Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Travel Diaries: Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Despite Hong Kong being made up of many islands, Jossi and I had spent no time at all in the sea. This wasn't about to change, but we did decide to re-live a little of Jossi's childhood and so instead decided  to get a little more intimate with some of the sea's more exciting creatures. Therefore, early one morning, we hopped on a busy bus and went to visit Ocean Park.

Ocean Park feels a little like Disney's watery cousin. Everywhere we looked, there were colourful buildings, exciting rides and brightly painted mascots. However, there was one brilliant extra. Ocean Park had an aquarium... and a zoo... and an aviary!

Now anyone who knows me knows I'm a sucker for fish. Live ones that is. In an aquarium I become as excitable as a two year old, running around pressing my face up against the glass. I'm in fishy heaven! Luckily for me, Ocean Park had thousands of fish and a whole lot more I hadn't expected!

The park also put on shows, featuring everything from friendly seals to a whole pod of performing dolphins. We could even go and meet the parrots!

At one point, we pulled our jumpers from our backpacks and huddled down into them as we went to visit the penguins in their icy enclosure!

Now quickly, I have to say one thing that struck me strongly about Ocean Park was the animal enclosures. They were so well designed and seemed to have a huge amount of space. For example, the penguin enclosure was one massive room in which you walked through, with different areas on all sides of you, linked by a big watery pool. This meant that you had penguins swimming under your feet and popping up on all sides as you walked through the room. It made you feel very involved with the animals but also allowed them much more space than I've seen in previous zoos. Even the fish had very large tanks, the main on containing hammerhead sharks and the biggest rays I've ever seen was just ginormous. As you walked around it, different nooks and crannies in the aquarium wall opened up to give you a different view. It was just fantastic! More than this though, it helped the park push home their message of 'be environmentally friendly' as you suddenly felt so much more interconnected with the animals.

One rather special area of the park held some VIP guests. The pandas. These were given to Hong Kong by Beijing and represent the friendship between the two provinces. Apparently, Beijing will take back these pandas at some point, and Hong Kong will be allowed to keep any panda cubs produced during their stay. It took us a little time to hunt down these giant bears but eventually we spotted them, both napping in separate parts of their specially climate controlled enclosure, showing no interest in each other whatsoever...

One exhibit really made Joss and I giggle and that was the space dedicated to different breeds of goldfish. Not only was this in itself funny, but the fish were downright hilarious. Some were incredibly fat or bulbous, where as others had little weird wobbly bits adorning their heads! Saying that, there were some incredibly pretty ones too!

My favourite area however had to be that devoted to the jellyfish. The huge tanks full of floating translucent tentacled masses were simply mesmerising, as we saw how the jellies were carried around with the currents in the tanks. Each tank lit up with different colours made the display all the more beautiful!

All in all, Joss and I had an absolutely fabulous day and even made some fishy friends of our own...

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had a great time! I'll be sure to see if I can squeeze in a visit when I go to Hong Kong next year. Jx