The title of this story is a bit misleading. Penang is a very good place to visit, so there is no need to escape it until you really have to leave.
ESCAPE is a kids’ adventure park that is located near Batu Ferringhi on Jalan Tehuk Barang.
I was shown around ESCAPE by Daniel, a Dutch sports scientist who is helping to develop the facility. For anyone visiting Penang who has children aged from about 4 until their late teens, ESCAPE is the ideal place for them to while away a few hours, and get plenty of old fashioned exercise whilst they do so.
As Daniel explained to me, ESCAPE was designed to steer kids away from video screens and to re-introduce them to traditional Malaysian childhood pursuits, such as climbing, balancing and having fun in a physical way.
According to their philosophy “ESCAPE is different from any other theme park. It is a re-visioning and departure from the conventional ideas of roller-coaster rides, and sugar coated fantasies. ESCAPE draws from childhood past to capture the dreams and traditional values and addresses some of the problems of our current age by encouraging physical wellness and re-connection with nature…all through play in the quest for fun.”
There are attractions like Monkey Business, which is a rope and climbing course that is divided into three levels of accomplishment easy, intermediate and hard. On this rope course kids can test both their stamina and overcome a fear of heights. All participants wear safety harnesses so that no harm can befall them, and they can climb and use ziplines to their heart’s content.
Atan’s Leap gives kids the opportunity to leap off a tall tower. The older the child, the higher up the tower they can go. Minders are there to attach jumpers to safety harnesses, and after a count of five, they leap off the tower to be lowered at a reasonable speed to the ground.
There are plenty of activities for the very young kids, and downhill racing on tubes for which family members or friends can compete with each other.
ESCAPE is currently only at its first stage, with a water park scheduled to be built across the road, and even tree house accommodation to be built within the park for those who wish to stay overnight.
ESCAPE offers a great opportunity for kids to have some good old-fashioned fun with not a computer in sight. It is a very simple, but clever, low tech idea to encourage kids to just be themselves and to learn skills that former generations just too for granted.