Saturday, July 23rd
I’m a lucky person that has good friends.
Friends who invite me over to their house for amazing home-cooked Indian meals.
Friends that wait with me in the sweltering heat to eat Michelin-starred dim sum
Friends who are able to get me half price admission to Hong Kong theme parks.
One of my friends has a one year membership to Ocean Park and asked me to go with her. I declined because I’d already been there before. Admittedly, this was 8 years ago, but I didn’t remember the park being such a great experience that I had wanted to go again.
Then, she mentioned that she got half price admission coupons with her membership and offered me one of them if I was to go with her.
The two words half price proved to be too hard to resist.
And that’s how I ended up going to Ocean Park (香港海洋公園) for the second time in my life.
We decided to leave the dorms at 9:00 to fully maximize our admission and money. (The park opens at 9:30)
We took the MTR to the Admiralty station and followed the signs.
Then, we followed the crowd outside to the buses.
A short while later, we arrived at the Ocean Park entrance. With the half price coupon, I was able to pay 125 HKD for admission instead of the full price 250 HKD.
I have to say that after entering the park, I was really glad that my friends had talked me into coming to Ocean Park again. The Park had gone through so many changes that I almost didn’t recognize it. It was much more convenient than I remembered, and the landscaping/design of the whole park is amazing.
Ocean Park covers an area of 870,000 square meters and is separated by a large mountain into two areas: The Summit (Headland) and The Waterfront (Lowland). Guests enter in the Lowland, which contains many of the animal exhibits and more “kid-friendly” attractions.
The Summit (which is what we were more interested in) has the roller coasters and more exhilarating attractions. [Tip: if you arrive early like we did, it is advisable to go to the Summit first to go on all the rides before the lunch-time crowds make the lines unbearably long]
We opted not to take the cable cars because there was a long line. Instead, we took the Ocean Express, which is a funicular railway system capable of transporting visitors between the Summit and the Waterfront in 3 minutes. [I would highly recommend this for future visits because it's super fast, you get to sit down, and there's virtually no line]
The Summit also provided some amazing views of Hong Kong:
After a bit of confusion, we managed to get in line for our first ride: the Rapids
We were really lucky because the ride just opened in June 2011. During the wait for the ride, we kept hearing repeated broadcasts (in Mandarin) warning people not to open their umbrellas while on the ride. (We’re assuming that the message was toward the mainland tourists).
Apparently, the warnings didn’t work, because while we were on the ride, we heard a worker angrily yell at a visitor to close her umbrella while she was on the ride.
The ride was a lot of fun. The two friends that went with me both got soaked, but somehow I managed to stay dry.
The next (and last ride) that we went on was the Mine Train. (I remember going on this ride last time but being so scared that I had to take off my glasses so I couldn’t see how high up we were. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m moderately scared of heights.)
We were really lucky because the line for this ride was really short. This ride was our favorite; and I’m proud to say that I kept my eyes open during the entire time today.
Afterwards, we went to the Space-wheel with plans to ride it.
Unfortunately, we saw the entire progression of the ride and decided not to follow through with the plans.
Translation: I got scared and didn’t want to upchuck before lunch was consumed.
See the video below if you don’t believe me.
After voting not to go on the ride (it was 2 against 1) we found a shady place near a cafe to sit down and eat lunch.
Note: Ocean Park is pretty lax and lets you bring in your own food and water, which can be a great money saver. Their noodle bowls in the food court were around 70 dollars!
We dined on Japanese sweet bread and tuna packets along with some bottled water that we brought.
After lunch, we rode the second longest outdoor escalator in the world to get from the Summit back down to the Waterfront.
We decided to explore the animal exhibits because the sun was fully overhead and it was really hot.
We started off with the goldfish exhibit.
Then we saw the Chinese alligator.
(It’s fake, but doesn’t the alligator look real?)
The place we spent the longest at was the Panda Village.
We were really lucky because usually all the pandas usually sleep in the afternoon.
And in case you ever wanted to see how a panda eats:
We also spent a lot of time in the gift shop.
Then, as we were exiting the park, we caught the end of the diving show called Summer Stunt Spectacular that was taking place. The Summer Stunt Spectacular is a high-diving themed performance by a world-renowned international troupe that is comprised of national competition medalists from North America and Europe. In addition to diving from an 80-feet high platform, they put on display a series of jaw-dropping spins and somersaults.
They were even nice enough to take pictures with the audience.
The changes that have been made to Ocean Park really improved it from the last visit. It honestly felt like an entirely different park from the one that I visited 8 years ago. I’m glad my friends convinced me to go so I could experience the Park on this trip.