IMG World of Adventure, the world's largest indoor themed entertainment destination will open its gates to the public on August 31 in Dubai.
The world's largest theme park will open its gates to visitors from around the world on August 31 in United Arab Emirates (UAE) to lure back some of the tourists and residents who often flee abroad during the scorching desert summer.
In a sandy suburb beyond Dubai's concrete jungle and pockets of artificially green spaces, IMG Worlds of Adventure's boxy exterior belies a 140,000-square metre air-conditioned cathedral of entertainment teeming with animatronic dinosaurs, rollercoasters, Marvel superheroes and Cartoon Network characters.
Zombies pop out from dark corners of a haunted house and the Velociraptor coaster throttles passengers within a misty simulated rain forest dubbed the Lost Valley.
As it stands now, stir-crazy families in Dubai - a tourism and financial hub which already boasts the world's tallest building - have few places to stretch their legs beyond expensive malls while temperatures outside can approach 50 degrees Celsius.
Even an indoor ski slope, complete with real-life penguins, has not been enough to stanch the exodus that leaves roads and public spaces eerily quiet through the hot months.
Guests of the park will have an opportunity to enjoy 100 rides and attractions including live shows, 3D motion simulators, drop towers and water-based rides.
The park which is expected to take in around 4.5 million visitors in its first year was designed to accommodate 30,000 guests per day.
"There will be rides that are bigger, better, faster, broader than any rides in the world," said John Odum, senior vice president of international park operations at Six Flags Entertainment Corp, the park's operator.
"Dubai still suffers from a certain amount of seasonality during the June, July, August period," Lennard Otto, CEO of the new $1 billion attraction said.
"We will hopefully drive tourism in those periods to make Dubai an all-year-round destination.
"Today there's a gap in this market and in the region. People are actually travelling to the far east and the far west to experience theme parks," Otto added.
Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have launched initiatives this year to create more fun for their car and smartphone-obsessed people.
As part of a plan to diversify its economy away from oil, Saudi Arabia announced in June that it was in talks with Six Flags Entertainment Corp to build theme parks, and the UAE created a Happiness Ministry in February to look at ways of measuring and improving quality of life.
Happiness in Dubai may soon be in no short supply, as a government-backed rival by Dubai Parks and Resorts will open by year's end, while a Fox-branded theme park, with attractions based on TV and film titles such as Ice Age and The Simpsons, is set to open in 2020.