July 06, 2023

Five Fun Friday Festivities For The Whole Family

Fridays are an important day in Qatar, not just because, for Muslims, Friday is a holy day. While Jummah prayers mean all business and commercial activities close midmorning to lunchtime, and many more abstain from opening on Friday mornings, Qatar comes alive on Friday afternoons and evenings as the weekend has truly arrived and, for the majority, it’s time to spend with their families.

Qatari culture is super family-orientated, and spending time with loved ones at the weekend is a must. Consequently, as Fridays in the Gulf are the West’s and non-Islamic nations’ equivalent of Saturdays, there is an abundance of family-friendly activities across Qatar to get the weekend started with a bang.

While you can spend time with your family promenading along the coast, relaxing on beaches, splashing around at water parks, visiting museums and art galleries, playing in parks, wandering the malls, exploring theme parks, and much, much more, we’ve picked the following five activities to keep the whole family amused on Fridays (and Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays...):

Strike It Lucky At Tenpin Bowling

Image: Qatar Living

Bowling is a great family activity - it's fun, laid-back and sociable, with plenty of time for conversation between players' bowling attempts. With 6-8 players able to join in a game, there is plenty of room for everyone in the family to participate. Young or old, it is an easy sport to learn and master - so suitable for all ages. Despite being a competitive game requiring skill, kids or anyone who may have trouble swinging a heavy ball can happily compete, as most bowling alleys provide lane bumpers or ramps to keep the ball on the track for maximum point scoring. 

There are bowling alleys in Doha, but one of our family favourites is Megapolis Bowling at The Pearl. Other than residing in one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in Qatar - European-style streets and promenades of Medina Centrale - the six-lane bowling alley is hosted in the surroundings of the Megapolis Entertainment Centre. Modern, bright and airy, with playful and funky decor, a friendly, lively atmosphere, and state-of-the-art bowling lanes and scoring equipment, make the alley a desirable place to spend time with the family. Plus, the entertainment centre also offers a host of other amusements aside from the bowling - darts, billiards, table tennis, Escape rooms, a VR games room, racing simulators, arcades, and karaoke rooms. A cafe also serves various snack foods and meals to hungry players.

So, if you fancy dropping some pins with the family, Megapolis Bowling is a great place to start.

Location: Megapolis, Building 12, Andalucia Way, Medina Centrale, The Pearl

Location Map: Megapolis Entertainment Center

Nearest Metro: Legtaifiya Metro Station on the Red Line - take the free Metrolink shuttle bus from the station to reach Medina Centrale

Hours: 24 hours daily

Costs: Sunday - Thursday, QAR 25 pp/per game; 

Friday and Saturday, QAR 40 pp/per game

Contact: +974 4437 8444

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://megapolisqatar.com/index.html

Instagram: @megapolisqatar

Facebook: @MegapolisQatar

See The Latest Flicks At The Cinema

Image: Zoriana Zaitseva/Shutterstock.com

Most cinemas show a host of fantastic family films all year round, and these days many also offer a new type of cinema experience - family-friendly auditoriums! Gone are the days of hushed voices and no fidgeting during movies - these child-friendly screens, specially adapted to create a fun, comfortable, worry-free zone for kids, parents and guardians, ensure that families can relax while watching a film together, no matter how exuberant some of the younger members of the family can be. Kids' cinemas, as they are also known, are perfect places to gather with loved ones, young and old, as the screens are designed with families in mind. The auditoriums are brighter and more colourful, have space to play and incorporate features such as chairs ergonomically designed for kids, areas for parking prams and pushchairs, enhanced lighting during the film, and lower audio volume for sensitive ears. Some screens even have associated lounges and playgrounds nearby to enable very active kids to burn off steam before, during or after a movie.

Several cinemas in Qatar offer family-friendly theatres; our favourite would be the VOX Cinema at Doha Oasis. The kids' screens at VOX have been created especially with little moviegoers in mind, featuring brightly themed interiors with comfy, colourful seats, including a choice of bean bag-style recliners, chairs and sofas. Each auditorium provides a safe environment with adjustable lights and sound levels and shows family-friendly content only. For that extra special touch, the cinema hosts appearances from kids' favourite movie characters and provides adjoining play areas for kids to enjoy during their visits.

If you love spending time with your family and are a fan of the silver screen, this type of experience will be right up your and your loved ones' street!

Location: Doha Oasis, Al Khaleej Street, Msheireb, Doha

Location Map: VOX Cinemas

Nearest Metro: Msheireb Metro Station on the Red, Gold and Green Lines

Hours: Sunday to Monday, 9 am - 1 am

Costs: Between QAR 40-60 (approx.)

Website: https://qat.voxcinemas.com

Instagram: @voxcinemasqatar

Facebook: @voxcinemasqatar

Take To The Fairways and Greens For Some Glow-In-The-Dark Mini-Golf Fun

Image: Indoor Mini Golf

Mini-golf has been a popular pastime for families for a long time; it is an easy game to learn and play, making it open to all ages and skill levels. And it's relatively inexpensive. Indeed, for over 100 years, mini-golf fans have been putting around themed courses testing their skills against family and friends, trying to putt their balls into the correct holes in as few strokes as possible while navigating a host of obstacles. However, the game, already played worldwide, has gained huge numbers of followers in recent years due to the incorporation of immersive environments and technology into the game. Mini-golfers are now treated to games that include automated props, obstacles and scoring, interactive gaming elements, and immersive-style lighting and digital media - all with serious instagrammable vibes. 

Qatar has embraced the modern twist to traditional mini-golfing with its own glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course - like regular mini-golf but in pitch black. The black-lit game in Gondolania at the Villaggio Mall uses ultraviolet light to illuminate the tracks, obstacles, holes, putters and balls in different neon colours so that golfers can follow the game's route from beginning to end. On completing the Moon-themed course (also known as Moonshot Mini-Golf), players are rewarded with an automated launch of a space rocket in recognition of their efforts. Playing in the dark adds a new dimension of excitement and fun to the game; it is definitely one to boggle the senses delightfully.

For a unique and thrilling adventure for the whole family, take a shot in the dark and complete the Moonshot challenge.

Location: Gondolania, Villaggio Mall, Al Waab Street, Al Waab, Doha

Location Map: Gondolania

Nearest Metro: Al Aziziyah Metro Station on the Gold Line

Hours: Saturday to Wednesday, 10 am - 11 pm,

Thursday and Saturday, 10 am - 12 am 

Friday, 1 pm - 12 am

Costs: QAR 35 per person (a game card needs to be purchased in Gondolania at the ticket office and the appropriate credit uploaded to gain entry into Moonshot)

Entry to the game includes putters and balls

Contact: +974 4403 9800

Website: http://www.gondolania.com/

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @gondolania

Facebook: @Gondolania

Glide Round Qatar’s Largest Ice Rink

Image: Light Field Studios/Shutterstock.com

Ice skating is a fantastic way to get the whole family out and active. It's a relatively inexpensive, sociable activity, a great workout, building muscle and improving balance, and regardless of age or skill level, rinks are open to everyone. In fact, since ice skating is a low-impact sport, it's even suitable for more mature family members. And kids can grab an ice skating aid (seals and penguins are popular) to help keep them steady and upright until they find their skating feet. Plus, the learning curve is steep, giving everyone a sense of accomplishment, and there is always something new to learn, keeping everyone engaged.

Despite its desert climate, Qatar has a couple of indoor ice rinks. The Olympic-sized rink at Gondolania Ice Arena is the country's largest and oldest ice rink. Located in Gondolania, an entertainment quarter inside the Venetian-styled Villaggio Mall, the ice rink is open all year round. Recreational skating is available most days, though skating clubs, winter sports clubs, and leagues also skate at the arena, which is closed to the public during sessions and tournaments. The rink also offers skating lessons, with tuition for basic skating and figure skating delivered by accredited coaches. The arena provides skate rental, lockers, WC facilities, plenty of seating and spectator areas for non-skaters, and the rink is surrounded by food court restaurants, cafes and kiosks.

So, if you want a fun and energetic activity for you and yours, head down to the rink with your family for an exhilarating afternoon on the ice.

Note: To head out onto the ice, you must wear gloves, long trousers (with no rips or holes) and fitted clothing (no abayas), and an adult must accompany children under the age of seven.

Or, if you or your household are not a fan of the ice, you can join in as a spectator at one of the ice rink shows, generally organised over the winter holidays or in conjunction with public holidays. 

Location: Gondolania, Villaggio Mall, Al Waab Street, Al Waab, Doha

Location Map: 25° 15' 42.503" N 51° 26' 35.4217" E

Nearest Metro: Al Aziziyah Metro Station on the Gold Line

Hours: Saturday to Tuesday, 9 am - 11 pm,

Wednesday, 8 am - 11 pm,

Thursday and Friday, 9 am - 12 am 

(closed 11 am - 12:30 pm Fridays)

Costs: QAR 55 per person per skating session

Gloves and socks (QAR 10 each) and skating aids (QAR 15) 

Skating Lessons - QAR 750 for six 30 min sessions or QAR 550 for six 30n min semi-private sessions (both require a QAR 150 annual membership fee)

Contact: +974 4450 7873

Website: http://www.gondolaniaicearena.com/

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @gondolaniaicearena

Facebook: @gondolaniaicearena

Get Your Bounce On With Some Trampolining Fun

Image: Bounce Inc

Trampolining is an excellent day out for active families, especially with today's ultimate spring-loaded parks that consist of thousands of square metres of interconnected trampolines, reams of padding, and features for performing tricks and skills, such as giant airbags, obstacle courses and running walls. And, while aerial manoeuvres and air sports are possible, this low-impact sport is just as suitable for novices and bouncers of every age. In fact, trampolining, other than beginning immense fun and great sociable activity, is fantastic for keeping fit, improving health and reducing stress.

Qatar is home to one of the largest indoor trampoline parks in the Middle East, Bounce Doha, in Tawar Mall. The high-energy park has wall-to-wall trampolines and a host of specialist freestyle areas and is a massive playground for kids and adults alike. The free-jumping arena, around 50 interconnected floor and wall trampolines, is perfect for enjoying the simple delight of bouncing from mat to mat or trying easy wall tricks. Other netted-off areas host uproarious team games of dodgeball or football, and a Slam Dunk court, with full-height rings and a spring-loaded platform, for practising air basketball. There is also the Big Bag, a massive inflatable airbag for practising flips and other moves, and the Cliff Jump, a high-dive platform with a giant airbag underneath. Meanwhile, for thrill-seekers, the park offers supercharged performance trampolines, with extra bounce for aerial skills development, and a trampoline/wall court for next-level flips and jumps. The venue also includes the X-Park adventure challenge course, an obstacle course for ninja warriors and parkour fans (trainers required). 

So, if you and yours love to burn off energy, prepare to jump, spring and leap to your heart's content at Bounce.

Location: Tawar Mall, Al Markhiya Street, Al Duhail South, Doha

Location Map: BOUNCE Doha

Nearest Metro: N/A

Hours: Sunday to Wednesday, 2pm - 11pm

Thursday, 2 pm - 12 am

Friday, 10 am - 12 am

Saturday, 10 am - 11 pm

Costs: QAR 100 general admission for one hour (excluding the X-Park)

QAR 90 junior jumpers under 110 cm tall for 1 hour (all kids areas)

QAR 120 premium admission (including X-Park)

Fees include the cost of a pair of reusable grip socks. 

Contact: +974 4408 6500

Website: https://bounce.qa/

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @bouncemideast

If you like our suggestions for family fun in this article, try the following recommendations for activities that will keep the whole family entertained:

Main image: oneinchpunch/Shutterstock.com

Published: July 06, 2023
Last updated: July 06, 2023
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