Lindsey Parry Lonely Planet

The UAE's most elaborate water park offers opportunities to get soaked on 45 rides, slides and other liquid attractions as you follow Emirati cartoon character Dana on her quest for a magical pearl. A wave pool, two lazy rivers and the region's first water-cinema offer more relaxing alternatives to the rides if you're just looking to beat the Gulf heat.

With four thrill levels, there are rides for the fearful as well as the fearless. Top draws include the Bandit Bomber roller coaster; a hair-raising slide called Liwa Loop; Dawwama, a wild tornado ride through a 20m-high funnel that takes a gravity-defying 1½ minutes; and Bubbles' Barrell, the world's largest surfable sheet wave. The attractive date-palm landscaping, pearl-diving show, barasti (traditional Gulf method of building palm-leaf houses and the name of the house itself) shelters and souq create a pleasant heritage theme.

Great for kids and younger teens, though teens seeking true aquatic thrills will probably get bored.