Sunday, May 10, 2020

Polar Adventure Zone - South Pole Spectacular and North Pole Encounter @ Ocean Park Hong Kong #oceanparkhongkong #polaradventure

As per its name, the polar adventure zone at Ocean Park Hong Kong shall bring us to the extreme top and bottom ends of mother earth and now that i am looking closer at the map, i realized we didn't even know there's an arctic fox den!

There's a roller coaster ride called Arctic Blast but it was closed for optimisation work; not sure what that means. Thinking about it, many rides were actually not in operation on the day of our visit. :( 

South Pole Spectacular - let's step in for a look! Does anyone know what south pole has that north pole doesn't have? Hint; it's a 'well-dressed' polar animal.

Always wearing the 'tuxedos', they are the well-loved penguins! Not sure if it is the case in Ocean Park Hong Kong but in Singapore Zoo, the penguins were let out to roam about as the world-renowned attraction is closed due to the 'circuit breaker' measures implemented in the little red dot. 

Exhibits for the penguins don't quite differ from other places; fake boulders, painted blue sky etc. To keep the penguins comfortable, the temperature was maintained at about 8-10 degrees celcius. Which means if you are feeling hot, the polar adventure zone would be a great place to cool down! 

You know what movie i would remember whenever i am at a penguin enclosure? Happy Feet where one of the scenes was the penguin lead who was kept in a marine world and almost got mad due to the confined space. It's supposed to tug your heartstrings and educate film-goers that the penguins should be returned to the wild; strangely, it actually led to a surge in popularity for penguins in animal parks. 

Well, the movie did result in operators trying to ensure a better living environment for the sociable animals; over here, it was a hole from which the penguins can jump out from and waddle about. At least there were more activities for the penguins to engage in.

The three penguin species in South Pole Spectacular; the king penguin, the southern rockhopper penguin and gentoo penguin! Oh, do you know why the penguins wear 'tuxedos'? The white belly allows them to avoid predators as it would blend in with the dark, deep ocean when viewed from above and from below, the white will blend with the sunlight on the surface.

No leopard seal but you can take picture with a replica! 

Souvenirs shopping; i tried not to buy anything from theme parks as their prices are usually way over my budget. Having said that, i might splurge a bit at Disneyland if i am ever there though. 

Condensation on my lens resulted in this cool looking photo of the closed Arctic Blast! It's a pity i didn't manage to take the ride but as the age limit is 4 years old, i seriously doubt it would be as thrilling as the Hair Raiser.  

North Pole Encounter - similar to the south pole, i know there's one animal you can find in north pole but not in south pole. We used to have that animal in Singapore Zoo; a Singapore-born who died on my birthday two years ago. 

Yes, it's the polar bear! And with global warming, there have been pictures of the supposedly solitary bears congregating at villages to raid the food as there's not enough to go about in the wild! 

Unlike south pole, which is on the continent of Antarctica, north pole is "located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean amid waters that are almost permanently covered with constantly shifting sea ice". 

Living conditions in the north pole can be bad but in terms of temperature, it's warmer than the south pole. For a people like me who can't stand the cold, i think i am better placed at countries where the equator is. 

Oh, another enclosure similar to the penguins one.

There were differences though; over here, the passage for visitors surrounded the pool in the middle. I did feel that the fence wasn't very high. Wouldn't it be quite dangerous as the polar bear can potentially climb out? Where are the animals anyway?

Saw a head bobbing on the water! 
It's a spotted seal! 

Pool was separated into two sections; one was for the spotted seals and the other was reserved for two humongous creatures. The pacific walruses and i think it's my first time seeing them for real. 

I always wonder how they are able to move on land with their bulky bodies and flippers. And what were the uses for the tusks?!  Look kind of in the way of movement... According to an information panel; the tusks work "like tools to haul themselves out of the water and to break breathing holes in the ice".

With a staircase, i guess it's calling me to check it out! p.s. not recommended for very tall people as high chance you would knock your head a few times.

It's a transparent dome (there were two) for a closer look at the walruses, if they are resting nearby. No such luck for us even though judging from the height, it might take a bit of effort for the walruses to climb there.

Are they a breeding pair? Good to see them being close as it can be quite boring facing each other for such a long time. In this 'circuit breaker' period, people are already complaining about staying at home. It's only about a month; think about the 'torture' faced by the animals in zoos and other similar settings! 

Separated section for the spotted seals; guess they can't meet given the risk of being eaten up.

Let me guess, is this a pair of replica tusks of a mammoth? 

There's an underwater passage! 

I shall let the pictures do the talking. Underwater passage is, to me, an amazing way to observe the animals in the water where they display a lot more agility. Furthermore, with just the piece of glass separating humans from the animals, you may even be literally inches away from them.

Just like Alex, in the above photographs.

Sadly, the walrus was already swimming away when i took the above shot. Oh well, it's the memory that counts and Alex was ecstatic for that moment for which the 3-meter walrus swam past him. 

Tunnel connecting to the other section.

Spotted seals; the enclosure was actually way better than the one we went to at Maruyama Zoo in Hokkaido that housed the harbour seal. As north pole is warmer than south pole, the temperature here was maintained higher at about 15-17 degree celcius; still comfortable when outside was commanding a high 30-ish.

Last photo; panorama of the North Pole Encounter. p.s. i was expecting a polar bear but there isn't any. I watched a Korean movie by the name of "Secret Zoo" and it talked about a polar bear conservation centre in Canada; you may check the website here if you are interested about polar bears.  



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