The return of Noah's Ark

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 August, 2009, 12:00am

A new attraction is bringing Ma Wan - a small island in the shadow of the Tsing Ma Bridge - into the spotlight as an educational and fun destination.

Noah's Ark - the Biblical ship on which Noah put all the animals in pairs and rescued them when God flooded the world - opened in May this year and is the centrepiece of Ma Wan Park.

But Hong Kong's ark was not built to save the animals, but to promote 'family, nature and moral values'.

The Ark covers an area of 270,000 sq ft and features sculptures of 76 pairs of animals - among them some of the world's most threatened species - which appear to be walking out of the ark into a garden to greet visitors.

There are five levels inside the Ark, which houses a restaurant, an exhibition hall, an education centre and a museum for children. The top floor has a hotel and a hostel overlooking the sea, while Ark Adventureland outside features ropes and swings.

Most of the main attractions are educational. The 4D Theatre shows the problems and challenges our planet is facing, while St James' Settlement Ark Life Education House is aimed at inspiring visitors to reflect on what is important in life, with the hope of helping them become more positive, optimistic and enthusiastic.

The Treasure House consists of 15 discovery galleries that encourage critical thinking in a liberal studies environment, with fun-filled exhibitions especially designed for children.

Images of human sacrifice are shown during the screening of The Great Flood, which reminds us to cherish what we have. There are galleries on languages, plants, the planet we live on and why it is unique in the solar system, archaeology and many other subjects.

The Ark Garden provides insights into the animal kingdom amid waterfalls and ponds.

Night tickets are also available for visitors to enjoy magnificent night views of the island and Tsing Ma Bridge.

Only a small number of tickets are available on site, so it is best to book tickets online.

Meanwhile, there is more to Ma Wan Park than just the recently added Noah's Ark. Spare a little time to visit the Nature Garden, a free-of-charge, prize-winning garden.

More than 90 per cent of the 5.6-hectare park is covered in greenery mostly made up of native plants.

In the garden, you can find beautiful flowers. There are also 20 species of butterflies.

How to get there: Take a ferry from Central Pier No 2 or Tsuen Wan Ferry Pier. The timetable is listed on the website: