Those who grew up in Lagos in early 1980s and early 1990s will attest to the popularity of the Apapa Amusement Park. It was a must-visit place for children and their parents during Easter and Christmas celebrations. Famous TV shows on NTA 2 Channel 5 and NTA Channel 7 where children said season’s greetings messages to their loved ones is a reminder of how famous The Apapa Amusement Park was.
However, by mid-1990s, the park became decrepit. It no longer played host to teeming children who went on roller-coaster rides, visited the Father Christmas Grotto or those who went to grab fun on Easter Holiday.
The Amusement Park was registered as the Lagos Lunar Park in July 1975 and commenced operations in 1976. The owners were the Lagos Island Council, Lagos Mainland Local Council, and Improjex of Switzerland which managed the complex.
And so, it was a piece of good news when the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism Arts and Culture, Folorunsho Folarin-Coker announced the opening of the redeveloped Apapa Amusement Park on Saturday. This move restated the Lagos State Government’s commitment to grow the Lagos economy through the promotion of tourism, arts and culture.
In his welcome address, Folarin-Coker said the Amusement Park affected the way Lagosians enjoyed family outings as the edifice suffered depreciation and the value derived from visiting Apapa Amusement Park by every family in Lagos diminished.
“As you may recall,” he said, “in the years past, the Apapa Amusement Park used to be the number one leisure spot for healthy family entertainment, recreation and relaxation in entire Lagos. Families troop to this enclave to enjoy their free time with consequential bonding within the visiting household.”
According to him, the redevelopment of the park is part of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s promise to deliver on the Administration’s policy to effectively use Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Sports (THESE) as a tool to stimulate the economy of Lagos State.
“The Park offers Lagosians,” he explained, “an opportunity for the regeneration of family values and bonding. Provision of a leisure spot with facilities as contained here goes a long way in stimulating the mind through recreation and entertainment. Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is ready for ideas and plans by investors for the replication of this wonderful leisure facility in all parts of the State.”
Furthermore, Folarin-Coker told the gathering that Governor Ambode will continue to invest in the creation of enabling environment and platforms for partnership with interested private sector organisations. “This intervention will affect all facets of tourism, entertainment, hospitality and generate multiplier value for the State economy. The partnership will provide a symbiotic benefit for return on investment as well as the attainment of the State Government’s long term vision to make Lagos, the only destination of choice for visitors from all parts of the globe.”
In her remark, Adebimpe Akinsola, special adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Tourism, Arts and Culture said what is interesting about theme parks, like the newly commissioned Apapa Amusement Park, is that a visit makes up an almost mandatory experience of childhood.
“Going to a theme park is associated with positive values and expectations of happiness and a happy childhood. Positive accounts among children and parents during such visits, however, made it evident that happiness runs through the visitors of theme parks. One simply is, or becomes happy coming to a place like Apapa Amusement park and this is good enough for the families,” she said.
With the reopening of the Apapa Amusement Park, families can relive memories of Lagos as a fun filled city.