Hi-Impact Planet… ‘Disneyland’ next door

Children having fun at the Hi-Impact Planet amusement park, Lagos.

Children having fun at the Hi-Impact Planet amusement park, Lagos.

In the past, long vacation was usually the time for school children to take a break from regular academic works and have fun, preferably go on holiday. But today, attempt by most proprietors of private schools to earn extra pay from parents during holidays has brought about ‘summer class’ era, thereby denying the kids opportunity to engage in leisure and recreational activities. And the fact that most of these schools lack proper playground for students worsens the situation.

The importance of play and recreation in the life of every child has long been acknowledged by the international community, as evidenced by the proclamation in the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child which states that: “The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation,” adding that, “society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right (art. 7).”

This proclamation was further strengthened in the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, which explicitly states in article 31 that, “States Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.”

When it comes to children’s overall development, leisure time activities are just as important as traditional education. Reason being that children learn through play, especially when they are very young, and are still developing crucial cognitive and motor skills, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Whether a structured activity such as team sports or unstructured free play in the backyard, it’s important to ensure that children have plenty of opportunities to engage in leisure activities on a regular basis, at least during long vacation.

If you are buoyant enough to take your children on holiday to popular tourist destinations abroad, why not? But if you are among Nigerians grappling with the harsh economy, you may need to look inwards. That you, you will be helping to boost domestic tourism.

In reality, everyone is fascinated by amusement parks, no matter the age. A lot of people visit amusement park to have fun and spend time with family and friends because the centres provide attractions more elaborate than simple city park or playground. These centres are usually equipped with amusement equipment specifically designed to match their chosen theme. An example of such destinations in Lagos is the Hi-Impact Planet (HIP), an amusement park comparable to the likes of Europa-Park and Disneyland.

Opened to the public for the first time on December 18, 2015, Hi-Impact Planet is situated on about 185,000-square meter. The amusement park, which is strategically located 10minutes from the Lagos Tollgate, is home to thrilling outdoor rides and exciting indoor games, which are well positioned for children and the whole family to have a fun-filled experience. It boasts of state-of-the-art facilities such as multi-purpose halls, clinic, luxurious apartments, food courts, souvenir shop, uninterrupted power supply and adequate security to ensure smooth operations of the entire facility and safety of all.

Visitors to the park are usually welcomed by the African-themed animatronics, especially the roaring life-sized lions and Zulu warriors that remind visitors of the great Zulu kingdom of South Africa. Also at the animatronics zone is a water spraying elephant, colorful and elegant water fountains with a gigantic gorilla.

The park is equipped with exclusive array of games ranging from the Enterprise, to the Freestyler, Hoopla and the 40 meter- high FerrisWheel. There’s also the Mexican Fiesta and Spring Rides poised to thrill the fearless and most adventurous of hearts.

The Convoy and Water Mania are well suited for kids of all ages, as well as the Boeing 777, which takes riders on a trip to ‘China’ and other exotic places in the world. The Ice Rink, which accommodates up to 90 skaters at once, re-enacts the skating experience at the park. However, the Free Styler, a surfing simulated game, is not for lily-livered children; it’s a game for the brave at heart.

If you plan to stay overnight, there are well-furnished luxurious self-serviced apartments where guests can spend a weekend or come on holidays if they desire. There are also the multi-purpose halls, which could be used for social activities and events and food courts that carter to customers with diverse culinary delights.

On the choice of location for the park, which has become a must visit for children during holidays, the Managing Director Prince Adeyeloye Lipede explained that theme parks and amusement parks worldwide are located at the outskirts of town.

“For one, the land mass required to build an amusement park of this size is most likely to be located in the outskirts of town like this. Again, you need to feel that experience of journeying in anticipation of the fun and excitement at park; that’s part of the adventure and thrill of the Hi-Impact Planet,” he said.

A visit to the park shows that it runs on a different power source from the national grid, which ensures constant power supply for the games.

“We cannot afford to run on national grid or ‘PHCN’ as we know it; this is due to the sensitivity of the games and the need to assure the customers that the games are safe. Just imagine if a ride is air borne and there is power failure? It is to this end that we ensure that there is uninterrupted power supply powering each of our games with diesel-run generators. This ensures effective and safe operations and delivery of service while reassuring the customers of their safety and well-being,” Lipedi said.

On safety of the riders, the GM informed that the experts were brought in to install and train staff engineers on routine management of the game.

“On our part, we’ve taken some measures to regularly maintain and service these games on a daily, weekly and bi-monthly basis; our engineers see to the manning and maintenance of these games. Besides, our partners in Europe and the USA come in regularly to check that the games are in good working order and we also have 24-hour security in place to ensure the safety of all our guests,” he assured.

Though opened for individuals and families, Hi-Impact Planet also plays host to school excursions, corporate retreats.

“This holiday, we will be hosting a summer camp for children aged nine to eighteen, where there will be a focus on theme bonding activities in an atmosphere of fun and excitement,” the MD hinted.

Lola Akande, a guest, who visited the park with her children, “this is a dream come true; this place is different and unique. I usually travel with my kids every year but this time around, with the economic depreciation, we decided not to travel this year. Someone told me about this place, so, I brought them here and I’m so happy I get to spend less and have a wonderful time.”

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