(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Aqua Park Qatar, the first water-themed park in the country, witnessed hundreds of people mostly youngsters throng the resort wishing to take a splash during its soft launching yesterday.
Even before the scheduled opening at 2pm, families started lining up the entrance to the 22,000 sq m water park, whose total area including the parking space is 52,000 sq m.
According to Ijaz Malik, General Manager of Hala Group, owner of the Aqua Park, what they have just opened for the public was only the first phase of the multi-million project set to boost local tourism in Qatar.
The project is all set for further expansion with plans to bring in new facilities every year to add to the enjoyment of visitors, said Malik.
Definitely this will be another must-visit tourist destination here in Qatar, said Mohammed Khoursheed, Managing Director for Operation, Al Jazeera Entertainment Enterprises Company. The Kuwait-based company which has been specialising in aqua park operations for 15 years now is managing the water park.
The aqua park offers a variety of areas for every member of the family to enjoy.
Catered mainly for children ages 4 to 14, the pirate-themed Childrens Activity Pool has been a major hit among adults as well, not only due to its five slides but also the giant dumping bucket which automatically pours 2,000 gallons of water every two minutes much to the childrens delight.
Another exciting feature is the Wave Pool which produces artificial waves in six different patterns and intensity.
People may also choose to swim in the Lagoon which features a juice bar and cafeteria with both dry and wet seating, a Jacuzzi and a giant pipe which releases very cold water giving swimmers a jolt of fun. A 200m-long Lazy River meanders around the park where excursionists may lazily ride on their inflatable swimming floats.
But topping all the rides is the Slides Tower comprising three levels " 14m, 16m and 20m with multi-lane slides, the most thrilling of which is the 20m-high slide called boomerango.
This is not just an ordinary aqua park but a theme park inspired by different cultures including Arabian and African, said Malik.
The cultural aspect of the water park is evident in its Exotic Village nestled in the middle of the park featuring Kings Hut and Queens Hut with dozens of wooden parasols built all over the area. It is linked to other parts of the park by means of wooden bridges.
Restaurants and food kiosks and a store which sells swimming paraphernalia such as goggles, beach balls, swimwear and other swimming gear are also available in the park.
With 42 lifeguards, a Qatar Red Crescent ambulance and a team regularly checking water treatment, the management of the park makes safety and security a priority according to Khoursheed.
H E Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim thought of a project that would provide healthy entertainment for people in Qatar so the idea was conceived and finally realised, according to Malik.
He wanted to bring life to this area with more projects afoot including a five-star hotel and a shopping mall, he said.
The world class hotel set to be completed in 2012 and the 200,000 sqm shopping mall are all located next to the water resort.
The mall will offer top-of-the-line brands including hypermarket, shops and restaurants.
Apart from the wide variety of slides and swimming pools, people enjoyed the two shows presented by entertainers from China, Ukraine, Russia and Kenya. Children also took part in games which rewarded them with gifts. Mascots including a penguin, robot, chicken and elephant also added colour to yesterdays launching event.
Entrance fee is QR100, QR60 for people with special needs and QR40 for nannies. Children aged three years and below are free. As a promotion, a family with six members will have to pay only QR400. Aqua Park Qatar is open from 2pm until 10pm.
With a capacity of over 3,000 visitors, the park is located in Abu Nakhla area, after the Industrial Area flyover, approximately 15km on the Salwa Road to the west.
By Raynald C Rivera