Fun City Islamabad: Pakistan’s very own Disneyland?
Last week I had to go to Islamabad for an interview at the Turkish embassy. The tiring experience of getting into the infamous diplomatic enclave severely tested my patience. The long wait at the embassy was accompanied by somewhat unearthly people who dared to bring their cell phones inside. How they managed to pull this stunt is still a mystery to me, as I myself was checked at two points leading me to drop my iPad and cell phone at the counter.
As a cherry on the top, I was told to come back in the evening to collect the passports. Only I know how I refrained from snubbing the woman who very conveniently informed me about the second visit and called for the next candidate.
I had to pass the next five hours in the most unimpressive city of the country.
I went to my favourite Tuscany Courtyard for lunch. While grabbing something to eat, my husband and I discussed how to spend the next few hours. Having been up since 5am, both of us were too exhausted to make any social calls.
Suddenly the idea of visiting the new Fun City at the Centaurus Mall crossed my mind. I had heard a lot about it from acquaintances residing in Islamabad and based on the reviews, I had reluctantly raised my expectations. Nonetheless my mind was full of questions. For starters, how can adults enjoy kids rides and above all, will those rides even be safe?
I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised the minute I entered. The staff members courteously greeted me and I was issued an electronic voucher upon paying Rs500, which included the entry fee and credit to enjoy the games and ride.
I popped up my card and began to explore the place. Visually the place was truly international – the interior, the games, the rides and the division of each section gave a very positive feel.
The place had all the electronic and mechanical games that Pakistan has never seen before. They had motion responsive gaming, Laser Maze, simulators and redemption gaming. After observing the entire place, my husband and I divided our areas of interest. After that there was no looking back! I played motion responsive games and played Laser maze… thrice.
The idea of navigating a maze in a pitch black room without breaking any beam is exceptionally exciting. What made the experience even more fun were the music and lighting effects. Next came the indoor drop and twist, and king hammer followed by bumper cars.
After gaming continuously for two and a half hours I was famished and, to my surprise, Fun City had its own restaurant called Mrs Mayors serving a variety of food. After finishing my meal, I realised this place had done the impossible – it had rejuvenated me.
I happily rushed to the embassy.
When I came back to Lahore, I informed all my friends and family about this truly state-of-the-art family recreational theme park.
If I say Fun City is one of Pakistan’s best indoor themed parks then I would be wrong because this place has no competition. We have no indoor theme parks. This is the first of its kind.
Fun City is Pakistan’s version of Disneyland.
I remember, whilst taking a tour of the amusement park, I met the manager who informed me that the upcoming attractions included an ice skating rink, augmented reality and scenario simulators, and a bowling alley; I was highly impressed.
In a country where suicide bombs and terrorist activities have become a norm, such entertainment was not only unusual but long overdue.
Usually in Pakistan, when kids go to local amusement places, mothers have nothing to do. At Fun City, however, mothers and even grandparents can have fun with their kids. In case the guardians do not wish to join in on the fun, they have the option of dropping their children in the safe hands of the staffers for hours, while they shop in the mall. They can even hang-out in the restaurant. The concept of play-dates can easily be practiced at Fun City.
I also discovered that Fun City offers a customised birthday experience as well. On selected days and timings, they offer exclusive packages that allow people to book the entire premises for birthday celebrations.
Other than this, children can attend yoga, gymnastics, Taekwondo and additional fun-based activities. The session is conducted by Mr Jalal Hyder Khan, fitness expert and child development specialist.
The only downside of Fun City is its’ slightly expensive coupons. The place is not for the masses. Only people belonging to a particular income group can enjoy these rides, an idea that I do not approve of. But then I myself came up with the justification that, a facility which offers high-end rides and services requires high maintenance.
The technical staff members who examine the rides on a regular basis are trained internationally. I personally would not mind paying a few extra rupees for the safety of myself or my children!
I would recommend everyone visit Fun City with their families at least once. Especially, if you are living in Islamabad then a visit to this amusement land is beyond compulsory!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.