Ocean Park unveils vision for new water playground for 2017

Surfing and high-speed slide among list of attractions scheduled to open in 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 3:23am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 11:41am

An indoor surfing simulator, a high-speed slide and wave pools will be among the 13 attractions that will be on offer at Ocean Park's new water playground, which is set to open in the summer of 2017.

The rides, to be built on the slopes above Tai Shue Wan, south of Aberdeen, will give visitors "a feeling that they are sliding down into the sea", the park's executive director of design and planning, Celine Cheung Wing-yee, said.

Since Ocean Park closed its Water World in the 1990s, fans have been demanding its revival.

Cheung yesterday said that while the new as-yet-unnamed water park, with space for up to 7,000 visitors, would not exactly revive the old rides, the new ones would be similar but better.

One of the rides is a "mat racer", on which people go down a long slide sitting not on their bottoms but on mats. The mats reduce friction between the body and the slide, allowing riders to shoot downwards at high speeds.

Another ride is a surfing simulator, where swimmers can "surf" on a board.

"It will be very hard to stay on the surfboard, but that's the funny part," Cheung said.

There will also be two wave pools, one indoors and the other outdoors.

Further, two new attractions, featuring sharks and koalas, will open at the park this year.

Shark Mystic, with 100 sharks of 15 species, will open in July in the old multi-storey aquarium that was replaced by the Grand Aquarium in 2011.

Four koalas - later to double to eight - will welcome visitors when Adventures in Australia opens in December.

The two attractions are expected to bring five to 10 per cent more visitors to the theme park, chairman Allan Zeman said.

Visitor numbers grew just one per cent last year from 2012 because of a reduction in group visitors, he revealed.

New tourism laws on the mainland that ban shopping tours have dragged down the number of such visitors to the city. Zeman said the number at Ocean Park dropped 30 per cent year on year from October to November.