A few of the more popular indoor entertainment centres on the island have been totally revamped this summer. So we’re having a look at where you should be taking your kids for some cooling play-time.
Theme parks, playgrounds, water parks and fair grounds are fun at any time of the year, but until the cooler days of winter, in Bahrain, the indoor play area is an air-conditioned paradise. And we’re not short of options on our little island, particularly as a few of our favourites have undergone some serious transformations. So parents, rev up the people carrier because the kids are about to let off some steam.
Dana Mall in Sanabis boasts some pretty cool entertainment options for all the family. Firstly, there’s Chakazoolu, the indoor theme park, that stretches across 4,500 square metres on two levels and is home to a range of rides such as a roller coaster, ghost train, bumper boats and cars, and a creepy crawly railroad. There are also loads of arcade-style games and a 7D cinema experience. This summer saw the mall also unveil some new attractions such as billiards, a bowling centre and a reasonably-priced buffet restaurant. Plus, more is in the pipeline.
Open Sat-Wed 9am-10pm; Thu-Fri 9am-midnight. Dana Mall, Sanabis (1755 8585).
Fun is certainly the operative word for kids aged one to 12 at Fun City in Oasis Centre but there’s plenty more to it than that. ‘Fun n Learn’ is an area that encourages physical and mental development for four-and-unders with a variety of activities, while the ‘PlayZone’ is a soft play area. There’s rides, a Hello Kitty Fun House, plenty of weird and wonderful games, and even opportunities for dress-up.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-11pm. Oasis Centre, Riffa (1721 0822) and Oasis Centre, Muharraq (1721 0559).
Those of us who have been around for many, many years will know this place very well as the Funland Centre on the corniche is an oldie but a goodie with a range of stuff for the young, and the young-at-heart. Have a go on the 18-lane ten-pin bowling alley where regular tournaments are also held, or else take a spin on Bahrain’s only ice rink. You can also arrange for your kids to have ice skating lessons here. More details of instructors and schedules are available on request at the centre.
Open daily 9am until late. Funland Centre, Al Fateh Corniche (1729 2313).
When we speak of stalwart amusement centres in Bahrain, none fits the bill better than Seef Mall’s Magic Island. And these days, you can find another (albeit smaller) branch in Isa Town Mall too. In Seef, the indoor play area has seen a total transformation this summer. Now spread across 4,500 square metres, the new Magic Island boasts six unique zones – namely – Marina Deck, Beach Sand, Rock Pool, Underwater, Caribbean Island and the Haunted House. New rides and attractions include ‘Skeleton Cove’, ‘Crazy Raft’, ‘Submarine Jet’ and ‘Side Winder’, among many others. Plus, a 3D simulator, an LED underwater themed bowling alley, bumper cars, a ‘light-up’ wall climbing adventure (for grown-ups we must add) and plenty of other arcade games to boot.
Open Sat-Wed 9.30am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Seef Mall, Seef District (1758 2894). Other location: Open Sat-Wed 9.30am-9pm; Thu-Fri 10am-10pm. Isa Town Mall, Isa Town (1700 3691).
Of course, the island’s biggest and arguably most popular shopping mall doesn’t intend to ignore the little ones. The vast newly revamped Magic Planet at Bahrain City Centre is home to some really great rides that are suitable for all ages, as well as a ten-pin bowling centre that stretches across 5,600 square metres, and a soft play area for the tinier tots. It also happens to be facing the largest indoor-outdoor water park in the region. Expect your entire day to disappear before you know it.
Open 10am-midnight. Bahrain City Centre, Seef District (1717 3113).
Ozone at Sitra Mall is one of the cooler options for all ages, mainly because it’s home to Bahrain’s only laser tag facility! It also has a state-of-the-art bowling alley, billiards, gaming consoles and Xbox, six foosball tables, and a VIP and party zone. There’s O Café as well that provides a range of snacks and drinks.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-midnight; Thu-Fri 10am-2am. Sitra Mall, Sitra (1774 9499).
The great thing about Play is that parents can drop their kids off (as long as they’re over four), know they’re in safe hands and enjoy a little leisure time themselves in Seef Mall. Better yet, as it’s a hands-on activity centre, Play aims not only to entertain your child but also to educate and nurture creativity. ‘Where play and learning connect,’ reads their mission statement. And they do this in a large facility that includes a tiny tots room for under-threes, an auditorium, art hub, various class rooms and even ‘The Town’, which is quite literally a mini town where children can role play at the supermarket, post office, fire station or even the doctor’s office. They can also sign up for ‘Super Silly Science’, glee club and cooking classes – to name a few. All we can say is that once you’ve settled in the sprogs, don’t expect to be rushing home.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-8pm; Thu-Fri 10am-10pm. Seef Mall, Seef District (1756 4900).
Three more to try
Bahrain Science Centre
This educational centre has a collection of 36 skeletons, a whole host of interactive exhibits and six galleries where youngsters can enjoy discovering at various areas focusing on topics such as the Earth and nature. Open Sat-Thu 8am-1pm and 4pm-7pm; Fri 3pm-9pm (closed Wed afternoon). Isa Town Road (1768 6466).
Based in one of Bahrain’s newer malls, Al Hayat in Zinj, Pirate Land is home to a galleon in a bright blue ball pool, a merry-go-round and some arcade games.
Sat-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Al Hayat, Zinj (1723 1282).
For the most part, it’s an outdoor theme park but there’s plenty of indoor fun to be had too including rides, shopping and a number of restaurants or cafes in the food court.
Open Sun-Thu 4pm-midnight (indoor and outdoor rides); Fri-Sat 10am-midnight (indoor rides and bowling alley), 4pm-midnight (outdoor rides). Adhari Park, Tubli (1740 7300).