These are just two of a host of entertainment and educational activities available to Saudi youngsters and their families at the Riyadh Home Coming festival in the north of the capital.
The festival, which was launched by General Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Al-Sheikh on Tuesday, is expected to be a hit with children looking for added thrills as their summer break draws to a close.
Among surprises are shows including “Disney on Ice,” and plays such as “University of the Rowdies” that are being presented for the first time.
The festival features three zones and two stages, and promises visitors “an integrated and distinctive interactive experience combining knowledge and entertainment.”
Activities are appropriate for all age groups and cover a variety of interests. Among the highlights are a circus show at the Mohammed Al-Ali Theater in Riyadh Boulevard City and a performance by singer Rasha Rizk, known for singing the Arabic theme songs for popular cartoons and anime.
Riyadh Home Coming also aims to help youngsters make decisions about their future professional careers and jobs.
Arts and creativity are heavily represented at the festival, in addition to a wide selection of local and global innovation and entertainment stations.
As well as a simulated “space experience,” virtual travel to Mars and an inspiring children’s art experience, the festival will offer children six interactive experiences in the fields of environmental sciences, biology and chemistry.
One of the corners is devoted to learning languages, including Arabic, Japanese, Korean and even sign language.
Aliaa’ Al-Omar, an instructor in sign language, told Arab News: “We are interested in spreading sign language as a community partnership, and we inform people about the tasks carried out by the Saudi Society for Sign Language Interpretation. We have a sign language mobile application, dictionaries for children, activities, and training in sign language that benefit children who want to learn sign language, as well as adults.”
Japanese speaker Fatima Al-Inani said that she and her family are taking part in the festival to “build bridges” between the Arabic and Japanese languages.
“We are here to talk about Japanese culture. We talk about the differences between the Arabic and the Japanese cultures, and we teach the visitors and children how to write their names in Japanese.”
A ninja warrior experience will also be offered for the first time in Saudi Arabia to help children, and their parents, develop mental and physical skills.
“‘Ninja Warrior’ is one of the most popular shows in the US — the winner becomes famous. Here we are having it for the first time in Saudi Arabia. It’s a course for children and adults where they go through challenges to test their physical limits, and it’s good for parents to bond with their kids,” one of the site workers said.
Riyadh Home Coming offers a variety of restaurants, cafes and shops.
The festival is open daily until Sept. 5. Entry is SR20 ($5.33) with bookings via the link: