There are some great perks to working for Time Out Kids. Take the other day... When everyone else was knuckling down at their desks, we went to ‘test’ Playnation. Purely for research purposes, we hauled ourselves up walls, swung Tarzan-style from ropes in the sky, flung ourselves down a wind tunnel and blasted the bejaysus out of a fair number of footballs.
We had an absolute blast. If a couple of women in their 30s can have this much fun, imagine what the kids will make of it. In fact, imagine what dads would think! So, to celebrate Father’s Day, we thought it would be a grand idea to team up with the Mirdif City Centre activity zone to offer five father and son or father and daughter combo tickets to sample the best of what Playnation has to offer.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s our editor getting her jowels blasted into oblivion in a wind tunnel. Hilarious fun, this requires a surprising amount of skill, and you’ll be thankful for the 15-minute safety briefing and essential tips from the instructor on ‘dry’ land before you don your suit, goggles, helmet and earplugs. Alas, the look is more Teletubbies than Top Gun but appearances will be the last thing on your mind as you find yourself flying on a cushion or air created by wind generators blowing out 200-mile-an-hour gusts (watch out for the ‘upward drool’). The instructor is on hand to make sure you don’t inadvertently attempt any stunts, and will make sure you get a couple of good photos before whizzing you up to the top of the tube to complete the dreamlike experience.
Ages 5+, Dhs195.
Suspended around 15 metres above Magic Planet, you’ll need your daredevil head on for the Sky Trail as you zip, clamber and swing your way around the obstacle course. Don’t worry, you’re perfectly safe, trussed up like a turkey in a secure harness, as you scramble around the course. Swinging platforms, rope bridges, suspended climbing walls and, our personal nemesis, the scream-inducing ‘balloons on a stick’ challenge (think scrambling around two large beach balls while suspended on a metal platform) will test all your physical skills and a few mental obstacles to boot. If you have any energy left, have a go on the climbing wall. Nerve-wracking at first, it’s surprisingly good exercise, and abseiling back down is a hoot.
Ages 7+, Dhs100 for both.
If you’re thinking elephants in football strips and controversial referees fired out of canons, then you’re way offside. This brainchild of England soccer legend Kevin Keegan is all about the beautiful game, but in a high-tech, interactive sort of way. A cross between a soccer academy and a computer game, you’ll play individually or in teams against the computer, trying your hand (or should that be foot?) at a host of dribbling, passing, shooting and ball control tests. It’s all very swish, and utterly exhausting, and the whole session culminates in an incredibly therapeutic game of Power Play, where you’ll blast balls against a lineup of multi-coloured defenders to the roar of the computer-generated crowd. Oh, and there are three five-a-side soccer pitches to rent should you and a few pals fancy a kickabout.
Ages 5+, Dhs70, Dhs400/hour pitch rental.