On Dolphins, Penguins, and Panda Bears (Hong Kong Day 2)

Day 2 is Ocean Park Day!!!! Halata bang sobrang saya namin sa dami ng exclamation point?

As I’ve mentioned in my Day 1 post , we bought our Ocean Park tickets at China Travel Service. I have been carefully planning the itinerary for our day in Ocean Park as the park will open at 10:30am and will close at 7:00pm. Studying the map and the show schedule, I know that it is physically impossible to enjoy the whole park for just 8 hours.

This was a family trip so I consulted with the whole family beforehand what attractions they want to really see and what attractions can they forego; which shows should we not miss, and which shows are okay not to watch. That way we can really maximize our stay in the park.

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We rode a cab to the park. Since the hotel is near Ocean Park, it was just a 15-20 minute drive. We arrived at the park at around 10:45am. 15 minutes delayed from our original plan to arrive once the park opens.

Tip no. 4: It’s good to have an itinerary but have it as a guide instead. The park is really big and it’s unwise and would take a lot of time to transfer from the Summit to the Waterfront. However, do not expect that you can follow it to a T. You will just be disappointed. At mabwibwisit lang sayo asawa mo (based on true experience).

As soon as we arrived, we had the customary family photo at the front of the park. There was a professional photographer taking photos and we have the option of purchasing the photo only if we want it. No pressure, really. It can either be in a frame or inside a snow globe or as key chains. Prices range from 300 HK dollars to 500 HK dollars. If you are getting just the print, it’s close to 200 HK dollars per print. A bit steep, really. The good news is you can ask the professional photographer to take your photo using your own camera. 🙂 Pero mas maganda talaga kapag sila yung kumukuha eh. Di ko rin actually alam kung bakit. 

20150302_104046This was the one from my phone’s camera

We bought a souvenir photo with the frame and a photo of the kids inside the snow globe because well, we’re really those kind of tourists. Madali kaming mabentahan ng souvenir photo.

It was then time to enter the park. Even if I have a copy of the map already, I got a new one plus the show schedule for the day at the booth near the entrance of the park.

Tip no. 5: Make sure that you check the animals out during their feeding time. The staff who feeds them sometimes make the animals do tricks for the guests. And well, para sure na hindi sila tulog. Hehe. Also, it would be wise to plan your itinerary around the show schedules. So that you do not miss anything.

Ocean Park has two “worlds”. One “world” – the Waterfront is divided into three parts: Aqua City (the first one you’ll see), Amazing Asian Animals, and Whiskers Harbour. The other “world” is the Summit, which is divided into five parts: Marine World, Adventure Land, Thrill Mountain, Polar Adventure, and Rainforest.

I have decided even before the trip started that we were going to the Summit first as it closes an hour earlier than the Waterfront.

So the first thing we did was to line up for the cable cars. There was quite a line when we arrived and it took us a good 8 minutes to board one. Before we boarded, we had our picture taken again by the staff. Mukhang mukha siguro kaming Pinoy kasi sabi ni Ate in Chinese accent, “Mabuhay!”

Tip no. 6. You need to board the cable cars fast. Mapapagalitan ka pag mabagal. They only stop the cars if there’s someone in wheel chair who needs to ride. Pero kung stroller, bitbitin mo yung stroller mo at sumakay ka ng mabilis. 

The trip from the waterfront to the Summit takes about 10 minutes. The kids were really brave and behaved the whole ride. N was enjoying it and while M has qualms, she faced her fear and just refrained from looking down.

20150302_111730Inside the cable car, on our way to the Summit

The Summit

The Cable Car station at the Summit is nearest to the Marine World. So that’s where we decided to explore first.

Marine World. As it was already nearing 12noon when we arrived at the Summit, we decided to go  first to Ocean Theatre to watch the first show for the day of Ocean Wonders. Here, the kids saw northern sea lions and dolphins performed with their trainers.

Verdict: Good to watch. It’s okay. The show was not in English but you get a gist of the story line. N had fun seeing the dolphins jump and play with the trainer.

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The show ran for about 30 minutes. We were starving by then so we decided to have lunch first instead of going to the Shark Mystique. This was a big mistake as we became too lazy to go back and by the time we were ready, N was already sleeping. Shark Mystique is a really cool attraction. Imagine a tunnel aquarium full of big sharks and you are walking under it. Isn’t that so cool? At least, we have a reason to go back.

Tip no. 7. Make sure that you go to Shark Mystique. Do not make the same mistake as we did. After the Ocean Wonders show, go there immediately.

We decided to go to Polar Adventure and have lunch there as the next in our itinerary is the walrus feeding at 2 in the afternoon.

Polar Adventure. We decided to have lunch at Tuxedos Restaurant. It was an amazing experience for the kids as they had their lunch while they were looking at and playing with the penguins at the other side. Yep, the other wall of the restaurant is where the penguins enclosure is.

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Verdict: For the experience, this is definitely a must-see. For the food, it’s okay. Nothing extraordinary. We had pizza, wings, fries, and ribs and chicken platter with rice. The serving size’s pretty good though. Price range is well, the normal theme park range. We paid around 600HKD for everything that we ordered. But again, for the experience, it was totally worth it.

20150302_130800The kids were given the aprons as souvenir 🙂 

20150302_134010The kids had so much fun inside

After lunch, we went to the north pole encounter for the walrus feeding and the northern sea lion feeding. The walrus performed some tricks for us and N was mesmerized by how big the walrus was.

20150302_140631Hello, Mr. Walrus!

After this, N got sleepy and so since we were there already, we decided to forego the Shark Mystique (again, big mistake) and just tried one ride on Thrill Mountain – the Rev Booster and one ride on Rainforest – The Rapids.

For the Rev Booster, it was nothing extraordinary. I like extreme rides though so what may seem mild for me maybe extreme for others. But still, umiikot ikot lang ang ride na itoBumibilis naman siya pero wala, keri lang. Nabore ako. Haha.

For the Rapids, we brought M with us. You can buy rain coats there while in line. It, of course, comes with a hefty price of 40 dollars, I think. It comes with a free kiddie raincoat though. There are also storage lockers to put your stuff in but we left ours with my aunt, who sat on one of the benches to look after N. It was again, ordinary for us. If you have tried Rio Grande Rapids in Enchanted Kingdom, it’s somehow like that. I honestly prefer the one in EK than this one because the one in EK has more surprises and the ride’s duration is longer.

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After that, we decided to go back to the Waterfront using the Ocean Express. It’s like a subway train with underwater simulation inside. No outside views. The show is really inside the train. The only advantage of this over the cable cars is that this is faster. But I’ll choose the cable cars anytime over this.

The train stops near Amazing Asian Animals but we went to the Whiskers Harbour first to catch the Bird  show and the sea lion fun time show.

Emperors of the Sky. We caught the 3:30pm show. This is at the Amazing Bird Theatre near the Whiskers Harbour sign actually. However, it is still a part of the Amazing Asian Animals section so the map will tell you that it is located there. We were seated in front and it was a delight for N and a scare for M as there were different birds flying in from different directions near our faces. Again, the show was not in English so the kids had a hard time relating. As per the actions though, it was about a man who cuts trees and then the tree god got mad at him and sent birds to haunt him. Hahaha. Promise, ganyan intindi ko. If I will compare Ocean Wonders and this, I like this better because the actor was better.

20150302_152628The stage

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The vulture

Whiskers Harbour. This is a place for your kids. M and N tried the rides here with my aunt while we were waiting for the Sea Lion show. I cannot give a verdict on this as I was not the one who tried the rides but my kids enjoyed it a lot. There were also these areas where you can drive your own mini speedboat and cars using a remote control for only 20HKD. We did not dare try although Husband really wants to. Feeling ko lang sayang sa pera. Ako na KJ. 

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We then went to catch the 4:15pm show of the Sea Lion at Whiskers Theatre.

Sea Lion Fun Time Show. This may be N’s favorite show. We enjoyed it as well. The storyline and the tricks here are the best that we’ve watched so far. It’s actually a little better from the sea lion shows that we’ve watched in Ocean Adventure and Manila Ocean Park. Although I haven’t been back in years so I do not really know if they updated their story lines and the tricks.

We were again seated in front so it was really a good experience for N who did not take his eyes off the stage. It’s not in English but we were able to understand the show. However, M really wanted to volunteer but they were looking for Mandarin/Cantonese speaking kids so she felt a bit disappointed.

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That was the last show that we were hoping to see for the day. We then went to Amazing Asian Animals to catch the 5pm feeding of the giant pandas.

Amazing Asian Animals. Panda. Enough said. This was the highlight of my trip to Ocean Park. I was so relieved that they were not sleeping, that they were happily munching on the bamboo leaves, and that we even saw one sneezing, the other one walking. It was so cool. We were also able to see the red panda. My husband has the photo though so I won’t be able to upload it here.

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We also visited the Gator Marsh and Goldfish Treasures and the otters.

Aqua City. Our last destination for the day was Aqua City, where the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures and The Grand Aquarium are.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club houses the golden monkeys and some more pandas. It is a close enclosure though and it feels like you cannot stay long inside to ogle at the animals as there are tons of people behind you.

The Grand Aquarium does not have the underwater tunnel, where it feels like you’re swimming with the different sea creatures. Shark Mystique has that. There are tons of cool things to see in the Grand Aquarium though. N even had the chance to touch a hatched egg of a shark.

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We did not get that much photo inside the Grand Aquarium as the picture quality won’t be that great anyway and we do not want to use the flash because of the rules and well, because we know what the flash does to a fish. Hello Marlin in Finding Nemo!

You can also find the Aqua City Lagoon here. This is where we also watched Symbio, the super cool lights show, which is like the equivalent of the fireworks display in Disneyland.

While waiting for Symbio, we had some mock sharkfin’s soup at Old Hong Kong while the kids rode the Sea Life Carousel.

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Then finally it was time for Symbio! It has fire effects though so it might be a bit overwhelming for kids. But all in all, we enjoyed this.

20150302_190919Symbio!

Aside from us missing Shark Mystique, it was a really enjoyable experience for the family. It was our first time to see a panda bear. It was our first time to see sea lions that big. It was our first time to see a walrus. Our N is really an animal lover and that day was supposedly just for him. So it was really surprising that all of us thoroughly enjoyed our experience here as well.

Few more tips:

Tip no.8. Bring a stroller for your kids. The park is really big. Maraming pababa at paakyat na lugar. Feeling ko nga nagmarathon ako. Naghahanap an actually ako ng wheelchair para sakin.

Tip no.9. Wear rubber shoes or comfy sneakers. Even for the kids. Wag pahirapan ang sarili ninyo.

Tip no. 10. If the weather says 18degrees, the temperature at the Park is close to 14 degrees. Bundok eh. Ocean pa. Malamig talaga. So bring extra outer wear for the kids. Better to bring something to protect their ears too.

Ending Day 2. It was finally time to go back to the hotel. Getting a cab back to the hotel is easy. Our cab fare just amounted to 60HKD. That was the cheapest cab fare we’ve paid so far. We packed our stuff as tomorrow is the start of a new adventure – Hong Kong Disneyland Resort!

Watch out for my blog entry on our stay in Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and our experience in the Park.

-dancewithnikz-

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