Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ocean Park - Hong Kong

Our caravan decided to go to Ocean Park first before going to Disneyland because we wanted to:
1) Tackle Ocean Park and its vast area when we're still fresh, and
2) Let the kids go home with the impression of their favorite Disney characters

Ocean Park is a park more for adults and teens, not for little kids. However, there is Whiskers Harbour that's for little ones, full of kiddie rides, a playground and a talking tree. You can easily just spend your whole day there.

The highlights of going to Ocean Park includes:
1) The many adult attractions concentrated on The Summit starting with a ride on the cable car. I don't recommend going on the ferris wheel though because there is no Fast Pass option at Ocean Park and the line there tends to be long, and that big wheel will just spin around once for you. For the same effort, just go on the Ocean Park Tower for the view.

try the cable cars at night too, really breathtaking experience

Ferris Wheel

view from the Ferris Wheel

Ocean Park Tower

2) Must-rides are the Abyss and the Flash, if you're thrill seekers. However, they only accept 12 year olds and above at the Flash plus, many don't really make the effort to go where this ride is because it requires people to go further up. Enjoy relatively shorter lines for these rides too.

the Abyss

view of the Flashh from the Ferris Wheel

The Flying Swing is also very popular and there is another roller coaster being built in the park.

3) It can be quite educational because of the aquariums, pandas, seal/dolphin show.

4) Tickets cost cheaper than Hong Kong Disneyland at HKD280 (adults) and HKD140 (child). Tickets are even cheaper if you get them at China Travel Service or via travel agencies and hotels since they generally get discounts. Plus, Ocean Park is not strict about bringing in food so you can freely bring all the beverage and food you want. Don't be surprised to see some people using shaded places as picnic grounds.

5) Even rental of strollers and wheelchairs is cheaper at HKD40 for the whole day (plus HKD60 deposit). The strollers are a little weird though, made of heavy-duty plastic that can accommodate kids 1 year old and above.

It can also be a pain having to bring these babies up and down some stairs (without the child in it, obviously) but has plenty of storage space for your bags.

6) Lots of trees and mist fans around. Since we went at the height of summer, it was really pretty hot and our mini fans all conked out on us. But it was still generally tolerable because there's still a lot of shaded areas. One really cool area is that roofed part before you go down to the Ocean Theater and there are tables and benches there too so you can easily camp there.

7) Lots of refreshment vendors. Bottled water costs HKD20 and sodas/juice sells for HKD22. Ice cones also cost HKD22. No drinking fountains anywhere though.

I believe roasted corn also cost HKD22 (we bought at the Rainforest Snacks kiosk) and that's really unremarkable so buy the turkey something instead there (because that was really delicious).

8) Get to ride a hot air balloon! Of course, you have to tediously wait your turn.

9) I loved that there were a lot of toilets and changing stations... they're gender sensitive/equal opportunity too.

10) Prepare to be exhausted, not just by the heat (in summer time) but by the amount of walking you have to do. And here, strollers are a must for kids 5 years old and below because you really have to cover a lot of area if you are to see all the attractions the park has to offer. Bring fans, extra clothes, wipes. Plan your visit and know where the shaded/rest areas are. Prepare to walk uphill, downhill and up and down stairs.

One last thing... strollers are not allowed in the cable cars so either ride the Ocean Express going up and down, or do what we did: ride the cable cars at night (just before closing) going up and then immediately go down again via Ocean Express.

Guests can easily go to Ocean Park by going to the Citybus' Ocean Park Express (Route 629) station just outside Admiralty MTR station (Exit B). The bus fares are HK$10.6 for adults and HK$5.3 for children (aged 4-11).

The park is open from 10:00am - 7:30pm. For further inquiries, you can contact them at:
Tel: (852) 3923 2323
Fax: (852) 2554 2089

I just have to say I was disappointed by The Grand Aquarium. I guess it is a bigger aquarium but I preferred the old one (now the Sturgeon Aquarium). I also failed to watch the fountain and lights show that caps the Ocean Park experience. Maybe when we return.

And yes, i'd love to experience Ocean Park when it's real cold and foggy up there.

Please note that we travelled as a caravan of 8 adults, 3 preschoolers and 1 infant and were in Hong Kong between August 22-27, 2011, the height of summer (and summer sale) there.

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