Edited by: Ayotomiwa Omotosho
The ancient city of Ile-Ife in Osun State is known for many things. For example, it is the oldest Yoruba city known to man and is believed to be the legendary birthplace of mankind by the Yorubas. It is also known as an educational center with the inception of the Obafemi Awolowo University in 1961.
What Ife might, however, not be so famous for is its recreational value. It is easy to conclude that this peaceful, laidback town is boring and dry. I’m here to tell you that it’s not. Ife can be fun if you know where to look.
If you’re reading this, you know where to look. Let’s examine 5 places you can explore if you want to chill and have fun.
IFE GRAND RESORTS AND LEISURE
The first on this list is the Ife Grand Resorts and Leisure center. This is not because it is the best, but because it is your best bet if you want to appreciate this city’s cultural heritage. This resort was officially launched on Friday 16th of July, 2021, by several VIPs, including the Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II. Since then, it has quickly risen in popularity nationwide.
Ife Grand Resorts and Leisure is located on a 328-acre piece of land along Kilometer 4, Ife-Ibadan road. The resort has within its confines an African-themed village with 51 huts aptly named after past Oonis of Ife. The huts themselves, although village-themed, have world-class levels of facilities. The village also has a Bamboo restaurant and local open-air kitchen that allows guests to watch as local delicacies are prepared. When done, the said delicacies are served in local pots.
Not exclusive to the village are 3 swimming pools, including a children’s pool, a lawn tennis court, table tennis court, and a big restaurant that serves food including wild peppered meat that’s to die for (trust me, I know), and an open bar. The streets of the resort are named after Yoruba towns like Abeokuta, Ilesa, Ekiti, and several others.
The exciting thing is that Ife Grand Resorts and Leisure is not yet complete. There are plans to improve it with things like an Olympic-sized swimming pool, among others. So, if you want to relax in a village environment without letting go of modern conveniences, this resort is for you.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
This next location is a place to relax while still learning. Think of it as a nerd’s way of having fun. The Natural History Museum, established in 1974 in Obafemi Awolowo University, is one of the university’s many architectural wonders.
Although established way back in 1974, the museum did not have a permanent home until 2011, when it was moved to where it is now. Fun fact: the building was designed way back in the seventies by James Cubitt Adenuga Company and is inspired by the old Oyo Palace and the Pyramids of Egypt.
With those nerdy facts out of the way, let’s explore the museum.
Being a natural history museum, the museum has several artifacts that tell the story of Ife and the Yoruba people in general. A lovely example is the replica of the famous Ife potsherd pavements constructed during the reign of Queen Oluwo. The other exhibits in the museum include photographs of other tourist centers, some rocks of geological importance, and some animals including lions, baboons, a life-size ostrich egg, among others.
The museum is a great place to learn while having fun, and trust me, even if you’re not interested in the nerdy bits, the building alone is worth your time.
OAU STAFF CLUB SWIMMING POOL
Is your idea of fun and chill a relaxed afternoon swim? If yes, the OAU staff club is for you. As the name suggests, the full benefits of the club are enjoyed by members of the club who typically are also members of staff in the university.
However, for those who are not members of staff, the club opens its swimming pool to the public. The pool is quite large and is 12ft deep in its deepest portion. It opens from 4 am to 8 pm on weekdays, and 10 am to 6 pm on weekends. This pool differs from others because activities remain civil, with no smoking or loud music. The pool is cleaned regularly, and a trained lifeguard is always on-site.
Swimming takes a lot of energy, so you might want to eat some food when you’re done. The club’s restaurant is open for those who want a meal or just snacks and drinks. Although not for everyone, introverts like myself looking to have a good time would find OAU Staff Club Swimming Pool the perfect spot.
MOREMI STATUE OF LIBERTY
Being an ancient city, Ile-Ife has many myths and legends attached to it. Some are scary, others are simply myths, some are however, fascinating and true.
One of such legends is the story of Queen Moremi whose selflessness and bravery saved Ile-Ife from the hands of their oppressors.
The statue was erected in 2016, by his Imperial Majesty, Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II. The statue that stands at 12.8 metres (42ft) is the tallest statue in Nigeria and the 3rd tallest single statue in Africa.
Located within the confines of the Ooni’s palace, a visit to the statue will help enlighten you to how Ife people work and appreciate them even more. Take a little break from stress, and appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature.
Located opposite First Foundation School, Parakin, Ile-Ife, vrpark.ng is Nigeria’s first VR indoor park and lounge. Short for Virtual Reality, VR is a simulated experience designed to make you feel physically involved and connected to a virtual world. The said world could be a game or a movie.
VRPark.ng has both. It offers visitors over 100 VR games, including Beat Saber and Virtual Skydiving. If full-on adrenaline-inducing jump scare games tickle your fancy, they have those too. Suppose you are more of a movie person. In that case, movies like Godzilla vs. Kong, Greenland, Ready Player One (interestingly, a movie based on VR), and several others are available.
VRpark.ng is the perfect form of relaxation and chill for tech-savvy individuals looking to have fun. It is open from 10 am to 8 pm on weekdays and weekends.
The world right now is getting busier every day, and it’s so easy to get sucked into one’s daily routine and forget to have fun and chill. However, like the popular saying, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’
Every now and then, you might want to chill and unwind from the daily grind. If that is you, then make plans and visit these fantastic places!