To call Ocean Park an amusement park fails to do it justice. Founded in 1977, the oldest theme park in Hong Kong offers much more than just rides: It’s a zoo, an oceanarium, an amusement park and a research centre rolled into one. In addition to entertaining people, the focus is on animal welfare and research is being carried out in several laboratories.
Ocean Park is known for its huge collection of animals, which is one of the largest and most unique anywhere in Asia. The main attractions are the four residents of the Giant Panda Adventure: An An and Jia Jia, who have been living in Ocean Park since 1997. They were later joined by Le Le and Ying Ying in 2007. The bears are true superstars in Hong Kong. Their enclosure is seriously impressive and imitates the natural habitat of the giant panda as much as possible.
This roller coaster truly lives up to its name: Suitable only for the fearless, it will literally cause your hair to stand on end. With speeds of up to 88 kilometres per hour, four 4G loops and a zero-G loop, this attraction will have even the hardiest thrill seekers needing a moment to recover.
Old Hong Kong illustrates the versatility of Ocean Park. This area takes visitors back to Hong Kong in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. While that may not sound very exciting, it is unexpectedly beautiful. The Heritage Tram takes you through ancient streets and Hong Kong highlights, including a replica of the old bell tower of the Star Ferry. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly come across a red phone box: British influences from the colonial period are also present here.
Polar Adventure is one of the newest attractions of Ocean Park. This icy adventure gives visitors a glimpse beneath the ice in an underwater tunnel. There is also a large resident colony of king penguins which can be admired from up close. A sweater is recommended, as the temperatures in Polar Adventure are kept low for the comfort of the animals. For those who are looking for a little more adventure, there is the Arctic Blast, a roller coaster in the shape of a bobsled.
A great way to end the day is Symbio, a spectacular water show features hundreds of choreographed fountains and uplifting music. A fight between two dragons is projected on a large screen in the middle of the show. The whole thing is supported by a striking tangle of light and sound. The dragons tell a story with a moral, emphasising the unity between man and the earth, and the necessity to protect and preserve our planet.
Ocean Park is very large. It consists of two parts, the Waterfront and the Summit, which are connected by a cableway across the South China Sea which is an attraction in itself. The park manages to combine entertainment with education in a great way and is ideal for the whole family.
More information on: www.oceanpark.com.hk