Post by Mark
Last week I posted a link to an article on Al Shaheed Park which contained beautiful photos as well as a bit of information on the park. Well on Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited for a walk-around tour of the park which still hasn’t opened to the public and I have to say, it’s as impressive as the pictures made it out to be.
In this post I’m going to try and share some information that I think hasn’t been shared yet anywhere as well as answering some questions some readers asked under my previous post. First here is a photo from the park map listing all the different spaces:
The primary areas of the park are the two museums, the Habitat Museum and the Remembrance Museum. The Habitat Museum will house information on Kuwait’s environment, animals, birds, vegetation and weather, while the Remembrance Museum will house an interactive exhibit on the historical battles of Kuwait and the Gulf War. There are a bunch of other sections as well which are also important.
The Aviary for example is a large open enclosure for the birds, mostly migratory ones. There is a very modern and beautiful mosque located in the park. There is a 3KM cushioned jogging track that goes all around the park. There is a large lake that is used to irrigate the whole park. There is a flag pole which will replace the one that used to be in Kuwait City near the Sheraton roundabout. There is a community garden and a bunch of restaurants and cafes all around the park. There is also a two storey underground parking which will be used by the park visitors and Al Tijaria Tower across the street.
As of this post they hadn’t finalized how the park will function. By that I mean they’re not sure if it should be an open to everyone no entrance fee public park like a park should be or a park with some sort of entrance fee, or maybe a park with no entrance fee but a very controlled environment. If the choice was left up to me I’d probably go with the no entrance option but with a VERY VERY controlled environment with lots of security cameras and security guards everywhere. Why? Here’s why…
Al Shaheed Park is beautiful in person as it is in those wonderful photos that were posted on ArchDaily. It’s also a very fragile park with glass railings everywhere, glass windows all over the place and there are even very thin and pretty lights that look like flowers all around the park. Basically it’s a place that can easily be vandalized. Now there will be guides at the park who will take people around to see the various spaces and museums, they’ve also recently decided to triple the amount of security at the park and there will also be supervisors stationed there. But will that be enough? I’m not sure and neither are they. For now they’re going to be opening the park to the public with no entrance fee and little control so they could see what will happen. If everything remains civil then they’ll keep it that way, if all hell breaks loose then they’ll consider alternative options.
One area of the park which I think could be a big hit are the restaurants and cafes. Right now they don’t have any operators and there is a tender taking place but if the right brands take over these restaurants and cafes then I think the park could be even a bigger hit. Some the restaurant spaces looked a bit casual, others a bit more formal but all looked fantastic.
I asked about the maintenance of the park since the majority of the government projects when completed end up falling apart years later. They assured me that they’ve signed a maintenance contract and if anything breaks or if a light goes out it will get replaced right away.
Although the exterior of the buildings look great I thought the interiors looked even better, or at least if you’re like me and think retro is cool. I fell in love with some of the furniture and if the security doesn’t end up being so tight I might end up leaving the park with two chairs, a table and a lamp. So take note park people, tighten up the security detail.
When is the park opening? Very soon. They didn’t want to give me an exact date since they’re currently doing some minor fixes to the park but what I understood is that its probably going to open sometime next month but don’t take my word for it.
Anyway this is the information I thought was interesting to share but if you have any questions let me know below and I’ll try to answer it myself or have someone connected to the park answer it. Also I like to point out again that if you haven’t checked the ArchDaily post already then do so for much nicer photos.
Finally if you’re Kuwaiti, bilingual and are aged between 18 and 30 then you can apply to be a tour guide at the park [Here]