An ode to Stargate
With Legoland Dubai set to open its interlocking, plastic brick-built doors to the public this October, many readers will likely be breathing a sigh of relief that the construction of a brand-new amusement park has actually been completed. Too often is the case in the Emirate that prospective projects are shut down before their production has ever really started, with the likes of F1-X, Restless Planet, and Dubailand being a few select examples of ambitious projects which have sadly fallen by the wayside.
The eerie sight of the Universal Studios Dubailand gate, surrounded by nothing but barren desert, is surely enough to send shivers down the spines of even the most optimistic of business owners. It remains frozen amidst the desert heat like the remnants of Ozymandias’ famed statue: a poetic reminder of human hubris and the incessant nature of the sands of time. It also remains there because no-one can be bothered it get rid of it. The dog-eat-dog nature of Dubai’s bustling tourist scene has often meant that even those parks lucky enough to open in the first place can still be shut at a moment’s notice, with Stargate Dubai being one of the latest on the list of such casualties.
Resembling a spaceship from both the inside and outs, the space age remnants of Stargate Dubai (which bears no relation to the Roland Emmerich’s famed sci-fi franchise) would appear more at home in Roswell, New Mexico than the lush green heart of Zabeel Park. The self-proclaimed indoor “Edutainment” park, which promised to both entertain and educate Dubai’s youth, first landed all the way back in 2009 – further warranting the question as to why you haven’t heard about it before. Let alone actually been to it. Consisting of five separate interstellar-themed entertainment areas (Mars, Earth, Saturn, UFO, and Lunar), Stargate contained a unique variety of exhibitions spanning from a 3-D cinema and rollercoaster to an (modest sized) indoor ice-rink.
Despite its small stature, the theme park packed as much as fun as it possibly could into its humble diameter, with news of the park’s closure truly being a sad day for Dubai’s underdog. Not backed by the safety-net of big money brands like Marvel, Lionsgate, or even Lego, Stargate’s current Facebook page tentatively proclaims that they ‘May be Permanently Closed’, with this tiny sliver of hope perhaps underlining the park’s refusal to admit defeat in the face of imminent failure. Or perhaps it merely highlights their misguided denial that caused their downfall in the very first place. Either way we feel that Stargate’s closure is something to mourn – the loss of any location where you can drop your kids off for a couple hours of peace is always a tragedy.