At some point during the recently concluded Big Brother Naija TV show, one of the contestants, Bisola, spent a few minutes waxing lyrical about an amusement park she visited alongside her daughter on the outskirts of Lagos. Bisola was visibly impressed by what she saw and experienced. In the few minutes of unsolicited hype, Bisola spoke glowingly about Hi Impact Planet, a theme park at Ibafor (which is actually in Ogun State) on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
A visit to Hi Impact explains why the runner-up at the reality show was excited. In a country where zoos, parks and other family entertainment destinations are either non-existent or below international standards, Hi Impact Planet is a breath of fresh air.
A little over a year old (Hi Impact opened to the public in December 2015), the park couldn’t have opened at a better time. With high exchange rates reducing the attraction of overseas travel, HI Impact offers a viable alternative to family entertainment destinations in the Middle-East, Europe and the Americas, without the obvious attendant costs.
Constructed over an expanse that occupies an area of about 46 acres, facilities in the park include a clinic, banking services, food courts, and a multi-purpose hall of about 7000 capacity.
In consideration of the distance from town, and the fact that it would take more than one day to enjoy all the thrill rides that park has to offer (if that is your plan), there are apartments in different configurations (single, studio, two-room and three-room) which accommodates up to 200.
Of course, these wouldn’t mean much if the primary objective of exhilarating fun isn’t attainable. However, Hi Impact Planet delivers for the young and the young at heart. There is a wide range of thrilling outdoor rides and exciting indoor games suitable for children, teenagers and families to enjoy.
They include bumper cars, a haunted house, a vertical swing and spring ride and a Freestyler, which is a surfing simulator that tosses every gamer on make believe waves.
There’s the Hoopla, a type of flight experience for the brave and Go-Karts capable of speeds approaching 100km/hour, thus satisfying the thirst for speed many have.
There’s also a Ferris Wheel which can be seen from the Lagos Ibadan expressway. The 40-meter high ride has comfortable mini coaches that provide thrill seekers with a view of the park and its environs. For the more adventurous, there is the Spring Ride with its sharp ascent and free fall which give riders an exciting feel of being suspended in space.
Hi Impact Planet also boasts of the Rio Grande Train, a bestselling electric train with colorful western-themed cars which can accommodate both children and adults, Convoy cars on a 120m long track with power pick up and six themed vehicles for kids, a Boeing 777 simulated ride and animatronics, which help animate lifelike lions, elephants and other animals.
Facilities include a souvenir court, food court, a 5-D cartoon animation studio and a “12 D” cinema. They partly explain why fun seekers visited the park in their thousands during the last Easter break. The other reason why Hi Impact should continue providing (relatively) affordable entertainment is because of its experience in the entertainment sector generally, and children’s entertainment in particular.
As a subsidiary of Solutions Media, Hi Impact draws from the parent company’s expertise in organizing events like the Dance Afrique concert in demanding climes like Dubai on one hand, and hosting thousands of kids through its Hi Impact Creative Kids event at the Tafawa Balewa square in Lagos on the other.
According to Prince Adeyanju Lipede, Chairman/CEO of Solutions Media, the experience his staff has garnered both locally and internationally when it comes to delivering entertainment stands Hi Impact Planet in good stead.
Plans for the next set of holidays are in full gear with May throwing up opportunities like Workers Day, Children’s Day and Democracy Day. But Prince Lipede is looking further towards the summer holidays and December. New rides have been commissioned and are set to be delivered in the coming days. “There is no reason travelling out of Nigeria for your family to experience world class entertainment when you can get all that here for less than the ticket price,” he asserts.