A theme park of global standards is every kid’s dream in Saudi Arabia

In Riyadh, there are only four amusement parks, all of them are in a poor condition and are overpriced

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Saudi Arabia does not have amusement parks as large or varied as the ones that can be found in North America, Europe or even other countries of Asia.

In Riyadh, there are only four amusement parks, all of them are in a poor condition and are overpriced. Moreover, they have the same few rides with no new additions in many years.

As a result, most families in Saudi Arabia prefer to travel abroad and take their children to countries where they can have fun, Al-Riyadh daily reports.

Many global entertainment cities provide, together with different entertainment options, accommodation for visitors.

Strict rules

Mishaal Al-Otaibi is a college student who said most amusement parks in the country are old with few ever visiting.

“I haven’t been to one for five years and I don’t have any plans to visit one soon. They’re the same and have not changed or improved their services.

What’s worse is the strict rules imposed on women, let alone the high prices they charge for rides,” Al-Otaibi said.

Fatin Al-Otaibi, also a college student, said she visited an amusement park three months ago, a trip she described as “boring.”

“We don’t have entertainment venues except for malls and even there they impose draconian rules just like the amusement parks, which don’t allow people to bring food and drinks in or their cameras.

Women are also expected to watch what they wear to the parks,” she said. Nada Al-Salim, a teacher, said investors of amusement parks in Riyadh are not taking care of the parks even though such projects have potential to generate hefty profits if they are developed and improved.

“Saudi society is craving for such projects because they allow them to escape daily pressures and enjoy some down time with family members.

The current rules imposed at the parks do not allow men to enter the park with their wives and children,” she said.

Maha Al-Anazi, a recent college graduate, added that there is nothing special about amusement parks in the Kingdom and their services still do not meet public expectations.

“This is why most families do not go there anymore. The rides are boring and old,” she said, while calling on investors to build bigger entertainment cities where all members of a family can go together and have fun.

“Entertainment is important for children and parents alike and parks should meet the needs of both,” she added.

A version of this article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on August 15, 2015.

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