A few years ago, the Hudayriyat bridge in Abu Dhabi famously lead to nothing but a big pile of sand. Now this island has grown into a fitness and adventure haven for lovers of the great outdoors, with activities for the whole family.
It all started back in 2018, when 15km of cycling and running track was added to the island. A Yas Cycles bike shop and food trucks quickly followed, but the big changes were saved for 2020. The island is now home to a variety of fitness and sports activities available seven days a week, including outdoor adrenaline-filled challenges, sports fields, jogging tracks, and a range of indoor fitness facilities. There’s a full-size football pitch, tennis, basketball and badminton courts, plus new food and beverage outlets. On top of that, the original bike tracks have been extended, adding an additional 10km of routes around the island.
Here are the highlights:
Circuit X is Abu Dhabi’s new outdoor adventure playground with activities for kids and adults. Their High Ropes course has 31 obstacles spread over three levels, elevated up to 10 metres. When you have finished clambering around the course, you can choose your descent from a 100m long zip line or an 11m free fall (a fool-proof way of facing your fears).
There’s also a 50ft climbing wall with three lanes while a BMX Track located next to the ropes offers two types of rides. There is the inner track , which is an asphalt course based on pump action, with several areas for skills and jumps. The outer course is a dirt track made out of natural materials with several ramps and sharp turns around the park.
Circuit X’s Skate Park is located in the Marsana area of the island, close to the beach, and has a mix of different terrains and challenges for all skill levels. Bring your own skateboard or scooter or rent one at the park. There are trained coaches to help beginners build their confidence or to teach experienced riders new skills.
Meanwhile, the Splash Park offers a variety of water activities, pools and climbing structures plus vertical mazes at a wooden edifice called Pirates Playground. Kids aged one to 12 can play under supervision. The water is temperature-controlled all year round.
Looking for something to get your adrenaline going? Check out the OCR Park, the UAE’s biggest permanent obstacle course with eight different obstacles and eight fitness stations. There is a children’s track with six smaller challenges, plus dedicated classes and boot camps with qualified instructors on hand. The course is fully accessible and caters to people of determination.
Meanwhile, 321 Sports offers outdoor fields, jogging tracks and a range of indoor fitness facilities. If kicking a ball around is your thing, there’s a full-size football pitch, tennis and badminton courts for some racquet action, plus basketball courts. You can also access the athletics tracks, a yoga studio, indoor and outdoor fitness zone, a children’s nursery and a café.
The dedicated Bike Park also offers the chance to enjoy cycling on three different trails designed for beginners, intermediate and advanced cyclists. If you fancy more of a leisurely cycle, run or walk, you can pass through the new 300m Floating Track, as well as use the wide and shaded footpaths.
Once you’ve worked up a sweat, refuel at one of the new restaurants and cafes in the Marsana area of the island, which include Projeto Acai and DRVN Coffee.
Asha Sherwood owns Abu Dhabi Review, an online and social platform that gives you the scoop on everything happening in the capital.