Launch - Child's Play - April 2018


FROM LEFT: Timbalaya's Nick Farmer, TEC's Ghazi Alhajeri, Timbalaya's Sylvia Matiko, TEC's Abdul Wahab Al-Marzouq. (Credit: Timbalaya)

Timbalaya Gives Kuwait a New Place to Play

By Juliana Gilling

Timbalaya has always felt more than a brand since it launched at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015. The themed intellectual property (IP) and outdoor natural-play attraction is an entire magical world rooted in stories and watched over by “Guardians” with years of attractions experience: Nick Farmer, director of Farmer Attraction Development; Simon Egan of We Are CapCo; and Rosalind Johnson and Sylvia Matiko, founders of A Different View. Timbalaya is a “world with soul,” says Johnson. 

Now fantasy is to become a reality as Kuwait will open the first Timbalaya facility. The United Kingdom team has signed a franchise deal with Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC) in Kuwait. Work to build the midsize attraction should begin in 2019, with the £4 million project scheduled to open in early 2020. 

The site chosen is Sabahiya Park, an existing park of 100,000 square meters. Located 30 km south of Kuwait City and 80 km from the Kuwait/Saudi border, the park attracts Kuwaiti residents and regional tourists. Once redeveloped, it is expected to receive around 500,000 guests annually. “Timbalaya gives us a completely new experience that we have not seen before in this region,” says TEC CEO Abdul Wahab Al-Marzouq.

Timbalaya, an immersive family adventure revolving around the village of Wishing and its inhabitants, will benefit from the established landscaping. “Sabahiya Park offers abundant natural vegetation and unexpected topography for us to weave our own story and play into, giving Timbalaya a sense of belonging in its new Middle Eastern home,” says Egan.

TIMBALAYA“Kuwait’s landscape, flora, and climate present exciting opportunities,” adds Farmer. “We will have the opportunity for beguiling and bewitching layouts consistent with the stories, while adding shading, screening, and surprising reveals.”

Farmer is drawing on content such as Timbalaya’s Water Day Parade: “Tricky rivers, misty lakes, and rain will enchant our visitors as they follow the Timbalayan Wishkeepers’ adventures, while keeping them cool in the heat.” In addition to water play and parades, the attraction will feature Spangle Stargazer’s Tower, kinetic structures, riddles and games, and live performances.   

“We want to ignite children’s imaginations, allowing them to play outside with their families in creative and physical ways,” explains Johnson. “Timbalaya in Kuwait needs to work as a nighttime attraction as well as a daytime destination.”

Timbalaya is in advanced negotiations with clients in Europe and Canada, with very different environments. Although it is a franchise offering, the future could include turnkey, operations, and Timbalaya-owned projects. A touring concept is in creative development.