Ocean Park to give visitors glimpse of 'Old Hong Kong'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2012, 12:00am


Ocean Park visitors will have the chance, starting in early March, to travel back in time to a Hong Kong street typical of the 1950s to 1970s.

The new attraction, 'Old Hong Kong', was announced at the park's 35th anniversary celebration, and will feature old tenement buildings or tong lau, vintage trams, an old clock tower, a rickshaw and a colonial police post from which police directed traffic.

Food will also be sold at a dai pai dong, with visitors walking through the 35,500 square metre attraction after leaving the cable car station.

The clock chimes visitors will hear every 15 minutes may sound familiar, as they will mimic those from the former Star Ferry clock tower in Central.

Alex Chu Foun, Ocean Park's executive director in design and planning, said the American company that created the mechanical parts for the Star Ferry tower had also supplied the park's clock tower.

Said Chu: 'We are not replicating any old Hong Kong landmarks, but creating a brand new street that would be commonly found in 1950s to 1970s Hong Kong.'

Kee Wah Bakery will open a shop inside the attraction for visitors to buy local Hong Kong delicacies.

Allan Zeman, the park's chairman, said the idea for the street was conceived two years ago.

'Hong Kong has gone through so many changes and has torn down so many beautiful old buildings ... we thought it was important that young people and tourists should experience the old Hong Kong,' he said.

'It's a great fallback for young people who never had a chance to experience [the 1950s to 1970s].

'I think most Hongkongers will be able to come here with their parents and remember the old days.'

The park will feature up to eight stores with game booths inside, each with a different theme.

In one store, mocked up to look like a basket shop, visitors will be able to throw balls into a hoop. In another, decorated like a barber's shop, they will be invited to pull on strings that look like electric wires for perming hair for the chance to collect prizes.

The old tram car in the middle of the attraction may also look familiar to some older Hongkongers. The park commissioned Hong Kong Tramways to recreate a tram car from the era and it took a year to make. It will, however, be stationary.

'Some parks have Main Street, while Ocean Park has Hong Kong Street,' Zeman said, in an reference to Disneyland's Main Street. He added that Ocean Park's Hong Kong street was a new concept and was not in any way similar to the Disney attraction.

He said that for now there was no intention of raising ticket prices, adding that the park was in the final stages before beginning the tender process for developers to build two hotels, slated to open in 2014.