A Visit to Oli Oli: What to expect at Dubai’s first play museum?

May 7th, 2018

Not your ordinary jump-slide-swing soft play area, OLI OLI DUBAI is a creatively enriching space for children and adults alike to wonder, explore, discover, create and play all along...

Learning through play, exercising your imagination and expressing oneself creatively is something we all long for today as the days get busier and mind’s concentration and sense of wonder drops. Make a visit to Oli Oli Dubai – Dubai’s new play museum, it’s not just for kids as adults themselves will be engaged and enlightened by over 40 activities set up in 8 interactive play zones.

This colourful and vibrant play space set up in a spacious Al Quoz warehouse just behind the Oasis Center is rightly referred to as a ‘play museum’ by its owners. No harsh neon lights, no loud rides or arcade games, in fact this play museum is surprisingly quiet, allowing for sensory play and exercising critical thinking and problem solving.

With floor to ceiling windows, the space, spread over two floors, has ample sunlight flowing in and just how huge are each of the play zones! The eight play zones namely – Air, Water, Toshi’s Net, Creative Lab, Future Park, Cars and Ramps, Forts and dens and Toddler Corner are based on the basic principles of buoyancy, mechanics, floating, power of air, sensory play, visual play, building your own Lego cars and then putting all this into practice making way for experiential play.

At the reception while you buy entry tickets, your children will be kept entertained by a kiosk with a camera that records short videos and displays it on the huge wall adjacent to it in a big collage. Let them make faces, be their own goofy selves and watch their amazement to see their antics on screen! For sure it will bring a smile to your face too!

We loved the children’s art displayed on the side of the staircase and the dreamy umbrella decorations under the stairway putting it to a beautiful use.

Air

This one offers exploration of air and is decorated with little details related to air, think butterflies, birdhouses nestled in a corner. The first to catch attention is the huge maze of transparent pipes on the wall, where kids can pop in a napkin and see it hurl across the maze of pipes and rush to catch it while it makes its way out of the maze. Children are eager to figure out where it will pop out from and be ready to catch the napkin as it flutters down the maze.

The next is a Hurricane Booth, which has extreme air pressure that you can test yourself to withstand with your child inside. Particularly if children are small, it makes sense to enter together as the air pressure can be overwhelming for little ones in the first go. This one gives a mini sensation of being outside an airplane just before your sky dive experience.

Other activities teach balancing a ball above a high speed air pump.

Toshi’s NET

You won’t be able to keep yourself from getting into this vibrant and colourful cornucopia of woven nets hand-woven by Toshiko Horiuchi Macadam - a Japanese textile artist over the span of a year that can hold 29 baby elephants. There are less than 10 of these in the whole world and this is the only Toshi’s Net in the Middle East. Just a few of the perks of being a Dubai resident!

Children can get into the colourful net through the various holes and exercise their never-ending energy by jumping, playing peek-a-boo, climbing, sliding through and swinging on the huge balls hanging on the outer corners and be like a monkey again. Don’t forget to carry your socks to enter!

Water

Save this one for the last, as although children are provided with cute yellow rain coats, they are sure to get very wet while they are in since water play is the most loved play for children of all ages! Children can fire a ball through a canon into an air maze that leads the ball into water pipes, and they have a beautiful green vintage car parked right in there for little ones to wash and make it squeaky clean! Plus, there is a mini rainfall experience to splash in and get all soaked up. This is just what kids in the UAE longed for, an on-demand rainfall and thank God you sensed it Team Oli Oli!

Creative Lab

Expect children to immediately move in to build their own car tracks to play with here! Older children along with adults can build their own structures with wooden sticks, allowing for their imagination to take shape while exercising critical thinking and problem solving. The best part is that the structures they create will be kept for display there for an entire day!

Future Park

Taking a look at the future where almost everything is predicted to be digitalized, this darkened zone aptly named Future Park lets children express themselves and integrate their creations through technology. Children can colour in their choice of marine animals, and even vehicles, before uploading it on a touch-based digital screen to see it come alive in 3D and dive with other marine animals in the ocean or their own car being dropped down by space ship in a city with a busy road.

On the other corner in this play zone, is a mesmerizing section of giant glow-in-the-dark balls soft enough to let the kids roll on them and engage their visual senses.

Cars and Ramps

This one can be seen thronged by Lego lovers of all shapes, sizes and ages alike, busy building their own Lego cars to try at one of their ramps.

Best suited for parents to discover with 5 year olds or above and together make their own car that can stand the test of high ramps and speed.

Forts and Dens

Don’t children always end up under the dining surrounded by cushions and sheets used as a tent to create their own mini hideout? Well, this zone lets them build a little corner of their own. Watch them exercising their gross motor skills along with some thinking to create their own fort, or a den with the help of fabric, clips and elastics.

Toddler Gallery

Meant for babies and toddlers this safe space is cute and has a tiny igloo to crawl into; wooden toys, simple puzzles, faux flowers to plants that encourage sensory play and even a ramp for tiny tots to climb and slide on with a small tunnel underneath. The cuckoo clock wall on the side is just too cute to miss!

After the kids are done with their exploration, tending to hungry tummies is easy! Just head to the in-house café serving healthy treats. Oli Oli also has party halls for celebrating your little ones’ special days.

Oli Oli Dubai is your go-to space to allow for innate exploration and flow of creativity in children and it will be your perfect hideout for learning through play in the harsh and long Dubai summers!

Timings: 9 AM until 7 PM on weekdays, and until 9 PM on weekends.

Price: AED 120 for two hours for children. AED 40 for adults per hour.

By: Richa Vij

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