HK Magazine Archive

What We Did at Lai Yuen Super Summer 2016

Lai Yuen is back with a whole new go-kart track, air-conditioning and, of course, Tino the elephant.

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 July, 2016, 3:41pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 5:18pm

The pop-up Lai Yuen Super Summer amusement park is back, with bumper cars, ball pools and an inflatable dino. But unlike previous years, this time around you won't have to queue up for rides under the blazing sun—the much-loved amusement park now resides in the comfort of AsiaWorld-Expo exhibition hall, making it bigger than ever.

The pop-up park pays homage to the Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park, which was built on the west shore of Lai Chi Kok Bay in 1949. Sprinkled with family friendly facilities, the park was the largest amusement park in Hong Kong at the time. However, after Ocean Park arrived in the 70s, business fell off. Lai Yuen eventually closed down in 1997.

But 18 years later in 2015, Lai Yuen returned to the city as a 70-day summer pop up, reviving the orginial park's classic Dinosaur House as well as replacing its star attraction, Asian elephant Tino, with a mechanical one.

This year, all new to the park is XRace, an electric go-kart track that's the first of its kind in Hong Kong. For an additional $280, you can hop on and blast down the 650-meter track in karts that hit up to 50km/h. “The challenge here was to find a track design that is able to give a lot of safety and a lot of fun at the same time,” says Michael Kolbinger, who designed the racetrack. “You have to find a balance between the experienced drivers and the inexperienced drivers.”

Also on the cards is the colorful Inflatable Mad Dash, Hong Kong’s longest indoor inflatable obstacle course, in which you clamber up walls studded with footholds before tumbling down slides seconds later.

We tested our skills and luck (well, mostly luck) at the game stalls too, before wrapping up the day with a nostalgic banana-throw at Tino the elephant, in which you try to land a banana in his mouth. Warning: it's harder than it looks, and poor Tino never looks very impressed.