x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

1985: It's not all business, as Al Ain fun park opens

40 years of the UAE: Since opening on 85 hectares in Al Ain in 1985, Hili Fun City has attracted thousands of visitors from across the country and the region.

Since opening on 85 hectares in Al Ain in 1985, Hili Fun City has attracted thousands of visitors from across the country and the region.

The park, which still maintains 18 of its original attractions, expanded through the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1987, Hili Fun City opened its Olympic-sized ice-skating rink, and by the mid-1990s the park offered more than 30 rides for children and young adults.

But the ageing park was badly in need of repairs by the mid-2000s and the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) took over the redevelopment of the property in 2009.

A new park was unveiled that year. The venue now has 28 attractions, including a 1,400-seat amphitheatre, two restaurants and a 3D cinema.

More than 250 palm trees and 30,000 plants were added to the theme park, and more than 200 park benches made of recycled plastic have been installed since April last year.

After the renovations, visitor numbers skyrocketed to 305,000 last year.

Another phase of development is expected in coming years and will include the introduction of new attractions.

The ice-skating rink will also be fully refurbished.

* Jen Thomas