People have been filled with magical memories over the past 30 years, and there is much more in store For the past 30 years, Ocean Park has given more than 80 million visitors memories they will never forget. Many people who visited as children or as young adults years ago now bring their children and grandchildren to pass along some of the magic that they experienced - a phenomenon that Ocean Park executives call the 'generational value' of the park. Today Ocean Park turns 30, a major milestone by theme park standards. But, for this icon of Hong Kong culture, things are getting even more exciting. The entertainment centre was named one of the world's 10 most popular amusement parks by Forbes.com last June. The park achieved its best fiscal year in 2005-06, with a record attendance of 4.38 million people, record admission revenue of HK$538.8million and record in-park spending of HK$189.5 million. Prudent expense management meant there was also a record surplus of HK$156.5 million, up 31 per cent from the previous financial year. 'There is still a lot of life in the old lady,' said Ocean Park chairman Allan Zeman. 'After 30 years this is only the beginning. It's kind of like being re-born.' Ocean Park is undergoing a redevelopment costing HK$5.55 billion, which will be launched in eight phases between now and 2012 and will see its animal and ride attractions double from 35 to 70, a new funicular transport system, three hotels, more food outlets and retail stores and several new entertainment events. Chief executive Tom Mehrmann said: 'We will continue to build on our strengths, which are entertainment, education and conservation. 'We want to be relevant to Hong Kong.' New attractions will include potential crowd favourites such as: Skyfair - a helium balloon - that should be ready for the Lunar New Year; Whiskers Harbour, featuring the lovable Ocean Park mascot Whiskers; Thrill Mountain, with its high-energy rides; and Polar Adventure. Mr Zeman said: 'We are scouring the world for the best thrill rides. Each attraction will be world-class. We have also hired top designers and have challenged them to come up with something different.' Ocean Park's aim is to be one of the best sea mammal theme parks in the world. Mr Mehrmann said: 'We are a fun park with the differential quality of animals.' He cited the recently opened Sea Jelly Spectacular, a standalone exhibit with 1,000 jellyfish, as an example of why Ocean Park was different from anywhere else. The new park will cover about 49 to 57 hectares of the available 81 hectares of land, up from the present 28 hectares. When the redevelopment is completed in 2012, all attractions will be consolidated into two areas - The Waterfront and The Summit. Now they are in three locations: Lowland, Headland and Tai Shue Wan. 'By using the land a little better we will put together a more comprehensive theme park experience in which one's senses will be enlightened all the time,' Mr Mehrmann said. Ocean Park has been organising five major annual events to make the in-park experience stronger for visitors. These are Summer Splash, Halloween Bash, Christmas Sensation, Lunar Lucky Fiesta and Animal Encounter. Another event has been added this year: Ocean Park 30th Anniversary Party - A Celebration for the Senses, a food, music and flower festival that will launch the park's 30th birthday bash. Hong Kong residents will be able to enter the park at no cost on their birthdays and Hong Kong citizens over the age of 65 will enter for free while people with disabilities, together with their escorts, will enter for half-price. Calling Ocean Park the 'people's park', Mr Zeman said it was important to have a park like this in Hong Kong because the city was a fast-moving and stressful place to live, with few open spaces and places for recreation. 'Ocean Park gives people a chance to escape from where they live and put themselves in another world. And they don't have to travel far to get here.' After the redevelopment, visitors will be able to stay on the property in one of three hotels. The first will be a 600 to 650-room hotel called Ocean Hotel at the entrance. The second, Fisherman's Wharf Hotel, will have 460 rooms and overlook the sea and the fishing village in Tai Shue Wan. Thirdly, a boutique five-star 160-room hotel called The Summit Spa and Resort will be built on the hillside where the Headland is now. 'Our feeling is that if there are hotels, then we will have longer stays for the guests who come,' Mr Zeman said. 'The location is wonderful. Ocean Park has one of the most beautiful terrains, one of the most beautiful views and it is only 10 minutes to Central.'