Kids on VR River Raft at National Geographic Ultimate Explorer Abu Dhabi

National Geographic Ultimate Explorer – An Indoor Adventure for Families at The Galleria

by Abu Dhabi Travel Planner Team

Explore the latest National Geographic opening at The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi

Calling all junior explorers! The first of its kind in the Middle East, this is far more interactive than just your regular National Geographic store; welcome to the edutainment centre National Geographic Ultimate Explorer!!!

An immersive family experience, shuttle off to space, program a robot drilling on Mars and chat to a panda – all made possible through a unique blend of virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D technology and immersive play-based learning experiences.

Let’s take a look around this latest installment in The Galleria to help you plan your family trip to Abu Dhabi.

What to expect at National Geographic Ultimate Explorer

There are seven individual attractions for families to experience at National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, all with STEAM at their heart and appealing to slightly different age groups and interests:

Space Jump

Have you got what it takes to be an astronaut? Your older kids can take on this AR experience to see what it’s like to explore space. There are two experiences, driving a rover on mars and floating in the vacuum of space.

(NB this ride is for 12 years+ due to extreme motion)

Wild River Recon

This virtual reality experience puts riders on a rainforest experience in search of rare and exotic animals to capture photographs in their augmented viewfinders.

Wild River Recon VR experience at National Geographic Ultimate Explorer

Mission Mars

Control your own robot on planet Mars! Learn to program the movements, drill and most importantly get back to base before the mission is over. This will suit your slightly older kids who’ve had experience using basic programming tools at school.

Mission Mars programmable robots at National Geographic Ultimate Explorer

Canopy Climbers

Indoor climbing adventure with a jungle theme. Aimed at your younger ones for growing those gross motor skills alongside working their brains.

Canopy Climbers at National Geographic Ultimate Explorer

CritterCam Live

Ever wanted to talk with animals? Step into Howler Hall where using a Zoocoder kids can have an interactive chat with a giant panda! A theatre style experience suitable to all ages.

Zoocoder giant panda chat at National Geographic Ultimate Explorer

Terra Studio

Sandpit play time taken to a whole new level! Junior geologists get ready to pit your sand building skills against the forces of nature. Simulating rain and tornadoes, create valleys and rivers then watch volcanoes explode from your creation – a definite winner with all age groups!

Creating rain over our sandy landscape


One for your creative kids, Upcycling will allow your kids to test their artistic skills in reusing materials with paintings and practical items. Kids will have a little keepsake to take home from their experience too.

Upcycling at National Geographic Ultimate Explorer

Gift Shop & More

Last not not least, you can be sure your journey starts and ends in a classic National Geographic gift shop. Always full of fascinating gadgets for curious kids as well as soft and cuddly critters, books and puzzles.

A small café and party room are in the works so watch this space for more to come at this exciting new family venue at The Galleria.

Gift shop at National Geographic Ultimate Explorer

It’s certainly a unique edutainment opportunity for kids in Abu Dhabi. The staff are kind and interactive, and each activity is undertaken with a small group which keeps things intimate and hands-on. Definitely one to add to your indoor activity list if you’re visiting the capital.

Plan your visit to National Geographic Ultimate Explorer

Everything you need to plan your visit to the UAE’s first National Geographic Ultimate Explorer centre:

Where to find National Geographic in Abu Dhabi

There is plentiful parking at The Galleria, or you can get public transport bus stops and taxi ranks nearby.

When is National Geographic Ultimate Explorer open?

  • Saturday to Wednesday 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Thursday and Friday 10:00 AM to midnight

What does National Geographic Ultimate Explorer Cost?

  • Adults & Kids 80 AED each

Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult. We await news if discounted family packages are available.

Weekdays entry is unlimited, whilst on weekends, you have a maximum of 2 hours to explore, which should be more than enough time to take on each of 7 experiences.

Note, local weekends – Friday and Saturday – are likely to be much busier; as a tourist we’d highly recommend visiting during weekday school hours, you’ll almost always get it to yourselves!

What ages would it suit?

The activities at National Geographic Ultimate Explorer cover a wide range of age groups. Ideally, it’s targeted at primary-age children; 5 to 11 year-olds would get the most value from the experiences on offer.

For further queries on your visit, contact the venue directly; Call/WhatsApp 052 403 7166.

Our Editorial team have attended as a members of the media and as paying guests. All opinions are our own. Times and pricing correct as of November 2021.

Find more great indoor activities in Abu Dhabi – perfect for hot and rainy days – over here

Before you go… Important things to consider when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi

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Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel or tour recommendation links.

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