Unleaded fun

Hard to resist deals such as kids go free at the Ferrari World on Yas Island is the big news at Summer in Abu Dhabi (SAD) this year.


Silvia Radan

Published: Sat 18 Jun 2011, 10:48 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:02 AM

A host of deals, including discounts and packages at hotels and attractions across Yas Island, Abu Dhabi’s purpose-built entertainment destination, but also across the capital, have been incorporated into the annual festival by the organiser, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), making sure that any resident and visitor here will look forward to some summer fun.

“It is actually the second year we are doing these deals and discounts, but this time around we enhanced the offers a lot more,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, events manager at ADTA.

Usually a month-long event for the family, SAD has been expanded, and it already started on June 15 with promotions across the capital’s top sights, which will go on till the end on July 30. The actual happenings of the festival will begin on July 1 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

“The deals range from buy-two-get-one free packages for golf tee-times and city tours, to discounted prices and two-for-one offers at carting tracks, zoos and activity clubs,” said Al Sheikh.

Deals will run throughout 12 mainline attractions, which include Big Bus Tours, Caracal Shooting Club, Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort, Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Al Ain Raceway, speedy Yellow Boats, Falcon Aviation’s helicopter tours, Al Ain’s refurbished Hili Fun City, the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.

At the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, for example, considered the world’s biggest indoor theme park and home to ‘Formula Rossa’, the world’s fastest roller coaster, entry will be free for children under 1.5 metres in height sporting an ADNEC pass.

“As for activities, we have 96 of them, including five big shows,” said Al Sheikh.

Throughout SAD, three halls in ADNEC will host various shows, rides and acts. There will be a new ‘Adventure World’ and ‘Smurf World’, a village filled with fun activities dedicated to the little blue TV characters. For kids that want to show off their ambitions, there is ‘Career World’, where they can dress up and land any one of 12 dream jobs.

“Career World is part of our edutainment attractions, an educational entertainment where kids will learn how to be a doctor, a fireman, a teacher and so on,” he pointed out.

In the main theatre hall, 13 Cartoon Network characters appearing in ‘Cartoonival’ – the children’s TV network’s debut live-action spectacle - will perform daily, while ‘Show World’, a specially constructed 120-capacity theatre, will feature twice-daily shows by international favourites such as Sponge Bob Square Pants, Dora the Explorer, as well as Marvel’s Thor, Spiderman, Captain America and Green Goblin.

“We have packed the programme this year to live up to the expectations of over 90 per cent of last year’s visitors who said they would return and more than two-thirds who said they would recommend it to others in a post event survey,” claimed Al Sheikh.

GCC families are primary targets for the festival, with the ADTA hoping to attract between 65,000 and 70,000 visitors from other Gulf countries through an array of discounts and offers at the emirate’s attractions and hotels.

In fact, an ADTA delegation earlier this month visited Muscat, Doha, Kuwait, Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh, trying to attract visitors to SAD through Press conferences, travel trade and promotional evenings.

“There will be something to do for everybody, as we have activities for three years olds and above,” said Al Sheikh.

“That is why this fourth year running, we call the festival ‘Do More, See More’, because there is a lot more to do and see for everybody, and not just in Abu Dhabi, but in Al Ain as well.”

Al Sheikh himself is looking forward to some sport action fun at SAD this July. “I’m a big football fan, so personally I can’t wait to kick the ball in our indoor mini stadium,” he admitted.

“It is a 15 by 20 metres football pitch. It’s great fun not just for the love of game, but to interact with other visitors as well.”

For even a bigger laugh, there will be the bumper ball, which is also a game of football, but the daring players will have big balls attached all over their bodies.

ADNEC entry rates for SAD are Dh20 for children aged up to 12 years old — toddlers up to two years old go free — and Dh40 for adults.


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