Malls remain major attraction for children
Residents in the Kingdom dote on their children looking for fun and excitement and hence often take them to malls that offer a variety of recreational facilities.
Al-Qasr Mall in Al-Suwaidi district is one such shopping center which offers a recreational area on its third floor. Excited children have a field day here playing and shouting on several rides and games.
“Children are already queued up for the different games when the recreational area opens at 3 in the afternoon and the crowds don’t recede until we close at midnight,” said Alfie Navales, a Filipino rides operator.
Muhammed Al-Shawarani, a Saudi Army officer, said: “We sometimes go to the fast-food chains where there are also recreational facilities but the kids prefer to come here so that they can play.
“The recreational center is virtually a beehive, due to the noise of the children.
“Although we live in Al-Kharj, which is 80 km from Al-Suwaidi district where the Al-Qasr Mall is, we make it a point to come here every night. For one thing, it’s summer; and for another, the kids are insistent.”
Al-Shawarani said he understands why parents and children gravitate toward the mall’s recreational area. “There are so many entertainment fares to choose from,” he said.
“My kids literally whoop with joy when we arrive here, partly because it took them so long to convince us to come to the mall. They really love the bumper car ride which gives them an actual experience of driving a car,” he said.
He added that already his children — Salman, Moshari, Noura, and Majid — were telling him and their mother that they would come back the following night and the night after that.
Abdulaziz Sofian, a Saudi citizen whose family lives in the nearby Sultana district, said: “Bringing the kids here for the different games is one way of making time for them. They like to ride the swing and the galloping ride.”
“I thought they’d be afraid of sitting in the rides but they laugh themselves hoarse because they‘re enjoying the ride immensely,” said Sofian. Thomas C. K., an Indian, said his wife and he also take their kids to the mall’s recreational center these days because it’s summer.
“While the kids are on school vacation, we try to spend as much time together as a family by coming here and let them enjoy the games. They are very happy indeed,” he said.
Their “two children were having the galloper’s ride, although they also go for the swing, pirate’s ship and traffic jam,” he said.
Many of the parents were seated in chairs not too far off, keeping a watch on their children to ensure they are safe. If the children are hungry after the rides, they can always buy a variety of food and soda drinks or water from the numerous fast-food chains and coffee shops.