Before its construction and transformation into a tourist destination and a leisure centre, now generating revenue for the state, the expansive open land was a dingy city swamp that defaced the area adjacent the 2nd Amphibious Brigade Barracks on Aba Road, Port Harcourt’s busiest traffic artery.
Port Harcourt Pleasure Park near Rumuola is today an effective tourist product. Governor Nyesom Wike awarded contract to construct the park to construction giant, Julius Berger in May 2016. The whole project was completed within 12 months of the commencement date.
The purpose of the park is to serve as a tourist destination, a revenue earner for the state, and a leisure area for harried Port Harcourt residents. It is arguably a reliable relaxation location for a coastal oil city with vast beaches, but which have been left undeveloped over the years.
Today, all of Port Harcourt’s beaches suffer from effects of heavy oil spill, bunkering and illegal refining activities. If you dare to dive into any of the beach waters, you would be immediately dabbed with dark-coloured oily stuff, with unending putrid smell all over your body.
With exquisite facilities built to taste by Berger, the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park boasts of a wide range of facilities including an extensive children’s playground; a miniature soccer field; FIFA PS4 games; swimming pool; 5-person paddle boats, each designed for drivers and three passengers and water steps. Others are: mini golf course which consists of a series of holes characterized by their short length.
The park is also filled with various exercise machines ranging from simple walkers, massage machines to elliptical trainers. There is a big parking lot, a jogging circuit, water steps, restaurants and a climbing tower and pedal boat. Another exciting feature is the nearly 60ft high fountain, which daily spews volumes of water into the air.
Governor Wike is interestingly upping the Pleasure Park’s tourism takings with an incoming 5-D cinema all equipped with latest cinema trappings. This would be through and commissioned next May ending, he said, when he inspected the project recently.
“This cinema will develop tourism across the region. We will build a five-star hotel in the Pleasure Park,” the governor said.
Some tourism experts say the increasing tourist takings at the Pleasure Park play well for a supposed bustling Garden City [Port Harcourt] whose historical flower gardens had since been destroyed, while the city itself was engulfed by years of militancy, horrendous gang wars, political crises and later-day cult-related wild killings.