Younger visitors to Qatar Sustainability Expo (QSE) have found themselves spoilt for choice amidst a sea of attractions, workshops and displays arranged specifically for them. A designated Kids’ Zone for children of ages 7 through 12 is open every evening from 4 pm to 9 pm. Here the children learn science and conduct experiments is a fun-filled atmosphere from two passionate British scientists who have come to Doha specifically for the occasion.
“Our goal is to sneak science into fun,” says James Soper, one of the two scientists. His daily shows on “the science of water” have proved to be a huge hit with children and adults alike. “If we can show the kids a great time and get them to start thinking about how and why things work the way they do, we’ve done our job,” he says.
His colleague, Ian Alexander conducts workshops that, among other activities, teach children to build their own solar-powered robots largely from recycled materials in 30 minutes. “It’s amazing how one self-made project can change a child’s perception of solar power like no textbook or class can,” says Alexander.
Another favorite attraction of young visitors is an Augmented Reality display that allows them to see and interact with holographic images of the ‘Unseen animals of Qatar’ – the Arabian oryx, falcon and sand cat. “I held out my arm and the virtual falcon circled around and actually landed on my hand!” says 11-year old Ahmed excitedly. He was visiting QSE as part of a tour organized by his school.
“We would like to invite all schools and families in Qatar to bring their children to QSE,” says Nicole Laporte, Project Manager, IFP Qatar. “We’re more than happy to make special arrangements and arrange workshops for groups upon request.”
Two stunning cars on the exhibition floor also caught the attention of youngsters. One is a hybrid 4X4 designed and engineered by the Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD), while the other is a spectacular solar-powered sports car – the Tesla Roadster.
The Doha Dreamers have also arranged a musical performance featuring talented 3 to 8 year olds. The Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation project is also present at the expo, as is Taiwanese artist Vincent J.F. Huang who is using his art to highlight the plight of the Arctic polar bear, the Antarctic penguin and the South Pacific Tuvalu marine turtle.
Parents and teachers accompanying the kids will also have plenty to keep them occupied at QSE, including two daily performances by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm every evening. A food-court is also open on the premises.
Held at the Doha Exhibition Center, QSE has been organized under the patronage of His Excellency Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, president of the UN Climate Change Conference 2012. The expo is running parallel to the COP 18/CMP 8 conference from 26th November to 7th December 2012. Organized by International Fairs and Promotions (IFP Qatar) and overseen by the Ministry of Environment, the event is expected to attract thousands of visiting delegates as well as local visitors of all ages.
QSE is open from 11 am to 9 pm on all days. Official shuttle buses are available to delegates from their hotels to Qatar Sustainability Expo and the COP 18/CMP 8 conference.