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Ocean Park, Hong Kong

With the roach-fest, period-pain and selfpity-party dragging me down last week, I thought I’d start on a cheery note this time 🙂

After visiting Disneyland Hong Kong, we went to this famous marine park the next day.

It’s all very organized because you can take the MTR to Admiralty where you boad the Citybus (No. 629). At Admiralty, there are clear signs to the ticket booths and orderly lines waiting for the bus.

NOTE: DO NOT buy the return trip ticket for the bus! We thought it’d be good but on our way out of the Park, we had to walk some distance to the bus stop and we also couldn’t take the other buses or a taxi as we’d already paid for a return trip 🙁

We had NO CHOICE but to wait for No. 629. We were so tired by then the 3 of us sat on the pavement next to the bus stop like some miserable backpackers!

While waitinf for the bus to Ocean Park, I thought we’d wait FOREVER when we saw the lines but the buses came quite quickly after about 15 minutes in a progressing queue.

I really have to thank Hubby (for nagging and lecturing!!!) for getting us out of the hotel room by 9.00 am because we enjoyed many rides before the BIGGER crowds came.

WELCOME TO OCEAN PARK!
The summer crowd was there as well! This is the main entrance (the other one is known as the “Tai Shue Wan” entrance).

GOING IN GREEN
After the concrete jungle around the streets of Hong Kong the day before, it’s nice to see this row of creeper plants along the fence after the entrance.

HOT AIR BALLOON RIDES
Called the SkyFair, these “static” hot air balloons take up 100 m up into the sky but you won’t be able to float away! Give it a try anyway – we passed on them because we didn’t want to LINE UP!

As much as we wanted to give the boy a ride in James’ “red balloon”, we doubt his cultural exposure will suffer without this ride. We’re terrible parents, aren’t we? Especially this Mummy who immediately said “NO” when I saw the crowd/line there even under the 39 deg C heat!

TRAINS AGAIN!
Will you believe that this humble kiddie ride got him VERY EXCITED? Seriously, I wonder why we even bother spending HKD500 going to Disneyland and Ocean Park? All we need is HKD50 to make him happy on this toy train!

CABLE CAR RIDES
This has to be the highlight of our visit – you HAVE to ride the cable car to get from the lowlands to the headlands (highlands), where the seals and other rides are. The cable cars DON’T stop which means you need to get in and out pretty quickly (there are staff to help you).

While I grappled with my fear of heights, esp in this claustrophobic, creaky little capsule, he watched in awe as we rode in it.

I thought he was enjoying the beautiful aerial view of Hong Kong island…

Actually, he was looking at the numbers on the “stations” that we passed!

I only found out about this when he later yelled out, “Number 4! Number 5! Number 6!”

Hahaha…kids. You never know what they’re thinking LOL

See how small the capsules are? FREAKED ME OUT.

The first ride we went on was the Ocean Park Tower. He qualified for it and we went in and enjoyed the lift up and the gentle revolving that allowed us a bird’s eye view of the Park and the bay. The little fella enjoyed it so much, he wanted to go another time!

We quickly ushered him to the remote control boats where he had fun fiddling with the controls – we paid the guy to let us steer one boat but it was quite boring. I think the only guy who had fun was this super rich looking Chinese who’s living his childhood dream! He was really INTO it.

SOUTH CALIFORNIA SEALS
Ocean Park boasts about its conservation efforts, especially its artificial insemination of dolphins. These South Californian seals were the first animals we saw at the Park.

Is it just me or do the seals look really forlorn in this man-made park? Imagine having a bunch of tourists gawking at them, snapping photos (some with flash) as they sweat under the scorching sun.

When it gets too hot, they dive into the water and swim in the limited space available in the entrapment.

Up close, they look even more pitiful. Can you see just how hot one of the seals look?

It’d make more sense to me if the area was flooded with the natural sea water – it isn’t as this place is situated on the highlands. I wonder how much Ocean Park spends on electricity bills because we passed HUGE, industrial air-conditioning units as we moved “under” the pool.

With the sweltering heat, it must take a lot to keep these seals cool? I’m sorry if I sound cynical especially as it’s an effort to keep these seals alive.

I’m all for conservation but to sustain them in an expensive, artificial environment designed for the tourists (not the animals) just makes me disgusted.

I wonder if the children are even learning the right things about the seals’ natural habitat? All we learned is what the seals looked like and what they sound like (which could be due to the hoards of visitors looking at them, snapping photos and yelling at them!).

Better for the kids to watch National Geographic Channel or Animal Planet 🙂

The boy REALLY wanted to ride on the Mine Train but the poor fella was still not eligible! It was tough dragging him away from there – luckily, the cable cars enticed him and soon we were on our way back to the Lowlands.

We decided to skip the Giant Panda Habitat (due to the crowds, the heat and also the doubt that it’d be any better after the seals). We wanted to show the boy the dolphins and went to the Dolphin University, which is right at the end of Lowlands.

What did we get? A CLOSED sign saying that the dolphins were performing at the a show somewhere in the Park. We got a peep at their tank though and saw some beauties swimming, while a worker repaired some cracked tiles on the floor.

He wasn’t very friendly when we asked if we could go in – of course, you have to pay MORE to get closer to the dolphins. The additional cost is for a guide to give you a talk about the dolphins but I don’t think you get any nearer to them!

Back down in the Lowlands, we went to the Kids’ World where he just went crazy in the playground there. He also tried the mini mountain climbing grips, with a helpful old uncle to guide but he had the MOST fun the trampoline 🙂

And that’s our day at Ocean Park…

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  • Paik Ling 16 September, 2008, 2:29 am

    I loved Ocean Park though I don’t enjoy the rides. Sounds like the boy had a fab time, which is all that mattered right? 🙂

  • PB 16 September, 2008, 2:57 am

    Hey! there you are 🙂 I still haven’t been to the parks of HK coz I’m usually too busy eating and shopping but some day I should 🙂

  • Stupe 16 September, 2008, 3:52 am

    Ocean park and DisneyLand Hong Kong is design and built by the company i work with. 🙂

    🙂

  • Uncle Lee 19 September, 2008, 12:25 am

    Hi Kittycat, regret to read about your dad.
    Gosh, he younger than me 3 years too.
    Thats why I believe in enjoying life, to live life with no excuses, to love with no regrets.
    Never can tell when our ‘appointment’ will be due to go ‘up there’..
    I’m sure your dad is smiling on you….just hold on to the beautiful memories….HE will always be with you.
    Best regards, Lee.

  • KittyCat 19 September, 2008, 9:52 pm

    Paik Ling – Compared to Disneyland, I think we had more fun here 🙂 We sure wanted to catch those pandas… Missed out on the hot air balloons too…sigh. If only we can go to Chengdu!

    PB – Oh, boy tell me about the shopping and the food! I think the parks are mostly for the “family-oriented folks” 🙂

    Stupe – Alamak! I “bantai” the construction dahsyat-dahsyat here. Don’t be angry ok? I really prefer natural environments vs man-made ones.

    Lee – Thank you for your kind words. I believe he is watching over us. Sure wish we can do the same too!

  • Angeleyes 22 September, 2008, 11:44 pm

    How come no pics of him jumping on the trampoline???

  • |1f34|-|1r3 19 October, 2008, 8:14 am

    now..i’m thinking like…am I at the right blog? looks like a travel blog to me…hehe

  • KittyCat 21 October, 2008, 12:17 pm

    Angeleyes – We were both SO tired from the heat and walking already. Even this camera-crazy Mummy was lazy to do it LOL

    Life4Hire – Oh, yes you’re definitely on the right blog 😉