By Jeddah for Kids
More like a resort than a theme park.
The Al Shallal grounds are an attraction on their own. Once through the doors, I stood before a man-made lake encircled by rides, restaurants and refreshing greenery. Peeling paint or mounds of rubbish were nowhere to be found.
The Asian-styled architecture and small arboretum added to the sensation that you were far away from the hustle and bustle of Jeddah. The waterfalls, the lake and miniature forest created a welcome scenery for this nature-loving city dweller.
We circumnavigated the park and found there was really something for everyone. Younger children and tame adults can try out classics like bumper cars, spinning teacups, swings and kiddie coasters. For the more adventurous guests, there are the Super Shot and Slingshot rides, propelling thrill-seekers high above the park with spectacular views of the Red Sea, if they can manage to open their eyes.
Along the route, there are also shops, 5-D theaters that run shows every 30 minutes, a very classy looking Lebanese restaurant hovering over the lake, and a Chinese restaurant with dining tables set amongst a lush grove of trees.
When it was time to eat, we visited the two-story, mall-like building that houses clothing stores, toy stores and a decent variety of restaurants. There is also a bowling alley and a skating rink for those of you who miss the winter. The mall isn’t the prettiest part, but after a couple hours in the heat, I was grateful to have an air-conditioned refuge.
The Al Shallal employees made the biggest impression on me. From a security guard summoning an English-speaker to explain we had arrived too early, to the operations manager responding with, “I will take care of you,” when we had problems using our gift certificates, to the planetarium employee who invited us to come see a free movie when we realized too late the schedule had been changed without our knowledge. It was obvious that Al Shallal has assembled a staff that actually cares about their guests. No business can be perfect, but when the staff members are sympathetic and helpful, all is forgiven.
At the end of the day, we left smiling and eager to visit again.
Friday, Saturday 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.
SR 55 Wrist bands for unlimited rides
Pay-as-you-go play cards are also available.
Buffet every Friday
Location: Corniche beside Chuck E Cheese