A picture of a mother and her two boys planting in a garden
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Welcome to the Dadu Gardens

Updated 20 December 2022

By Hissa Al Hitmi

The Dadu Gardens are the ‘living classrooms’ of the Dadu, Children’s Museum of Qatar. The garden uses nature-driven interactive play to nurture children’s physical, social and emotional development. We speak with Clara Chien Hui Lim, Deputy Director of Design and Interpretation at Dadu, Children’s Museum of Qatar, to find out how the Dadu Gardens use the power of play to support that development and nurture a love for nature.

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What are the Dadu Gardens? 

The Dadu Gardens are the outdoor gallery of the museum. Spanning 14,500sqm, they wrap around the eastern façade of the museum building.

A dense hedge separates the gardens from neighbouring Al Bidda Park, providing a secure perimeter and peace of mind to families. The Dadu Gardens use the power of authentic play and engagement with nature to support children’s development.

Nature play fosters love for nature which leads to wanting to take care of the environment while supporting their physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. 

Can you profile the ideal visitor: who should visit the gardens?

The Dadu Gardens welcome visitors 0 – 11 years old with their families and carers. All activities are designed for children within this age group, or for supporting youth and adults working with, or caring for children of this age.

As a result, entry into the gardens is unique but in line with children’s museums across the world. Every adult must be accompanied by a child under 11 years, and children need to be accompanied by an adult above 18 years; youth between 12 and 18 are welcome to visit when accompanied by both. 

Independent adult visitors may visit the space for professional reasons, for example other museum professionals or teachers carrying out pre-visits. Visitors must register and apply for our visitor badge identifying them as professional visitors.

How did the idea of the gardens come about?

At Dadu, play is central to all learning and expression.

The gardens were designed to provide a range of activities, from physical to creative play, narrative play and more. There are spaces for running and splashing; spaces for performances and for adventure.

The design of the gardens deliberately steered away from the design of fixed playgrounds, instead opting for a more flexible environment that allows for events and activities to respond to the seasons and events in Qatar.

If you had to highlight three standout features of the gardens, what would they be and why?

Permaculture Showcase

The Permaculture Showcase is the beginning of what will eventually become Doha’s first City Centre Food Forest.  This area is dedicated to showcasing permaculture (sustainable and self-sufficient agriculture) in action.

Repeat visitors will see this plot of land transform through permaculture principles to eventually become a food forest.

Edible Garden

The Edible Garden is where children and families are invited to be gardeners and tend to plants. Children prepare the soil, plant seeds, tend to crops, while engaging with permaculture practices like companion planting and composting.

Garden Atelier

The Garden Atelier is an indoor/outdoor kitchen space that supports workshops for adults, families and children. Visitors can select ingredients locally grown from the garden and use them to create their dishes.

The kitchen’s activities promote sustainable practices with a dedicated composting area to promote zero-waste initiatives. Visitors will enjoy the farm-to-table practices of collecting, cooking and enjoying freshly prepared meals.

What can we expect from the Dadu Gardens during the World Cup?

Look out for our activations during the World Cup! Activities will range from cooking, workshops, storytimes and scavenger hunts.

After a successful launch during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Dadu Gardens will reopen in Spring 2023.

Hissa Al Hitmi is an Editorial Coordinator at Qatar Museums.

Little girl skipping on stepping stones at the Dadu Gardens.

The Dadu Gardens is a canvas for children’s play, from drawing with chalk to skipping on stepping stones. 

Child playing with building blocks at the Dadu Gardens.

Children are invited to use their imagination to design and construct their own playground.

Child playing with a balance board.

Our green spaces host an ever changing programme of activations.

A little boy watering plants in a garden

Children are invited to get hands on to take care of the environment.

A picture of a mother and her two boys planting in a garden

Dadu gardens offer children all sorts of learning opportunities in a garden setting.

Little girl holding a spoonful of chocolate chips, next to her are various ingredients for baking

Food preparation activities support the development of life skills and equip children to play a role in family life.