The Rainforest, Ocean Park

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 July, 2011, 12:00am


One reason Ocean Park continues to be a favoured destination for family entertainment despite competition from Hong Kong Disneyland is that the home-grown operator continually introduces new developments.

Most recently Ocean Park opened a new zone called The Rainforest, which features a collection of about 70 exotic animals and a water ride.

The boat trip (pictured) is designed more for casual scenery viewing than thrill seeking: it features only two drops, the greatest of which is from a height of 3.2 metres.

A few minor splashes await along the way, but how wet you get depends on whether you're willing to dish out HK$25 for a poncho, and where you sit in one of the 11 vessels.

As with most rides in the park, children under 122cm have to be accompanied by parents.

An alternative would be for the family to grab some of the water guns and buckets provided free of charge in the viewing balcony and shoot at passengers as they pass. For whimsical entertainment, though, don't miss the open-air pavilion at the side, with four lively parrots which erupt into loud choruses and, occasionally, fights.

At the indoor exhibition area, children will probably enjoy seeing animals such as the capybara (nicknamed 'water pig' in Chinese), and the pygmy marmoset, dubbed 'the world's smallest monkey'. But a visit to the green anaconda, 'the heaviest snake in the world', whose skin is put on display, may be a little scary for younger children.

Queuing for the exotic animals exhibition centre could be better organised, with crowds jostling around the outside foyer before being asked to walk in single file at the indoor entrance. Some of the viewing windows are tiny, which restricts the number of people who can look at the exhibit at the same time.

'More interaction with the animals would be nice,' said a visitor. 'I wish they had trainers who showed how the animals were fed.'

The zone's two shops showcase merchandise based on four animal characters created by local cartoonist Siu Hak, and parents can pick up cute little rucksacks and stationary for their children.

Most teenagers and young children will find sizes to fit them in the clothes racks, but adults will have less luck.

Verdict: The water ride and indoors exhibition are cool options in the summer heat, though not must-see attractions. The special merchandise, if only for browsing pleasure, is not to be missed.

Ocean Park admission: HK$250 (HK$125 for children aged three to 11), tel: 3923 2323.

The Rainforest is located at the Summit and is accessible through cable cars or the Ocean Express from the park's main entrance at Aberdeen.