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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Qatar residents voice ‘disappointment’ about animal park

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Animal Park Qatar
Animal Park Qatar

A temporary park featuring animatronic models of dinosaurs and other large animals has drawn criticism from some visitors who are calling it “disappointing” and poor value for money.

The Animal Park, which is located on unpaved grounds near the Qatar Sports Club in Dafna/West Bay, opened to the public earlier this month and has advertised its attractions as including 8m-high dinosaurs, as well as models of King Kong, Godzilla and other creatures.

Running until April 2, the park charges QR25 admission for adults and QR15 for children.

This isn’t the first attraction in recent months to draw the ire of visitors. Another current temporary offering, Magical Festival Village near Katara Cultural Village, has also spurred some criticism for the quality of its presentation.

‘Deceived’

The Animal Park is organized by Dubai-based organizers CAC events, which is working in partnership with AJ Entertainment in Doha and the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).

CAC previously said the idea was inspired by Jurassic Park and the aim is to entertain and educate children in the Middle East.

However, a number of residents have described feeling “deceived” by the park’s promotional material. Some said that the landscaping and presentation of the area is poor and that the animals appeared “old” when they visited.

Animal Park Qatar
Animal Park Qatar

Alina Marin visited the park last weekend with her husband and two children, ages seven and 10 years old, after seeing online advertisements about it.

Speaking to Doha News, she said their expectations were not that high, but that because the park was traveling around the Gulf, thought it would be entertaining.

The Spanish expat added:

“There is a fence all around and you can see Godzilla and King Kong over the top, but when you get inside the ground, it is deceiving. It’s a big site, but the animals are all spread out. They are really old, with holes in them. For some of them the eyes were faded from the sun. The jaw of T-Rex was twisted.”

Animal Park Qatar
Animal Park Qatar

There were additional charges for the bouncy castle and for food stalls inside the site, and the ground was rough and lacked any landscaping, she said.

“I was deceived by it. I feel cheated, lied to about what it would be,” she continued, adding that her family spent “four minutes” in the park before deciding to leave.

Malin said she voiced her complaints to the organizers on the site, who offered to refund her family’s QR80 entry costs.

She decided to post a short video on popular Facebook group When, Where & How In Doha to advise other potential visitors what to expect, she said.

Another visitor described the park as “an embarrassment.”

“Models (are) plonked on waste ground with no thought or presentation,” said the resident, who asked not to be named, told Doha News, following a recent trip there.

‘Edutainment’

Anto Kolankanny, managing director of Qatar-based AJ Entertainment, told Doha News that he was aware of the criticisms leveled at the park, explaining that the recent wet weather and winds had prevented the organizers from properly landscaping the area.

However, he maintained the attraction was good value for money.

“I don’t think it (the entry fee) is expensive. This is ‘edutainment’, it is not a theme park.

These are mostly extinct animals which you can’t otherwise see. When you go near them, they move. It is an education for kids. Some people have misunderstood what they are coming to see,” he added.

Have you visited the animal park? Thoughts?

Note: This article has been updated to advise that QTA has said it did not partner with the event organizers on this project.

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