Establishment: Ocean Park Hong Kong
Location: Hong Kong
Ocean Park Hong Kong is one mixed-up park – in a totally good way! It’s a zoo, an amusement park and an aquarium, all rolled into one. This is our favourite family attraction in Hong Kong, and we never miss a chance to visit when we are in town.
The animals are great for entertaining the little ones, and this park boast several themed exhibits. The most popular is probably the Giant Panda Adventure. The collection here also includes the Chinese Red Pandas – think Shifu in Gong Fu Panda. My boys love them. Over at Polar Adventure, we found snowy white Arctic Foxes and an impressive collection of Penguins at the South Pole Spectacular. Whilst at the North Pole Encounter, walruses and spotted seals greeted us.
There is a Grand Aquarium, with a viewing tunnel that rivals Sentosa’s Underwater World. A separate aquarium showcases the biodiversity of the Yangtze River, and yet another exhibit, Sea Jelly Spectacular, had the boys (and us) enthralled. “Goldfish Treasure” boast an extensive collection of weird-looking, rare and expensive goldfish.
There is an extensive schedule of shows, animal feeding and trainers’ presentation. The bird show, Emperors of the Sky, features owls, parrots and eagles aplenty and we loved it! At Whiskers Theatre, the park’s mascots present a song and dance number for the little ones – great for toddlers, though my kids already found it a too baby-ish. On our most recent visit, we missed the show at the Ocean Theatre, featuring the ever-loveable dolphins. That will be on our list of “must-do” at our next visit.
Over at the Summit area, there are wild rides that are thrilling for both kids and adults. Many rides have you hanging over the cliff, with the South China Sea directly below you. It’s spectacular and heart-stopping. Not my cup of tea at all, but my adrenalin-loving husband and brave 9-year-old loved them. We enjoyed a splashy ride on The Rapids – well worth the 45mins queue.
If these all seem too much for you and your kid(s), Whiskers Harbour back at the Waterfront offers toddler-friendly rides, bouncy castles and a lovely playground for the little ones. The cable car ride (which links the Harbor area to the Summit) is stunning with gorgeous views of the sea and the park. We missed the Ocean Express funicular train though – yes, it’s on the “next visit” list!
Ocean Park gets really busy, so plan to get there early and be prepared for a full day out. It will also be useful to have a look at the website and plan your “must-do” before the visit – chances are it will be tough to cover all attractions in one visit so you will need to prioritise. Check too, the heights and age limits for some the rides.
A brand-named theme park, the likes of Universal Studio or Disney, Ocean Park Hong Kong may not be… but for us this park is an oldie but goodie, well worth many return visits. We will definitely be back for more of those thrilling rides!