Skating, wall-climbing, ping-pong: Abu Dhabi residents make the most of Al Fay Park

The verdant 27,500-square-metre space opened to the public on January 20

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Dozens of residents from Al Reem Island and other parts of Abu Dhabi spent their weekend at the newly opened Al Fay Park next to Gate Towers.

Boasting 2,000 local trees, the sprawling 27,500-square-metre, forest-like space, was opened by Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, on January 20.

Sport and outdoor play are high on the agenda at Al Fay Park, which houses hard courts for basketball and futsal, ping-pong tables, a skatepark, rock-climbing walls, monkey bars, and multiple tree-lined, cobbled and water-facing walkways.

Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed tours newly opened Al Fay Park on Al Reem Island, the first urban park in the emirate to focus on bio-diversity. It provides another healthy and sustainable public place for residents and visitors in Abu Dhabi. courtesy: Abu Dhabi Media office
A walkway at Al Fay Park on Al Reem Island. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Media Office

A soft play area and fountains will keep young children occupied, while the open-plan layout lends itself well to walkers, riders and rollerbladers.

Scroll through our gallery to see some of the amenities at Al Fay Park

The benefits of being outdoors 

Open-air play and spending time in nature have a host of physical and mental health benefits.

A 2019 article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA journal concluded that exposure to green spaces during childhood is associated with better mental health and lower risk of psychiatric disorders from adolescence into adulthood. As author Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods (2005) outlined, spending less time outdoors makes people, especially children, feel alienated from nature and more prone to negative moods, reduced attention span and increased obesity.

An ideal - and crucial - counter to the amount of screentime we engage in, taking a break amid nature can work wonders for one's wellbeing. Not only does time spent outdoors reduce stress and anxiety, but it can also improve self-esteem, confidence and focus, whether at work or at school