on April 1, 2008
Ocean Park encompasses attributes akin to Magic Mountain and Sea World. Add a bit of a local carnival atmosphere and some special guest entertainment and you have a place to please all palates.The main entrance is to the Lowland Gardens where you find the panda habitat, worth the wait, where you can watch them for about 10 minutes and snap non-flash pictures. The Amazon exhibit that featured exotic birds was closed with no date of re-opening. There is also a huge hot air balloon with a huge basket shaped like a donut to accommodate a dozen people. The balloon is tethered while ascends straight up for a 360 degree. The two drawbacks are that the line can be an hour wait and it can close due to wind that was 40 minutes after the park opened. The remainder of the area is games and rides appropriate to children.A cable car system with 4 long cables taking some 10 minutes takes park visitors from the Lowland Gardens to the Headlands. Rising over the hillside, the view of Repulse Bay is magnificent. The individual gondolas, shaped in oval can seat 6 people, but the staff puts individuals in their own bucket. I was able to move around to take pictures in a literally coming and going direction.The boardwalk area consists of a pool of sea lions and seals to replicate the California Coast. Check the schedule for times when the kids can join in the feeding and the Shark Aquarium is an underwater tunnel where you view a wide variety of shark and watch them swim above your head.ABSOLUTELY THE ULIMATE for me is the 4-story aquarium where I had the opportunity to watch eagle rays, blue-spotted stingrays and guitarfish. They were so close I could have almost touched them. The display was so realistic I found myself looking for a snorkel and mask. On the other side of the walkway were small aquariums home to hard to see creatures like seahorses, sea dragons and pipefish. Along each tank were photographs of what should be able to find.Descending a level, I could see the mouths of the rays and an increasing number of fish like wrasse, parrot and trigger fish. Continuing on, more coral and anemone were visible providing refuge for the smaller clownfish, basslets, and butterfly fish. On the lowest level was everything from barracuda to nurse shark. This truly an optimum place for seeing a large variety of sea life with such realistic enclosures.Adventure Land has very good thrill rides. The dragon is a roller coaster with corkscrew turns and views of the ocean below. The Abyss’ drop of 20 stories definitely led to an unexpected yelp from me. Moreover, yes, you do get wet, particularly if alone, going on the log ride.Hope on one of the world’s longest escalators to Middle Kingdom to enjoy some of the special events. I watched an ice skating showing with Olympic medalist winners juggling fire batons, performing acrobats, and dances. Across the way was a huge igloo. A long line that moves fast allows a certain number of visitors in at a time. Why???? Maybe because they had out hooded snow jackets before you enter. Inside, sculptures of the 12 Chinese astrological signs were carved out of ice. The dragon was a bit too ornate and long for my camera to photograph well.Park hours are 10-6 and cost HK208. Bus 629 from the main terminal next to Central MTR (in case you are coming from Kowloon), costs HK10 and runs every 15 minutes. Souvenir shops and most eateries will accept dollars and give local currency for change.
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