If you are a 20-something year old that grew up in Ibadan, chances that you have dusty photos of yourself at Trans Amusement Park are quite high. I couldn't find the one of my brother and I on the merry-go-round but it got me thinking and that made me curious.
The park is far from functional these days, but I decided to check it out anyways. Even if there was nothing there, at least the old rides would make some cool pictures.
I drove there quite early, I wanted to get in and get out before I started to bake in the sun. I also didn't expect to see too much if I'm being honest, so I really didn't plan a long trip. Trans Amusement Park is a few minutes drive from The University of Ibadan, and google maps makes it straight forward.
Not much has changed though, although the space seems way bigger (or I'm more conscious now). A small internet search and I found that it was a 67 acre piece of land.
This meant that even when Trans Amusement Park was fully functional, only a fraction was being used. So what's on the rest of the land? This question started to bug me.
I walked around for a bit, and as expected, the old rides created some stunning backdrops and so I had a lot of fun with those.
After a bit, I came to the bar area where I met a couple of gentlemen whom I struck a conversation with (me and talking to strangers are like 5 & 6). They were much older than I was and so they knew a lot more about the park. I introduced myself and during the conversation, I learnt that the park was built on the old Ibadan airport. The 67 acres made a bit more sense now.
You can kind of see the airport runway (all the greenery) in this image I pulled off google maps and this fascinated me quite a bit.
My curiosity was heightened and they gladly offered to show me the runway area which had become a bit of a bush trek. After about 10 minutes we came to the area, but the only giveaway that planes used to take off here was the tarmac on the ground, everything else was bush.
We walked back to the bar and there was a bit of sadness in the air. Nobody likes to see a space that holds a lot of memories for them abandoned, it's not cute. However, the death of one thing can be the birth of something new and more beautiful. The park has lots of space to do amazing things with and I think that is a huge asset.
I for one think that this will be the perfect venue for music festivals. I heard there are shows every now and then but these can be scaled up. The likes of Coachella and Tomorrowland started with spaces like these and with some proper planning, adequate security and toilet facilities, some spectacular stuff can be done!
Nigerians make some of the best music in the world but it's annoying that there aren't that many venues to host monumental experiences and celebrate our people. So if all it takes is a budget, some elbow grease, a bit of imagination and some willing minds, we can definitely make some strides towards achieving this.
I would also love to hear your ideas about what the space can be turned into, so if you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comments. Don't forget to share with someone who will enjoy this.