Middle East Theme parks

Home to record-breaking coasters, the Middle East is leading the way when it comes to larger-than-life theme parks, says Jessica Alexander

MotionGate, Dubai

MotionGate is where movie magic comes to life. Featuring five ‘Zones’: Columbia Pictures, home to Ghostbusters and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs rides; Lionsgate, where Now You See Me: High Roller, the World’s fastest spinning rollercoaster lives, and The World Of The Hungar Games; DreamWorks Animation, featuring lovable characters from Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Shrek. Smurfs Village also entertains little ones with interactive play zones and theatre shows, while movie buffs will enjoy Studio Central, which delves into the art of film-making and movie sets.

Meryal Waterpark, Qatar

Middle 2

Located on Qetaifan Island North in Qatar, this waterpark is home to the tallest water slide construction in the world: the Icon Tower, standing at 85 metres. There’s also 45 rides and 52 slides in Qatar’s largest waterpark including tube slides, mat racers, drop slides and wave pools. Those looking for a slower pace can enjoy the splash pad or head to the beachfront.

Real Madrid World, Dubai

Middle 3 new

The first ever Real Madrid-themed park celebrating football and basketball opened in April in Dubai. The theme park is home to over 40 original Real Madrid-themed experiences and attractions that offer guests the opportunity to feel closer to their football heroes. Standing at 460 feet, the Stars Flyer is ‘the tallest amusement ride in the world’ whilst White Hearts is a walkthrough exhibition celebrating the past, present and future of the football club. Fans can also visit the locker rooms of Real Madrid players.

LEGOLAND, Dubai

Middle 4

Aimed at children from two to 12, LEGOLAND Dubai is home to the world’s tallest LEGO building. Imaginations run wild with over 40 LEGO-themed rides, shows and building experiences to try. Kids can get hands on at the LEGO Master Builder Academy or build with LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics.

Visitors have the opportunity to ‘fly’ a LEGO plane or steer a LEGO boat in LEGO City. There’s also plenty of rides including Merlin’s Flying Machine, Lost Kingdom Adventure and The Dragon. End the day with a visit to The BIG Shop, which houses the largest collection of LEGO, and see how LEGO bricks are actually made.

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, Jordan

Middle 5

Described as ‘the region’s most picturesque water park’ thanks to its surrounding mountainscape, Saraya Aqaba Waterpark in Aqaba opened in 2021. The park has over 25 slides including Cavern of Wonders, looping Raging River, plunging Dead Sea Drop and high speed White Water Whirlpool as well as a 200m long lazy river. There’s also the country’s first underwater Virtual Reality experience.

Quest, Qatar

Middle 6

New to Qatar’s entertainment offering is Quest, an indoor experiential theme park located within Doha Oasis in Msheireb. Home to the EpiQ Coaster, crowned as the ‘World’s tallest indoor roller coaster’, and the Magma Blast, the ‘World’s tallest indoor drop tower’, Quest is a wonderland for adrenaline junkies. Unlike other theme parks, Quest has a range of media-controlled simulators and virtual reality experiences as well as traditional thrill rides. Heavily featured are gravity-defying rides including futuristic Spike’s Astro Tower and Gravity Swing.

Warner Bros. World, Abu Dhabi

Middle 7

Located on Yas Island, just 30 minutes from the city centre, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is a dream come true for any superhero fans. Visitors will find five themed worlds within the park: Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch, Cartoon Junction, Gotham City and Metropolis. As well as 29 rides, children will meet cartoon favourites like Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo, as well as superheroes like Batman and Superman. 

The Lost Paradise of Dilmun, Bahrain

Middle 8

Inspired by Bahrain’s ancient history, The Lost Paradise of Dilmun provides some cooling family fun in the middle of the desert and is Bahrain’s biggest waterpark with over 20 slides. The park is separated into six themed areas – Dilmun Beach, Qasar Enki, Tylosplash, Kids’ Mesopomania, Falcons’ Drive and the Oasis Pool with its slides themed around the ancient Dilmun period.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Middle 9

Perfect for car enthusiasts or those with a need for speed, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park. Located on Yas Island, the park is home to the Formula Rossa, ‘the world’s fastest roller-coaster’, which takes thrill-seekers from 0 to 240km/h in 4.9 seconds. Visitors can also get behind the wheel with a Ferrari Driving Experience or choose the Passenger Experience with a Ferrari-trained instructor.

Six Flags Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia

Middle 10

Slated to open Q4 of 2024 just outside of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, is Six Flags Qiddiya, the latest ambitious project as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to promote tourism. Six Flags Qiddiya will feature 28 rides and attractions across six themed lands including The City of Thrills, Discovery Springs, Steam Town, Twilight Gardens, Valley of Fortune and Grand Exposition. Its centerpiece attraction will be Falcon Flight, set to be the longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world.