RIYADH: Sitting in a bathtub full of rubber ducks or pedaling your way toward fresh lemonade? Or what about sitting on a giant cake with your significant other?
If this sounds like a fever dream, you may be surprised to learn it is within your grasp if you visit Riyadh’s newly opened Museum of Happiness.
Unlike a traditional museum, where touching exhibits or taking photos is forbidden, new pop-up museums encourage visitors to be photogenic and interactive.
Tucked at the far end of the lavish Riyadh Front is a new attraction known as the Museum of Happiness, the latest offering from Saudi entertainment organizers the Gathering.
The attraction is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and is exactly what it sounds like: An exhibit that sparks joy and encourages visitors to feel the thrilling rush of childhood again.
A 45-minute tour, where guests are joined by a tour guide and photographer, leads you through 10 themed rooms, each with its own unique and interactive objects and the opportunity to pose for pictures.
The first thing visitors are greeted by when entering is a massive pink teddy bear in a room with furry pink walls.
People are free to dive in and get a big hug in return. What follows next are picturesque “Lewis Carroll meets Studio Ghibli” attractions that will delight and intrigue the curiosity of both children and adults.
A room of gumball machines, including an oversized one you can step into; a life-sized cherry-covered cake you can pose on with your significant other, sibling or best friend; and a room of bicycles attached to blenders, so you can see the fruits of your labor and enjoy a cup of hard-earned lemonade — these are just a few of the museum’s attractions.
The tour also includes food offerings such as gumballs, ice cream, lemonade and cotton candy, all included in the ticket price. If the giant teddy bear and marshmallow pool do not have you grinning, the sugar rush definitely will.
One room that will have you giggling is the confetti dome, with thousands of confetti pieces blowing in the air. All in all, the experience is well worth while, especially if you are having a bad day. Visitors can buy up to five tickets a session, so take along a few friends if you are in need of a pick-me-up.
Tickets to the museum are available through Platinumlist at SR160 ($42) for adults and SR60 for children under 12.
The pop-up will be open until June 2021, and tickets can be bought up to a month in advance. The museum also has strict measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including mandatory face masks (which can only be removed for photos), plastic shoe covers, hand sanitizer dispensers and frequent cleaning. The number of guests allowed inside exhibits at one time is also limited.