Khalifa Park is a 2007-opened public park in Abu Dhabi with an array of gardens and fountains. That's what you'll read about it on the web, if you happen to come across it at all.
"Museum and aquarium at the other end of the park, sir" says the employee at the entrance of the totally empty venue. Entering the park. Silence. The sounds of purling fountains far away. A long walk through the heat. Then, a windowless building with a glass door and the notice 'The museum to receive visitors'.
The museum attendant looks a bit surprised that someone is actually dropping by and guides me to a single room with a few books and a conspicuous lack of exhibits.
'That's it?', I ask. The attendant sighs, shakes his head and points to the stairs leading around the corner.
And there it is. Unoperated, forgotten and asleep. 'Time Tunnel', an educational, historical dark ride charting how the discovery of oil changed the faith of the Arabian Peninsula, complete with chic suspended ride vehicles, timed audio narrative, atmospheric Middle Eastern settings and a real aquarium. I must have looked funny during my first ride, since I had a hard time believing what I just experienced: a respectable dark ride in the forgotten corner of a forgotten building in the middle of nowhere. The attraction doesn't appear in the tourist guides and no one I know in Abu Dhabi had heard about it.
While it's not incredible, it's exceptional for being so new and so little advertised. And the ticket price is unbeatable: just over one US dollar.
Khalifa Park 'Museum'
Note on the door
The empty museum
And what's behind this?
The 'Time Tunnel' ride!
Choose a vehicle with dubbing in English or Arabic...
...and here is your educational dark ride...
...through Middle Eastern history...
...from Bedouin times...
Meandering through scenes
That's Khalifa Park's 'Time Tunnel'
Navigation from above
Discovery of oil in the early 1960's...
...changed the fate of the Arabian Peninsula
Local employee Khaldon with colleague. Thanks for your help, Khaldon!