Feeding sharks from a cage or encountering eight koalas from Australia: those are some of the new experiences Ocean Park visitors will have when the theme park finishes building new attractions in 2014.
The plans were revealed yesterday when the park announced it had won the Applause Award, the most prestigious award in the amusement and theme park industry, at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo in Florida last week.
"It's the first time that an Asian theme park has won this award," said Ocean Park's chairman, Allan Zeman. Record-breaking attendance and creativity helped Ocean Park beat Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in the United States and Puy du Fou in France, Zeman said.
Ocean Park's deputy chief executive, Matthias Li Sing-chung, said Atoll Reef, the old aquarium that closed after the opening of Grand Aquarium, will be turned into a shark's den by the third quarter of 2014. Visitors may be allowed to feed the sharks under water, protected by a cage.
Another attraction, set to open by the end of 2014, is an enclosure that will house eight koalas, gifts from South Australia.
Two hotel projects are planned: Ocean Hotel at the park's main entrance and Fisherman's Wharf Hotel at Tai Shue Wan. They will be completed by 2016, Zeman said. Managers would like to revive Water World, an attraction featuring rides and pools for swimmers which closed in 1999, but have not yet secured approval. An ice-skating rink is also under consideration.