Monday, May 18, 2020

Ocean Park Hong Kong - A Theme Park That Combines Rides, Aquariums and Zoos #oceanparkhongkong


After so many sub postings, it's finally time i could combine everything for a fuller review of Ocean Park Hong Kong! It's with a bit of sadness though as i also happened to read a news article that the park is at risk of "going bust in June without emergency funding".

Regardless of its fate, it would be good to keep all the pictures in this blog for memory. So here we were, going through the security checks before entering! 

The necessary photo spot to capture the iconic ocean park name with Whiskers, the main mascot who is a seal! Other members of the extended family include a shark, a butterfly, a dolphin, a parrot, a turtle, a crocodile, an arctic fox, a red panda, a goldfish, two penguins and four giant pandas. 

First zone; Aqua City. That hill at the back is called Brick Hill and it separates the two main areas in Ocean Park; The Waterfront, where we are now at, and The Summit. For easier time planning, our intention was to start with The Summit first.

Balloon seller who was hidden from sight; i think helium balloon is one of the few products that remains popular over the years! My time was usually just the round balloons but nowadays, you see all shapes and sizes and even those that appeared to be walking beside you. 

Photos with the mascots! Unlike Universal Studios Singapore where most mascots were tied to popular films, i am not acquainted with the ones in Ocean Park and hence, do not have that urge to take photos with them.

Our first stop - locker, stroller and wheelchair rental.

As both Alex and i don't have kids and our parents were not with us, the only thing that attracted my attention would be locker rental! We usually bring along one bag each and they can be bulky to lug along. Furthermore, if it's the same issue with Universal Studios Singapore, we might not even be allowed to bring bags while queuing! 

HK$130 (about S$24) for a one-time use.

Next stop; to the retail store where we purchased the Ocean FasTrack for priority access. 

There were three tiers and while i couldn't remember exactly which one, my credit card data reflected S$188.86. This would mean we went for the grand tier that cost HK$520; it's pricier than my admission ticket to Ocean Park

I am glad we got it though as the queues can be insane and in view of the summer weather; we would need it to maintain my sanity as the constant complaints by Alex can be irritating. 

Map of the park - eight zones in total and i visited everyone of them except for Whiskers Harbour which has a younger clientele unsuitable for middle-aged adults; we wouldn't want to be stared by the kids. We didn't manage to cover everything as the theme park is just too big with 80 attractions! 

Optimisation work in progress; while i don't know the mascots, i am aware of the One Piece animation though. From what i see on the online, the area is now the performance area for a multimedia show known as "gala of lights" that seems to have a separate charge. 

Sea Life Carousel - at a diameter of 15.1 meters, it is said to be Hong Kong's largest carousel! Given my penchant for motion sickness, we gave this a miss! 

Two ways to get to The Summit and the fastest way was to take the Ocean Express that would cut beneath the Brick Hill and bring you to your destination in about 4 minutes. 

We prefer the more conventional way. 

And to cut there, we would need to cut across the Old Hong Kong attraction at Aqua City zone. I don't really quite it as the buildings of Hong Kong between the 50s and 70s don't gel with the overall aquatic theme for the zone..

Our preferred mode of transport to The Summit involved going somewhat above Brick Hill that would give us a panoramic view of Hong Kong's Deep Water Bay! 

Yes, the mode of transport was the Cable Car! It was a longer ride at about twice that of Ocean Express at about 10 minutes. However, it remained hugely popular and you can see from the long queues at both stations! Thankfully, we had the Ocean FasTrack tag.

Panorama of Deep Water Bay. I read somewhere that due to the lock-down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, pollution had reduced drastically and the usually smoggy Hong Kong is now showing the rare blue sky! 

These areas are under Ocean Park too! As you can probably deduce from the distance, the park is not small and if you have young kids with you, be prepared for the whines and if you have the older generation, please be considerate and ensure they are hydrated and have the strength to walk.

Oh ya, as usual, you would be asked to take photos when you first board the cable car; as we were seated with strangers, there's simply no motivation for us to check out the photos at the image gallery booth.

Whirly Bird at the Thrill Mountain zone – the ride would actually go up to about 30 meters high! That's like about the tenth floor of our HDB flats in Singapore! 

Other rides at Thrill Mountain included the exciting Hair Raiser rollercoaster, Rev Booster, Bumper Blaster and the gripping 360-degree The Flash! Check out the details of the zone over here

Let's now check out the Polar Adventure zone; don't be fooled by the word polar as there's no polar bear although there were still the cute penguins, the adorable spotted seals and the humongous walruses! 

The Rainforest Zone is next and it features the expedition trail (the pygmy marmoset would melt your heart) and the rapids; a river ride that's so much milder than the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure @ Universal Studios Singapore

Alex had a fun time shooting water at those riders though. 

Ocean Express - The Summit station. 

The presence of escalators is one way to fight fatigue among the park-goers! One of them atThe Summit is actually "Hong Kong's second longest outdoor escalator system, at 225 metres long"! 

Pacific Pier at Marine World Zone; said to "Mimics the rocky habitat of seals and sea lions on the Northern Californian coast" with simulated waves! 

After walking under the hot sun towards the attraction, we realized it was closed. :(

Oh well, might all take the opportunity to take some photos; here's one with Alex and behind is the rest of the Marine World Zone which, strangely, comprised of carnival rides. Hm... another reason why i don't get the zoning at Ocean Park.

The 72-meter high Ocean Park Tower - also closed on the day of our visit. 

Time was 1.48 pm and i think we were still in time for the 2.00 pm, "Ocean Wonders" show at the Ocean Theatre! It had dolphins in the show; it's not my first dolphin though which was at the now-defunct Underwater World at Sentosa featuring the controversial pink dolphins.

Pretty impressive theatre and as expected, centre seats were all filled.

Taking photographs while waiting for the show the begin. You can clearly see the staff member maintaining the The Abyss ride at Marine World Zone. People like me who are afraid of height can't do such work. 

One of many container tankers traversing the bay behind the Ocean Theatre! Alex was sharing that the smaller boat is likely a pilot vessel that would help to drive the tanker into parking area; a bit like valet right? 

Show started with a sliding sea lion! From young, thanks to the animal shows at Singapore Zoo, i have always found sea lions to be intelligent, cute and a crowd-pleaser. 

Two screens on stage to allow spectators a better view; my only grouch is that it's high time to upgrade the screens as they looked pixelated and not very clear. 

See how chubby this seal lion was! .

As usual, the crew would invite some members of the public for some interaction. In the past, Alex would love to participate but an incident involving a cracked Frisbee has dented his confidence to do so!

Staff member pulling open the gantry for the main stars of the "Ocean Wonders" show. 

The indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins! In total, there are nine dolphins in Ocean Park and the park had in fact managed to breed the world's first two bottlenose dolphins in 2001 using artificial insemination.

In summary, the show on sustainability was quite stagnant and it didn't help that the monotonous conversation was pre-recorded. Given the hot weather, i couldn't help stifling a few yawns. 

Highlights were definitely the sea lions and the dolphins (see how the above was able to spin on water) and it's unfair that they were pulled down by the poor content of the show. 

I was so sleepy at this point! 

We shall now check out the rest of Marine World Zone; attractions we explored included the Shark Mystique (over a hundred sharks and rays) and the 27-meter tall Ferris Wheel. Click here for details! 

Our heavy breakfast at Chau Kee dim sum earlier that morning was still being digested but the mouth was itchy! This serving of French fries with a cup of coke cost us HK$58; more than 10 Singapore bucks! 

Taking the escalator to the furthest end of The Summit.

Adventure Land Zone that had only two attractions; the Raging River and the Mine Train rides! A piece of advice; don't bother with the VR headset for the Mine Train if you are prone to motion sickness! 

Hilltop accommodations are expensive and highly sought after by the rich. I personally thought it's quite scary to stay so high up, especially if you are in those high rise buildings. What if the aviation lights or aircraft warning lights are not working?! 

Taking Ocean Express on our way back to The Waterfront area. To be frank, we wanted to take the Cable Car but the queue was understood to be an hour plus long and the Ocean FasTrack only allowed a one-time priority for the cable car. 

Aberdeen Channel, as seen from outside the Waterfront station of Ocean Express. The construction just ahead was supposed to be for the Tai Shue Wan Water World that's slated for opening at the end of this year but its future is now uncertain with the current financial problem faced by Ocean Park

Another structure caught my attention; the floating Chinese mansion which housed the Jumbo Floating Restaurant! It's such an icon of Hong Kong that i even had it included as the things to do. Pity we decided to give it a miss at the end. 

Back at The Waterfront! 

Amazing Asian Animals Zone - in addition to the bottlenose dolphins, another highlight at Ocean Park would be the giant pandas from China! I actually enjoyed the 'Goldfish Treasures' which had hundreds of goldfishes of various species and it's interesting to know that its ancestor was so plain looking. For more photos of the pandas and goldfishes, visit here

I just noticed that there was a sketchers retail shop; a bit strange to have it in a theme park even though some park goers would go in to get a pair of comfortable shoes after spending the whole day walking. 

A juggler; i am always impressed by their coordination as clumsy me attempted and failed. As many people said, practice makes perfect but do we want to sacrifice our time, especially when we not have a flair for it?

Almost got this for Jovyn! 

It was closed to the end of the operating hours and we were definitely shagged. However, i begged Alex to just go through one last attraction at Aqua City Zone before we called it a day. 

The Grand Aquarium - displaying "some 5,000 fish from over 400 species", it's like a mini S.E.A Aquarium and had a 36-meter wide viewing panel. Click here for the pictures! 

Leaving Ocean Park

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Now's the time for me to review Ocean Park. Honestly, you could probably get many of the attractions, in similar or even better format, in other places but what amazed me at Ocean Park was the sheer variety you get with just one ticket price; you get thrilled rides (boring ones too), decent aquariums and even miniature zoos that include Giant Pandas! That, to me, is super worth it.

Address
180 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong

Location Map

As above.

Website

Park Map
As above.

Cheapest Way to Get to Ocean Park
There's an MTR station attached to the theme park! 

Pricing via KLOOK

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