Before any events ever happened to Saudi Arabia, it has always been the desert or the park that is considered to be the go-to places of families and friends during the weekend. Now you might think that just going to the parks and having a picnic are boring but I think that parks are great avenues to see more green in the city of Riyadh and spend some time with our loved ones after a week of working. The park scene in Riyadh is actually thriving especially during the cusp of winter and summer when the weather is cool and suitable for staying outdoors. Smaller parks are incorporated in the city’s landscapes and bigger parks are given so much space that just walking around the place is already considered an exercise. I’m not sure how resilient and sustainable the parks of Riyadh are but they’re pretty much adequate. Have you read of our entry on Salam Park? Then for this entry, we go to the mother of all Riyadh parks… King Abdullah Park.
King Abdullah Park is one of those parks that new people in the city should visit first. But during my first year in Riyadh, I didn’t. It took me 7 years of staying here before visiting! Okay, okay, the malls enthralled me more so parks were pushed to the back of my must-visit places. Even when they first introduced the light show in King Abdullah’s fountains, it didn’t entice me to go pronto because the days following that launch, I read reports of damage, vandalism, and tampering (which was of course denied by park officials). However, that was in 2013 and I was just slacking. I went last Eid vacation (and yes, it took me this loooong to write about it) with my good friend Aileen and we discovered that the park is actually wonderful. Of ccourse, it’s not like a super wow park but is there anything super wow in this city? Haha. Jk.
The 318,000-sqm state-of-the-art park is located in Malaz, right beside the Prince Faisal Bin Fahad Stadium. The entrance fee is SR 10 for adults and SR 5 for kids. Before going inside the park, people can purchase carpets, seats, and cushions from vendors outside (like Salam Park!). Visiting hours during winter is 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM while summer operating hour is from 3:00 PM to 12 MN. As far as we know, it’s open for ladies and families during the weekend, Sundays, and Tuesdays. It’s open for men every Monday and Wednesday. The park has five gates; we entered through the gate in Nafi Ibn Al Mali street.
The park has a huge area covered in grass and other covered in concrete. Visitors can have picnics in the lawn; food can be bought in the stalls inside the park (there are no many choices though). Stoves and cooking inside the premises are not allowed. We drank red ice slushie to our silly heart’s content, er until our tongues turned bright red! Haha. Kids can skate and also buy toys and balloons. There’s also a small red train that goes around the park. Riding it costs SR 10 per person. When we went there, there was also bazaar in one part of the park where toys, cosmetics (most of them fake), and gadget accessories are being sold.
The dancing fountain is somewhere in the middle and it plays the light and water show after the maghreb and isha prayers. It’s an okay show; nothing spectacular like the fountain show in Dubai but it’s enough to give joy to adults and kids alike. The fountains come to life with a variety of colors and laser lights come out to play and provide a much needed excitement in an otherwise silent night. The music is upbeat; nothing too loud. This fountain show dazzles and delights!
After the show, the lake stills again until the following night.
There’s also a tall flagpole carrying a huge Saudi Arabia flag. We wanted to climb the stairs to get a better view of the fountain show but the guard said it’s not allowed. He’s the only allowed to the top, haha.
This is also a good jogging or running spot as the lanes and pathways in and around the park are well-lit, smooth, and clean. There are just some areas with litter but there are maintenance workers all around the park seeing that most of the park are clean and organized at any given time. Please dispose of your trash also once you’re done with your picnic and get-togethers.
During our visit, the moon was big in the night sky. It was amazing to look at amidst the bright lights of the park’s lamp posts and their reflection on the fountain lake.
Like Salam Park, King Abdullah Park gives a breather to everyone. It’s a nice place to relax and just enjoy the afternoon and night time with families and friends. Unlike Salam Park, King Abdullah Park is a huge, wide space with no undulating hills and boating lake. However, the area is safe and clean and the fountain show is a great way to entertain the kids. Of course for us adults, we’ll watch the show once or twice and we’re done with it but visit as much as you can with your kids. Have fun and play with them (hide those electronic gadgets and devices!). Let them play with kites, small balls, and physical games you used to play as kids. For us Filipinos that would be patintero, langit-lupa, luksong-tinik, tumbang preso, etc.
King Abdullah Park
Al Ameen Abdullah Al Ali Al Naeem Street,
Al Malaz, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [MAP]