"To Swim with a Dolphin at Ocean Park Hong Kong is Emotionally Inspiring"
Hong Kong Ocean Park is one of the most spectacular Marine Parks in the world.
Ocean Park simply has the biggest Marine Theater on the face of the planet. It is like an ocean contained within a massive plexi-glass aquarium.
Ocean Park Hong Kong also has its world famous amusement Park, which is perched atop two mountain peaks.
You can take a stroll through a clear Plexi-glass tunnel that runs through the heart of a massive Shark Tank loaded with hoards of giant Black-Tipped Reef Sharks.
Giant sharks just glide overhead and fat Groupers stare at you through the glass walls of the tunnel.
With those kinds of attributes, Hong Kong Ocean Park is a place I had to visit.
My Hotel Room was located in Tsim Sha Tsui so it was a short walk to the Hong Kong Tourist Information Office at the Star Ferry Terminal.
Tsim Sha Tsui is the best area to get a budget hotel because it's close to everything and yet boasts the best value-for-dollar hotels in the whole city.
I was walking South down Nathan road when a very chubby girl knocked into me.
"Where are you going?" She asked. I wasn't sure what to make of it. Her accent was English and her bum was as big as the sun.
"I'm off to Hong Kong Ocean Park. I've heard a lot of good things about it but mainly I'm going to see the Giant Pandas and walk through the glass tunnel."
"Oh, yes. That's where they keep 'Le Le' and 'Ying Ying'." (Names of the 2 Giant Pandas)
"I'll join you." She said assuredly.
That's all she said. I searched her eyes for her intention but she looked so innocent. She had a beautiful face and moved that bum like it was a gift from the gods.
I liked her and I really needed someone to hold the camera.
How to Get to Hong Kong Ocean Park
"Sure. You can come." I said then pointed South down Nathan road with my thumb. "I was just going to the Hong Kong Tourist Office to get the details on how to get to Ocean Park Hong Kong."
"Oh. You don't need to worry about that. We can book the Hong Kong Ocean Park tour online.
It's the easiest way to see Ocean Park. You don't run into so many people stuffing themselves next to you in the MTR or the Bus."
"I'm the Cheapest Man in the World. I have to do this as cheaply as possible and as far away from the organized tours as possible. Are you still coming with me?" I asked in a hesitant tone.
Find out how we got there as well as every possible detailed directions to get you to Ocean Park Hong Kong.
The Division of Ocean Park
Hong Kong Ocean Park is divided into two sections. The largest section is the higher headlands of 'Mount Nanlang'. The lower and smaller section is the 'Huang Zhu Keng Valley' lowlands.
The two sections Ocean Park are connected by a Gondola Lift System (or Cable Car System) and by the world's second longest Outdoor Escalator.
If it's too windy they will usually close the Gondola. That leaves you with just the escalator but it is a very interesting way to make the crossing in its own right.
"Bloom Girl' (My nickname for the girl who'd followed me) and I got off the bus at the second stop at Ocean Park. It's just 20 Meters away from the Main Entrance to Hong Kong Ocean Park.
"I want to see the animals first," 'Bloom Girl' said as we walked through the 'Main Entrance'. "Maybe they're still too sleep-drunk to realize that they are jailed and abused for our amusement."
Entrance Fees to Hong Kong Ocean Park
($1USD = $7.5HKD)
$208HKD Per Person. It won't hurt so bad if you get to swim with the dolphins. Don't forget to REGISTER when you buy your tickets!
$103HKD Per Person.
No Charge. I saw a few kids clearly over 5 get into the Park for free with a small white lie.
"My Boy is 3 and he doesn't have ID yet." That's just what I heard from a few families entering the Park. I'm not recommending it ... but I tell all.
Hong Kong Ocean Park is open from 10am - 6pm everyday but in the summer months they close an hour later at 11pm.
The girl I came with shook my arm. "Are you gonna pay?"
"Of course." I said. I'd learned my lesson. Then I noticed a sign at the Ticket window that said it was free for the handicapped and kids under 3 years of age.
"Any chance you can act a bit handicapped?" I asked her with a shrug.
"Do I look handicapped to you?" she demanded. Her face was filled with red anger. "And besides....you don't say handicapped. The word is 'Physically Challenged'!"
The Lowlands of Hong Kong Ocean Park
we headed to the 'Main Entrance' ticketing office once we had our tickets. I had done my homework.
If you want to swim with the Dolphins then you absolutely MUST remember to register for the 'Dolphin Encounter Program' at the 'Main Entrance' Ticketing Office when you first come through.
No doing it later or hoping someone does it for you.
I have had so many emails from people who just didn't know about this and missed a once-in-a-lifetime show.
If you have already booked the Budget Ocean Park Hong Kong Tour with Viator then they will automatically begin the process for you.
Once we had registered, we made a bee-line for the Giant Pandas.
The Giant Pandas at Ocean Park Hong Kong are very popular but I felt sorry for them. People just stare at them all day and they have a dullness to their eyes that seems devoid of life, despite the fact that they occasionally moved.
"Bloom Girl' and I watched one Giant Panda sleep like it was dead on that big rock. It was interesting because I had never seen a Giant Panda but the effect wore off quickly.
Then she slapped me in the side of the head.
"They shouldn't keep animals in cages like this. It's cruel and barbaric," 'Bloom Girl' mumbled just loud enough for me to hear.
Let us know how you feel about captive Animals held in zoos. "Bloom Girl" might even reply to you!
With that topic out of the bag, the day would be a long one. I agreed with her but loved her chubby red cheeks when she got flustered. So I chose to take the other side.
"I had a Hamster when I was nine and you probably had a Goldfish or worse..."
'Bloom Girl' just looked at me as though I hadn't yet evolved into a human being. So I kept talking.
"Hong Kong Ocean Park keeps 4 Giant Pandas. 'Jia Jia' (Girl) and 'An An' (Boy) as well as 'Le Le' (Boy) and 'Ying Ying' (Girl)," I said, reading from a Park Brochure I'd taken from the Ticket office.
"So then you condone this cruelty for profit?" 'Bloom Girl' looked at me in obvious disappointment.
"You knew they were here when you came," I said to her. "Why did you bother coming?"
"Because the rides are amazing and the views alone are worth the trip." Then she hesitated for a second. She clenched her jaw and looked me straight in the eye. "And I think I'm in love with you."
That was it. She just swiveled her fluttering butt and walked away more hurriedly than her body seemed willing to permit.
I began searching for the glowing red Exit signs that seemed beacons atop hills she couldn't have the stamina to climb.
What to See in The 'Lowlands' of Hong Kong Ocean Park?
This was the first thing we actually stopped to have a look at. It's located between the Grand Pris and the SkyFair.
The Exhibit is an impressive attempt at recreating the natural environment of the Pandas. Watching Giant Pandas sleep was like watching grass grow.
Kids world is on the East side of the 'Lowlands' area of Ocean Park Hong Kong. It's a place geared for children but there is a real interactive educational theme that exists in all the attractions.
Me and 'Bloom Girl' spent 20 minutes just writing the names down of all the attractions and getting a quick glance at excited children and the bored faces of their Parents.
"You seem to love Children," 'Bloom Girl' implied with wide glistening eyes.
"Naw. Hate the little buggers," I replied.
I didn't think that birds were capable of being trained to put on such a complex and entertaining show. You'll come away thinking these birds are geniuses or you've been the victim of some illusion.
"What the Hell are we doing here? These poor animals are up for slaughter!" She screamed from behind me.
"What do you eat?" I asked.
"Vegetables and Fruit and Tofu and endless things. Stuff that doesn't include killing animals!" She said.
I reached out and held one of her hands gently. She became silent and her eyes filled with tenderness. Grace and Femininity ruled her gesture and expression.
But I still couldn't stop my mouth.
"Wow. Hearing you talk about food has made me hungry. I could eat a horse!"
Sheep and Cows and hatching chickens and every other animal you'd find on a farm can be seen at Hong Kong Ocean Park.
I got into a great talk with an old Goat. Kids just love it. But if you don't have kids, don't even bother with the 'Kid's World' except for Dolphin University'.
This is where they do the behind-the-scenes tours if you want to get up-close and personal with the Dolphins. A lot of it seemed geared for Kids but it seemed the Adults ruled the day in the Dolphin pool.
You actually get in the water with the Dolphins and can touch them as they swim past. If they let you. Unforgettable.
If you missed the chance to get close to the dolphins at Hong Kong Ocean Park and the Dolphin University then we recommend a proper Hong Kong Dolphin Watch Tour.
The Dolphin Tour is designed to put on a minimal cost tour without compromising safety. They are tailor made for people on a budget and at under 50 Euros, this is the cheapest way to have a full-blown Dolphin Encounter.
You get your money back if you don't see any Dolphins.
The boat takes you out to the waters that lie between Hong Kong and Macau. The Dolphins in these waters are pinker than the Boto Dolphins in the Amazon River in South America.
It's amazing to see them at play, racing ahead of the bow of the boat and yet so near to one of the world's busiest shipping centers and most densely populated urban areas.
"You have to get me the Hell out of here!" Demanded 'Bloom Girl' without warning. I had been paying more attention to the Dolphins than her.
I was shocked because she had been smiling like a horse with chewing gum in her mouth. She never once yelled at me or raised her voice but she spoke loud and clear with her face and her gestures.
"Then let's take the Cable Car back up to the headlands of Hong Kong Ocean Park and hit some of the rides," I suggested. She just nodded. I think she was a little embarrassed.
It takes only 8 minutes by the Gondola lift system to reach the headlands so have your Camera ready, the photo-ops fly by really quickly..
The views of Repulse Bay, Deep Water Bay, Aberdeen and the South China Sea are spectacular.
You can also look down at the lowlands of Ocean Park Hong Kong and see the Atoll Reef, the Shark Aquarium, Ocean Theater and even Ocean Park Tower.
I have never seen a better viewing spot in the whole city. You'll regret this one if you don't bring your camera on the Cable Car.
What to see in the Highlands Section of Hong Kong Ocean Park
Ocean Park Tower is a slowly revolving Observation deck 72 meters or about 236 feet above Hong Kong Ocean Park. You can get some terrific views of the entire Park as well as the South China sea.
Beyond the Panda habitat you'll enter the 'Dinosaur-Now and Then' exhibits in the Middle Kingdom of Hong Kong Ocean Park. The Middle Kingdom is a place filled with Ancient Temples, Pavilions and Streets.
The format is educational in nature. I learned how the Dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. The Exhibit also includes the Chinese Alligator and the Giant Chinese Salamander.
There are many very lifelike models of the varying dinosaurs but special detail has been spared for the model of Tyrannosaurus Rex.
"I wonder if men have changed since the Dinosaur?" 'Bloom Girl' asked under her breath. I heard her and she knew it.
"A girl looking like you would make the men go mad. So, yes men probably haven't changed much."
'Bloom girl laughed and smiled at me. She leaned into me and touched my elbow. That part of me is very sensitive.
We continued on arm-in-arm.
They keep mainly California sea lions here but there were also a few other species of seals on display. They just sit far away from the California Seals probably because they are American.
It smells like fish in there but it's a clean place overall.
Ocean Theater is the heart of 'Marineland' in the 'Lowlands' area of Hong Kong Ocean Park. It's an open-air theater with a large Pool at it's center and surrounded by tier seating for spectators.
They run scheduled performances where trainers put the Sea-Lions and Dolphins through a pretty good Performance. They jump through hoops and do all the standard tricks but it was nice.
They looked happy to me.
Not so for 'Bloom Girl'.
"Those poor animals are forced to perform against their will," she kept saying.
"They look like they're having fun," I said while she stared at me like I was an Ape gnawing on a bone. She had the most beautiful green eyes that glistened with fire when she was angry.
Lota birds. Bird Lovers paradise. Boredom for me.
A nice pond that is full of fat flamingos. It's well-kept and a pleasant place. Even 'Bloom Girl' seemed unaffected. But I'm always wrong with girls. Always.
First Opened in 2006. This aquarium was built to display the more than 400 jelly fishes. Definitely worth a look at these amazing creatures in such vast numbers.
This is a plastic underwater viewing tunnel that you walk through and see the sharks all around you.
I really enjoyed just watching the big Black Tipped Reef Sharks gliding through the water just over my head. It was like being down there with them only I was safe from being eaten.
Ask any of the Staff about the feeding times of the sharks. Divers swim down and feed them with meat on the end of metal 'sticks'.
This is the Big One. It's a four-storied elliptical fishbowl with six centimeters (about 2.4 inches) of glass separating you from more than 2000 fish comprising 250 different species.
You will find a nice collection of Sharks, Tropical Fish, Morays, Groupers, Turtles and over 400 kinds of maritime animals from the Pacific Islands or the South China Sea.
There is so much to see that you could be a full day at it. Just avoid the weekends. The crowds will take any joy out of the experience.
Eat before you go or take some sandwiches from the bakery. Food at Hong Kong Ocean Park is very expensive and sucks bad.
Do You Think it is Cruel to Cage the Giant Pandas?
Tell us how you feel about the way Giant Pandas are treated while in captivity. Who honestly believes that any good can come from the captivity and abuse of these animals.
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