The newly-opened playgrounds at the National Museum of Qatar are not your ordinary playgrounds. Part of the museum’s second phase, these spaces are specially created to reflect the exhibits you can find inside the museum and promote intergenerational learning. Currently, there are two playgrounds, Cave of Wonders and Adventure Ship, with the third one, in collaboration with Total focusing on energy, which is slated to open by the end of 2020.
So why should you pay the playgrounds a visit? Scroll down to see the top 5 reasons why you should!
While learning is a big part of a child’s development, playing is too. So why not combine the two? The museum did just that and more when they created these spaces where families can interact with their children and where the museum galleries come to life in a fun and imaginative way.
The playgrounds sure do make learning fun as visitors not only learn about the history of Qatar but children can also exercise their imagination and skills such as motor, problem-solving, and social skills.
The Cave of Wonders reflects the first few galleries of the National Museum, focusing on archaeology, geology, and the environment. Inside, visitors can see some of the content from the galleries like the Al Jassasiya rock carvings. For this project, the NMoQ team studied closely the caves/sinkholes (dahl in Arabic) that can be seen across Qatar. Outside the entrance, visitors can see a map of where these dahls are located.
The “Ghatrousha”-inspired Adventure Ship, visitors can learn about Qatar’s maritime history and the daily life of people who lived through sailing, pearling, fishing, and trading. The Ghatrousha is a boat used by Rahmah Bin Jaber, a historical figure and captain as well as a famous Arabian horse and pearl trader.
Such is the attention to detail on these playgrounds to make them not just educational but also make the visitor feel like they are transported to a different place.
Inside the cave, there are lighted crystals, geckos, bats all over the ceiling, places to crawl and hide, artifacts and carvings to discover, and rocks to climb. The sounds played through the speakers will certainly make kids feel like they’re in a real cave. Kids get to learn too about cave-inhabiting animals through shadow projections.
While playing at the Adventure Ship, kids can listen to the stories of Qatar, the intangible heritage, in Arabic and English. During the day, Dana Al Meer from Qatar National Library narrates the story of May and Gilan, who tried to outdo one another in the realm of pearling and sailing in ancient times. At night, kids get to listen to the story of a sea djinn named Bu Darya, as narrated by Ebrahim Al-Bishri of Qatar National Library. According to Bouthayna Baltaji, Head of Exhibitions Section, they will be adding projections to go with the stories' audio.
In addition, kids can experience Qatar’s pearling past by playing a game, where one can play as a hauler and the other as a pearl diver, while assisted by a guardian.
They can also navigate and explore both sides of the boat, where visitors can see treasures, cargo, maps, tools, and spices. The boat can be accessed through the stairs, the ladder, the fishnet, and the climbing walls.
Those who have a keen eye will be able to note that the patterns on the climbing walls can also be found at the old palace. The pots and jars scattered throughout are also 3D scans from the ones you can find in the galleries.
The life-sized wooden mouse wheel is not one to be missed, as it is not only fun but is also one of the entrances to a treasure trove.
These playgrounds are not just for children to enjoy but for the whole family! Because of the attention to detail, the adults will surely have a blast exploring all the nooks and crannies with the little ones.
Both of the playgrounds are accessible, with a wheelchair ramp and lift to help get around.
Concerned about the hot summers? Fret not. The NMoQ team kept the changing temperatures in mind when designing the playgrounds.
Inside the Cave of Wonders, you will feel that the walls are cool, thanks to the cooling system that helps the playground mimic the temperatures of a real cave. So even if it’s sweltering hot outside, it will still be cooler inside the cave by around 10 degrees.
As for the Adventure Ship, aside from the huge sail, numerous mist fans are strategically placed all over the area. In the vicinity, trees furthermore provide additional shade once fully grown.
The playgrounds are open during the museum hours.
Yep, there’s no entrance fee! And while you can access the playgrounds without visiting the galleries, it is the vision of the museums that visitors will be enticed to also visit the galleries to learn more about the past, present, and future of Qatar.
The playgrounds can be accessed through the lagoon or through the old palace.
Location: National Museum of Qatar
Nearest Metro Station: National Museum (Gold Line)
Opening hours: Sun-Weds: 9 am-7 pm / Thurs & Sat: 9 am-7 pm / Fri: 1:30-7 pm
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