Head to the sand at JBR and you’ll be greeted by a giant inflatable monolith of fun. Benita Adesuyan dives in.
Somewhere between divebombing into the water and bouncing on a trampoline on the sea you find yourself wondering if you’re having way more fun than the group of kids waiting for you to move on to the next obstacle. We’re talking about the Arabian Water Park, a 50m inflatable playground that’s currently making waves in JBR. Made up of trampolines, slides and climbing walls, it’s a floating park of fun.
Located 100m away from the beach, visitors have to swim out to reach this bouncy giant, but once there you can jump into the sea from a variety of trampolines, scale a climbing wall, launch your friends into the water with giant flippers and swing from one obstacle to another. It also happens to be the biggest water park of its kind in the world, with a capacity to hold 130 people.
The park popped up in April for the Easter holidays and is going to be a fixed feature on the beach, Angela Cid, Arabian Water Parks’ business development manager, says the spectacle has already attracted a raft of fun-seekers eager to try it out. ‘It has been extremely popular, overwhelming in fact,’ she says. ‘Forty per cent of our bookings are from adults and we are becoming very busy with group bookings and birthday celebrations especially.’
She explains that as demand for party provisions has grown so much the company is now producing food packages on request. ‘We also arrange the cake – you don’t want to carry a cake to the beach!’
On the morning we visit, the beach is calm and the park pretty quiet, but there are already a number of bookings for the late afternoon slots. Families making an advance booking look eager as they eye up the green and yellow bouncy obstacle course. The bright Crayola colours lure kids in like moths to a Technicolour flame, but adults also quickly regress several years the minute they’re whooshing down the slides while taking the summer’s coolest selfies. ‘I see people really going for it,’ says Angela. ‘I take my two boys, so I go as a mum, and the boys go mad for it. I’m clumsy so I spend my time in the water, but you see people jumping off and doing flips on the bouncers – I couldn’t do it myself though – I’m not that brave.’
Arabian Water Parks says the Wibit inflatables are a great addition to the leisure scene in the city. ‘What it has over some other water parks is that it is pretty affordable for everyone,’ Angela adds. ‘In other countries they have the park for a few months during summer but here we have the advantage of nice weather all year.’
With the park regularly enjoying more than 500 bookings on average every weekend, Arabian Water Parks has plans to continue well beyond the summer. ‘We are going to introduce some sports competitions once the schools are back in September, we can do tournaments with them and encourage them. It’s very sporty even though it’s recreational and fun. There’s a lot of climbing and strength used to go from one side to the other.’ For those put off by the idea of the weekend surge, Angela reveals there are more parks just like this one planned around the UAE. Until then, we’ll see you on the water.
Dhs50 per child, Dhs60 per adult, Dhs195 for a day pass. Daily 8am-noon, 3pm-7pm. Arabian Water Park at The Beach, JBR www.arabianwaterparks.com. (04 388 3223).
More wet days out
For more aquatic adventures check out these cool water parks in Dubai
Ride the 30 wet attractions at the themed water park. Guests staying in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab get free entry, and there’s also a women-only night on Thursdays from 8pm. Located in front of the Burj Al Arab you’ll get great views of the tower as you ride the rapids.
www.jumeirah.com (04 348 4444).
Aquaventure Waterpark, Atlantis
If you’re feeling brave, ride the Leap of Faith or the Tower of Neptune. This near vertical nine-storey drop-slide sends you speeding through a clear acrylic tube surrounded by sharks and rays.
www.atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 2000).