™ also boasts unique climbing experiences. Beginners can enjoy a range of friendly wall options, while more advanced climbers can push their limits at The Summyt™, the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall, towering 43 metres (141 feet) high.
3. Taking a spin around a Formula 1™ race track
Channel your inner Lewis Hamilton at Yas Marina Circuit, launched in 2009 to host the Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. This impressive mega-budget circuit draws travellers from around the world, winding its way around the gorgeous Yas Marina. The ultramodern race track – considered one of the best Grand Prix circuits – not only offers a captivating racing spectacle, but also extensive year-round professional and grassroots motorsports. Think kart racing at Yas Kartzone, drag racing at Yas Drag Night and racing training at Yas Racing School. So, whether you want to experience the thrill of go-karting with your kids, test the limits at over 200km/h in an Aston Martin GT4 or earn your racing licence, Yas Marina Circuit has all the speed you need.
4. Fat biking down some of the world’s tallest desert dunes
If biking isn’t your thing, sandboard down giant sandbanks, enjoy dawn desert walks, discover archery, mountain bike through incredible scenery or trek on horses or camels.
5. Sliding down the world’s first and largest hydro-magnetic powered tornado waterslide
Channel gravity with the world-first, largest hydromagnetic-powered, 238-metre long, six-person tornado waterslide, Dawwamma, or check out three-metre-high waves on Bubble’s Barrel, featuring the world’s biggest surfable sheet wave for flow boards and bodyboards. The Bandit Bomber, a 550-metre coaster, offers onboard water and laser effects, with riders shooting jets of water at targets, dropping water bombs and triggering special effects. Passersby below can also get in on the action, spraying riders with water.
6. Unleash your inner Indiana Jones on man-made white water rafting channels
Looking for a dose of adventure travel? Wadi Adventure is a fantastic family-friendly adventure park that sits at the base of the majestic and history-rich Jebel Hafit mountain, Abu Dhabi’s tallest peak about an hour and a half away from the city in Al Ain. This action-packed destination is home to the Middle East’s first man-made white water rafting channels, measuring 1,100 metres in length and perfect for rafting and kayaking. It also has a surfing wall, wakeboarding facilities, swimming pool and splash pool. Families and groups of friends will love it here, but it’s also great for team building and corporate events.
You’ll know that the facilities on offer are top quality, because sports professionals from around the world regularly visit the park, which also provides training programmes and complete packages, including accommodation and airport transfers. So, don’t be surprised if you find yourself rubbing shoulders with well-known sportspeople.
Occupying a nine-kilometre stretch at the base of the craggy Jebel Hafit mountain, Abu Dhabi’s tallest peak, you can explore the family-friendly park’s majestic natural surroundings on a hike, mountain bike, horse or camel and uncover fascinating archaeological and historical remains that tell stories of this unique area’s ancient habitation. Archaeological remains include remnants of the Neolithic period from 8,000 years ago, to the 5,000-year-old Jebel Hafit Tombs excavated in 1959 at the request of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE.
8. Horse riding on an island wildlife park for a close-up look at gazelle and giraffes
You’ll find the stables at the island’s Desert Islands Resort and Spa by Anantara, with gentle 30- to 45-minute entry-level sand-dune rides being perfect for beginners. Bush trail or beach rides – one-hour to one-and-a-half-hour excursions – are ideal for intermediate riders who want to ride along Sir Bani Yas Island’s coastline and enjoy a splash in the shimmering shallows of the Arabian Gulf. The wildlife ride, meanwhile, is a once-in-a-lifetime activity created for experienced riders who can get up close and personal with some of Sir Bani Yas Island’s famous wildlife, including gazelle and giraffes.
9. Picking up speed at the Al Ain Raceway
Motorsports fans will love Al Ain Sportplex’s Al Ain Raceway, home to Arabia’s largest go-karting track. Located in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi’s lush garden city and heritage heartland about 90 minutes from the capital, this adrenaline-fuelled destination hosts major international events, including the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals, the biggest annual event on the global karting calendar. The fully floodlit circuit features three distinctive configurations, providing an exhilarating challenge for drivers of all abilities. Open to the public, speed lovers can hone their skills in top-of-the-line Intrepid-branded rental karts. If you don’t want to race, you can also enjoy cricket, soccer and paintball here, with the on-site Al Ain Heritage and Culture theme park inviting you to step into the past and experience traditional aspects of Emirati life.