Is it an Aquarium? Is it a zoo? Is it a theme park? No, it’s Ocean Park Hong Kong!
Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s oldest theme park, and is a favourite family day out for Hong Kong residents and bus-loads of tourists who arrive daily.
I recently read an article on travelingmom.com about things to do in Hong Kong with kids. While I agreed with the author’s suggestions, I was surprised to read that she considered Hong Kong Ocean Park to be an ‘older’ kids’ theme park and more suitable for the 10+ age group.
Ocean Park is my 4-year old’s favourite place on Earth! And my 2-year old loves it too. So if you’re thinking of postponing a visit to Ocean Park until your kids are older – don’t! It is one of the best Hong Kong attractions for kids of all ages. Here are my best Ocean Park Hong Kong tips if you are visiting with kids.
Get there before opening time
Ocean Park Hong Kong gets BUSY! And by busy, I mean busloads of tourists arriving at the same time and wandering around slowly in mass groups. For this reason, the best time to visit Ocean Park is opening time. You want to try and be amongst the first through the gates, ahead of the crowds. I would suggest buying your Ocean Park tickets online before you go to avoid queues at the ticket counters for the same reason.
If you have a stroller with you – head to the left-hand side of the main gate to get in through a separate turnstile, which gets you even further ahead of the crowds! You can pick up an Ocean Park map at the entrance here near the turnstile.
Ocean Park opening hours are usually 10am-6pm (7pm on Saturday/Sunday) but can vary so check the schedule on the Ocean Park website before you go.
Head straight for the Grand Aquarium
Another of my Ocean Park tips is to make a beeline for the Grand Aquarium ahead of you, as soon as you are through those gates. The queues for this build up pretty quickly, so you want to get in before that happens. There’s no fun in trying to glimpse a clownfish over the heads of a hundred people. There are loads of sea creatures to fascinate small children inside the Ocean Park Hong Kong Aquarium – from hammerhead sharks, to stingrays and manta rays, starfish and lionfish to jellyfish and turtles, with several different viewing points along the way.
Seek out the Pandas
As soon as we leave the aquarium, my kids usually start shouting to go see the Ocean Park pandas. There are two different panda enclosures at Ocean Park Hong Kong, and I would recommend heading straight for the Giant Panda Adventure (rather than the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures, which is next door to the aquarium). This enclosure tends to be less crowded and has a more open environment, plus you can visit the red pandas here too, alongside Ling Ling and Le Le, Ocean Park’s beloved giant pandas.
Jump Aboard the Ocean Express
The Ocean Park attractions are divided into two levels – the Waterfront (where the Park Entrance and Grand Aquarium are) and the Summit (where all the rollercoasters are). As most people come to Ocean Park to ride the rollercoasters, we try to get to the Summit early, before the masses descend. Everybody else will want to ride the cable car up here, so jump aboard the Ocean Express – a monorail pretending to be a submarine, complete with flashing lights, and underwater video. Don’t worry; you can ride the cable car later.
Go on a Polar Adventure
Take a wander through the North Pole Encounter and the South Pole Spectacular to see the sea lions, walruses, seals and penguins in action. Take a sweater if you are visiting in the summer – it’s cold inside!
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Have Lunch with the Penguins
One of my best Ocean Park Hong Kong tips is to have lunch at Tuxedos Restaurant. The food isn’t anything to write home about (although they do a passable pizza), but the highlight here is the penguins. One side of the restaurant is a window into the penguin enclosure, including an underwater viewing area. Time your lunch to coincide with 12 o’clock feeding time (book ahead if possible). The kids will love it!
Ride the Ocean Park Hong Kong Rides
The main focus of the Summit is the Ocean Park rides, particularly the rollercoasters, but there aren’t many suitable for small children. Rides in Ocean Park that are suitable for small kids include the Arctic Blast (a fairly tame rollercoaster suitable for children height 100cm and above if accompanied by an adult), the Ferris Wheel (anyone allowed if accompanied by an adult), and the Raging River (a log flume ride where ages 3 and above are allowed if accompanied by an adult).
Walk through the Rainforest
We usually walk off our lunch with a stroll through the Rainforest Expedition Trail. There are some cool animals to be seen here, including the world’s smallest monkey – the Pygmy Marmoset, a sloth, and lots of snakes, lizards, spiders and frogs including brightly coloured iguanas and an anaconda. Don’t miss the opportunity to squirt water guns on the people riding The Rapids below you!
Watch the Dolphin Show
Dolphin shows are the subject of much controversy and have cost Ocean Park Hong Kong plenty of negative publicity in recent years. But that doesn’t stop the Ocean Theatre filling up several times a day for the Ocean Wonders show, featuring jumping and spinning dolphins and clapping sea lions.
See the Sharks
From the Ocean Theatre, it is a short walk down the hill to Shark Mystique, an enormous shark tank holding over 100 sharks and rays – including zebra sharks and the scary-looking sawfish.
Ride the Ocean Park Cable Car
Now is your chance to ride the cable car, the entrance of which is located between Shark Mystique and the Ocean Theatre. This is not only a fun way to return to the Waterfront, but also provides you with some of the best views of Hong Kong’s Southside, particularly on a clear day. To avoid the queues, I suggest riding the cable car back down the mountain no later than around 2pm. Note you will need to fold up your stroller and carry it up a few stairs to go into the cable car.
Hit Whiskers Harbour
There might not be many rides suitable for small kids at the Summit – but Whiskers Harbour is all about the little ones, and is where we head to for running off the last of our energy before going home. There’s a great playground here plus a bouncy castle, a carousel, a ferris wheel and a musical train – all suitable for even the littlest of littlies. Two-year-olds and above can also ride the Clown-Around roundabout, and 91cm or higher thrill seekers can get an adrenaline rush on the Frog Hopper. So now there’s just enough time for an ice cream before you head home. Enjoy!
How to Get to Ocean Park Hong Kong
The best way to get to Ocean Park is by MTR to Ocean Park station. Ocean Park MTR is just one stop (4 minutes travel time) from Admiralty station. Take Exit B to connect directly to Ocean Park. A taxi from Central will take around 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic.
Get money off the Ocean Park entrance fee by buying your discounted Ocean Park ticket online at Klook Travel here.
Can’t choose between Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland? Read all our best Hong Kong Disneyland Tips here.
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