What happens when you go to amusement park Chunky Monkey as an adult? We find out

Updated 18 Feb, 2016 12:04pm

We weren't allowed on the carousel or the choo-choo train... but we did try the pirate ship and plunger!

There may be no monkeys at Chunky Monkey, the sea-themed mini-amusement park/arcade that recently opened its doors at Karachi's seaside. But there's no shortage of clownish behaviour at its multi-level premises.

I speak, of course, of my own misadventures when I paid a visit one afternoon last week. The Images team thought it'd be a good idea to review the newest 'attraction' in town and so off we went to the arcade.

Chunky Monkey is Karachi's newest attraction by the sea
Chunky Monkey is Karachi's newest attraction by the sea

Misled by the clunky rhyme of ‘Chunky Monkey’, I assumed my trip would involve spending a couple of hours fishing for candy, bopping heads with a mallet and feeling silly whilst sitting inside a revolving teacup – reliving some happy childhood memories, in other words. That is not what happened.

Instead, I was confronted with the horrifying prospect of boarding a pirate ship (I didn’t do this in my childhood). Gulp.

Adulting at an amusement park

Let me start at the beginning.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I spent the initial half hour of my visit unsuccessfully trying to convince the operator of a merry-go-round to let me on it. “You're too big. You won't like it,” he said, and pointed me in the direction of the outside arena where the older kids played.

I could have totally fit on that seahorse
I could have totally fit on that seahorse

Smarting at his allusion to my fatness, I briefly contemplated piling into the little kids’ choo-choo train while no one was looking just to prove a point.

See? So spacious
See? So spacious

But I was saved from that acrobatic endeavour when a cacophony of loud, shrill, thoroughly unmusical noises (that can only be described as several bus horns on acid) erupted from the neighbouring ride, pushing me to seek relief from the earsore outdoors.

I almost immediately wanted to go back inside.

A site for public ridicule... or you know, death

This is where the big kids played
This is where the big kids played

A scaredy-cat by birth, I found it hard to get excited by any of the rides outside. There was the plunger (that surely went whoosh at a speed that would made me forget all decorum and scream for mummy), a pirate ship (that I suspected may send me somersaulting to my death), and a spinner-type contraption (that spun live human beings at chutney-blending speed).

So I was greatly relieved when someone suggested trying the safest option first: a wheels-on-the-bus ride.

This wheels-on-the-bus ride started our adventures tamely enough. In fact, I'd recommend it to fellow scaredy-cats as a warm-up.

Our adventure at Chunky Monkey started here
Our adventure at Chunky Monkey started here

However, I did experience a moment of mild panic pre-ride when I overheard operators discuss in non-hushed tones the lack of repairs on some nearby faulty machinery that may or may have something to do with the wheels-on-the-bus. But the ride turned out to be fine. Phew.

Unless you have objections to bemused strangers on the ground watching you squeal. I mean, this isn't me at my most dignified, STOP LOOKING, jeez.

Wheels-on-the-bus is a good primer, but not as emboldening as one would like. I was ready to call it a day after this.

But the team had other plans.

Sight-seeing, thrill-seeking - what's the difference?

While the Images team wondered whether the plunger was less daunting than the pirate ship, I was ready to kill a dead relative and scamper home to avoid getting on either of those darned things.

Luckily for us (and the souls of my dearly deceased), a couple took the plunger while our debate was in progress and settled it. The plunger turned out to be... well, the anti-plunger.

Presenting the anti-plunger
Presenting the anti-plunger

Far from the dreaded whooshing motion I had imagined, the anti-plunger behaved more like an open, rotating elevator to nowhere. It ascended and descended at such a slow speed that it ought to be part of the park's geriatric section.

It does, however, offer one of the best aerial views of the city, and thus doubles excellently as a sightseeing mechanism.

So I didn’t feel completely lame on that ride, even as I played spot-my-house from 1000ft* above on the first whirl and eye-spy-the-Icon-Tower on the second.

(*I studiously avoided looking down to appreciate just how high we were, so the above quoted figure may be way off.)

Haven't had enough of sightseeing? Try the pirate ship
Haven't had enough of sightseeing? Try the pirate ship

The pirate ship also happens to swing high enough to offer an interesting vantage point of Karachi's seascape and adjoining areas, but of course I had my face scrunched into a permanent wince through most of that ride. It should be noted that half the horror lies in the squeaking of the pirate ship’s machinery. They should really oil those things.

The spinner we didn't dare get on - Photo courtesy Chunky Monkey's Facebook page
The spinner we didn't dare get on - Photo courtesy Chunky Monkey's Facebook page

There was also the vomit-inducing spinner that we didn't dare get on. We liked the pace of the plunger, thank you very much.

Other attractions

There’s also an arcade in the basement, which was mostly deserted when I visited. It was the very stuff of horror movies, complete with music imported straight from Japan and killer-hiding shadowy nooks. But it does boast a fair share of games, so I imagine one could die happy there.

Lots of games in the arcade to try out - Photo by author
Lots of games in the arcade to try out - Photo by author

We briefly considered taking the bumper cars for a whirl, but when we saw a gang of kids turn on their dad, we decided that it wouldn't exactly the best team-building exercise.

The bumper cars, proven to turn family into foes
The bumper cars, proven to turn family into foes

Having forced ourselves into an adrenaline rush, we retired to the food court for some comfort food aka pizza. That felt much better, and more like my childhood.

Food court is serene and offers options ranging from burgers and icecream to Arab cuisine
Food court is serene and offers options ranging from burgers and icecream to Arab cuisine

Chunky Monkey's entry tickets cost Rs50, and an e-card to accumulate points for rides is purchased for another Rs50. Rides cost between Rs50 to Rs200.


Photographs by Zoya Anwer, Hamna Zubair and Mehreen Hasan