Doha Drabbles · Expat Life · Travel

Al Khor Park: My experience

After renovations, Al Khor Park reopened to the public a few weeks ago to the happiness of families in Al Khor, especially those who didn’t want to come all the way to Doha to bring their family to a park. Since I love parks, and we were in Al Khor at the time, we decided to have a look and see what the place has to offer.

The trip going to Al Khor Park was a disaster, I have to say. It’s not located properly on Google Maps (while I heavily rely on!!), but I managed to get the pin location from the Doha News article. Though it helped us in locating the place, GMaps still gave us hell, asking us to turn right when the roads were blocked, and basically just messing with me until I wasted a lot of petrol and time driving in circles. We eventually gave up and decided to go to Purple Island and the Al Khor Corniche first before trying our luck once again.

Pro tip: Go to Al Khor city first, and then on Google Maps search for Desert Group Nursery (which is directly opposite the park). This helped us a lot to find the place, but I was surprised to see so many cars arriving from a different road. WHERE WERE THEY COMING FROM? As you can tell, I was very frustrated!

But we finally arrived and I was excited!

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Joining a dozen other families, all of whom were armed with picnic blankets and plastic bags bursting with food, we paid our QR5 entrance fee and entered the park.

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Very green, and bigger than what we expected. The park was well maintained except for some places where people littered and didn’t bother to pick up after themselves. No signs, no guards telling them off. A kid threw a paper cup in the bushes right in front of me and the parents, and the guard, didn’t care. Honestly, a little bit of education both at home and at the park goes a long way to making sure what few green places we have is kept clean!

The park was full of families on a Saturday afternoon. I didn’t take many pictures, but lots of kids were playing cricket and families were lounging around on blankets and picnic mats. Food is allowed in, so many had brought coolers and takeaway. The weather was still good, not too hot, so they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Huge playground areas are available, and kids were running around happily and playing on the swings and slides. Unfortunately, the train wasn’t working when we arrived so we didn’t get to experience or see it. Funnily enough, the train usually passes through a tunnel made from a giant Genie head, as in from the Disney cartoon Aladdin… No copyright issues there, I’m hoping!

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The mini zoo had zebras, oryx’s, deer, and other animals. Apparently they had been transferred from the old Doha zoo. The animals looked bored, not really mistreated, but honestly there were no guards making sure that the guests did not try and harm them. I saw some kids trying to feed the animals fries from McDonald’s and no one was stopping them! There was even a bit of trash in some of their cages.

Also, no signs or information anywhere about the kinds of animals. I didn’t know what a few were, honestly (Were they gazelles? Deer? Not sure!) and it would have been more educational for me (and all the families and kids!!) if there had been signs about the animals, where they come from, and how you shouldn’t feed them McDonalds.

If you’re a huge fan of zoos, this will disappoint you. If you’re against the existence of zoos, this will upset you. If your kids are easily amused by animals, this will entertain them.

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The aviary was a bit of a disappointment. To be fair, it was huge, and very beautiful. You crossed from one end to the other on a bridge that gave you a good view on what was there. But that’s the thing, not much was there to look at.

A few peacocks, lots of pigeons, and what looked like turkeys. That’s really it. I had read stories about how kids were stressing the peacocks out by trying to catch them, but now the place has been cordoned off so that people could only walk on the bridge. Good job there in protecting the peacocks at least!

When we went, the train wasn’t working, and the only food served in the cafeteria were local meals, juice boxes, and home made karak. All were served by a duo of people, who I think were working with a local family. The karak was delicious, and I saw a few people buying loads of the food, so it must have been good!

I didn’t see the mini golf area or the museum when I was there… Not even sure they were there at all.

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:

  • Good for families to have a day out and enjoy a picnic. (Clean up after yourselves please!)
  • Small kids will easily be entertained by the animals and birds. Make sure they don’t feed them junk or try to pull out the birds’ feathers!
  • Huge playgrounds – again, perfect for little kids.
  • Lots of greenery!

WHY YOU SHOULD NOT GO:

  • Not much to do if you’re not up to spending a lazy day in the grass, or if you don’t have little kids.
  • The animals look bored and, though they don’t look abused, could be taken care of more. No information on them available.
  • Not much shade offered, which will be harsh for people going in the summer.

 

My trip could best be described as an enjoyable afternoon, but not one that would make me want to return any time soon. It needs a bit of tweaking, and more attention should be given to the animals, but it’s a good place for families to spend their day. Shame it opened just as winter was ending!

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