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    In addition to their new attractions like the petting zoo, VGP Universal Kingdom promises a snow park soon

    We’re quite certain that the F-14 Tomcat in Top Gun did not do any reverse flips or somersaults on a horizontal axis. But the new ride at VGP Universal Kingdom, named after the 1986 film, does that and more. Ok, it is not anywhere in the league of the top rides in the world, or even the country (we’ll give Nitro at Adlabs Imagica in Maharashtra, that distinction), but judging by the screams and the daredevils who tried it comparing the ride to a ‘giant washing machine gone wild’, it’s easily the best on offer in Chennai — for now at least. Top Gun is one of a few new attractions at VGP Universal Kingdom, that is currently undergoing a makeover, with a new logo, mascots and more.
    Coming up
    To begin with, the statues of soldiers and elephants flanking the amusement park’s entrance have transformed into minion-like ‘sepoys’. “Our n1ew mascots are Kutti Raja and Chutti Sepoy,” says VGPR Premdas, CEO, explaining that the switch was made to appeal more to children. These mascots in bright red were created for VGP by Bangalore-based Happy Creative, who are also behind the ads of Flipkart and Basics. Besides being part of the facelift, Premdas also shares that his mascots will soon feature on games that will be available for mobile phones. We also learn that the group is working on a snow park (with a 30-foot snow slide) that is expected to launch just in time for summer.
    Meet the animals
    If you’re making the trip before the snow park launches (we can’t wait to build snowmen), you will still have plenty to do with their  water rides and approximately 15,000 sq ft wave pool already attracting young and old looking for ways to beat the heat. But as appealing as jumping into a pool with 500 others sounds, we choose to spend time instead at their new petting zoo where we’re welcomed by Rocky, the white Cockatoo. Saying “hello” to anyone who engages him in a conversation, Rocky and his other feathered friends — Macaw couple, Jack and Jill — are not the only star attractions here. Save for the naughty emus who are fenced away for your safety, you are surrounded by pigeons, geese, guineafowl, goats and a few adorable spotted deer too. As a group of tots amuse themselves feeding the birds, we stand by and watch the action unfold till it’s time for us to go home.
    Packages from Rs 225 for children and Rs 275 for adults. Details: vgpuniversalkingdom.in
    — Ryan Peppin

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