Ocean Park Hong Kong is an iconic destination for tourists and locals alike as it is a cross between a theme park and a zoo. It features animal and marine life exhibits, thrill rides, a playland for young kids, and a wide range of shows. I knew I wanted to bring the kids there when we were in Hong Kong as I remember visiting it as a child and I still have wonderful memories from it so I wanted the kids to experience it too!
Getting to Ocean Park
Located on the south side of the island, we took the MTR there (MTR South Island Line and get off at Ocean Park Station). It was very convenient as it brings you straight to the park entrance. No hassle!
I definitely recommend buying your tickets online beforehand, so you do not need to queue at the ticket booths on the day – I noticed the lines were quite long and boy was I glad we had our online ticket reservations, so we just had to scan our QR codes at the gates and we were in!
Time to get your bearings (and a map!)
First things first, get an Ocean Park map. The park is huge, so you definitely need a map to navigate your way through and if you want to try and cover the entire park in one day, make sure you go with a realistic expectation of what you can see and do in a day.
The park is divided into two main areas, the Waterfront (near the park entrance) and the Summit (on top of a hill where the thrill rides and penguins/seals are) and these two areas are connected by either a scenic cable car ride or the Ocean Express. The Ocean Express is a train ride that brings guests up to the Summit through the mountain but it simulates an underwater journey in a submarine. It’s air conditioned inside so its much welcomed on a hot summer’s day.
The Waterfront: what we did and saw
- Grand Aquarium – situated near the main entrance, the grand aquarium is pretty amazing as it houses an eye-opening collection of 5,000 fish from over 400 species. There are loads of sea creatures to fascinate children – from hammerhead sharks to sting rays and manta rays, starfish and lion fish to jellyfish and turtles, with several different viewing points along the way.
- Asian animals – we stopped by the Giant Panda Adventure enclosure to see the Giant Pandas Ying Ying and Le Le. We also saw the red pandas here too (yup, there are red pandas and they look nothing like the black and white pandas we often see!).
- Whiskers Harbour – this is the area for younger kids as they have many kiddie rides (ferris wheel, merry go round, train ride), carnival games, a playground and a theatre which showcases different shows throughout the year (when we were there, it was a Baby Shark show).
- Old Hong Kong – this street is modelled after Hong Kong in the 1950s. There are plenty of instagrammable spots and also stalls selling local street food (fried noodles, curry fish balls etc). There is a carousel here too and my girls obviously queued up for this.
The Summit: what we did and saw
- North Pole Encounter and South Pole Spectacular – my kids loved this as we saw many different species of sea lions, walruses, seals and penguins.
- Lunch at Tuxedos Restaurant – one thing I can highly recommend doing is to have to lunch here. We actually didn’t do any research prior to going to Ocean Park so we were just lucky we decided to dine here because as we were brought to our table, we realised that the highlight of this restaurant is the penguins! One side of the restaurant is a window into the penguin enclosure, including an underwater viewing area. We even managed to get a table near the viewing point. The kids were absolutely thrilled to be having lunch while watching the penguins waddle and swim around. Food was decent too.
- Carnival games – there are plenty of carnival game stalls here and we loved the whole atmosphere. We even had a go at some games!
- Ocean Theatre – this is where you get to see sea lions and dolphins ‘perform’. Do not expect to see an extravagant show as I think the park is slowly trying to stop animal shows (for animal rights reasons). You still get to see the dolphins swim around but my kids were rather underwhelmed as they thought they were going to see the dolphins and sea lions perform many tricks. Having said that, the theatre always fills up quickly so go a bit earlier if you want to get a good seat.
- Shark Mystique – we also visited the enormous shark tank which holds over 100 sharks and rays.
The Summit is also home to most of Ocean Park’s thrill rides but most of them are not suitable for young kids, so we did not go on any of the rides here.
Tips: what you should know
- The cable car line to head to the Summit, even in the morning shortly after opening, can be very very long. I suggest taking the Ocean Express up to the Summit and then taking the cable car back down at the end of the day. However, if you don’t time it right, the queues will still be long, and that was when our fast track pass came in handy.
- Buy the Ocean FasTrack pass if you plan to go on rides. This pass gives you 7 priority accesses for designated rides and attractions (including the cable car). You’ll be thanking yourself for getting this pass when you get to skip the massive queues and head straight to the front of the line like a VIP!
- There is a lot of walking to do in Ocean Park, so bring a stroller if you have young kids and wear comfy shoes.
- Pack a jacket for the North Pole and South Pole enclosures as it is very cold inside (even during summer!).
- Make a reservation for Tuxedos Restaurant so you can get a good table by the viewing point.
- If you want to beat the MRT transport crowd, try and leave the park 30 minutes before closing.
All in all, we had a great day out at Ocean Park. We were there from opening until closing and we didn’t even go on any of the thrill rides (and there are plenty!!). Perhaps a good reason to come back again next time when the kids are older!
If you’re travelling overseas with young kids in tow, read our tips here!
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