Ocean Park Hong Kong is a major theme park with an aquatic and conservation theme. It’s a must-do for families visiting Hong Kong, particularly for children under 5 years, with animal exhibits, rides and a play area that’s perfect for little ones.
Here are my top 11 tips for visiting Ocean Park Hong Kong with young kids.
Ocean Park Hong Kong is particularly popular with Chinese mainland visitors, even those without kids (lots of elderly people wandering around). So if you can arrange it it’s better to go on off-peak days. Hong Kong residents have annual passes which means on weekends, public holidays and school holidays it’s a popular destination for locals.
We visit first thing on New Year’s Day because it is our only free day. We are worried about the potential crowd but it seems that most of Hong Kong is still asleep from New Year’s Eve festivities the park is not crowded at all.
Get there no later than 10am
Ocean Park Hong Kong opens at 10am and it’s worth being there when the gates open so that you can beat the crowds. Tour buses and mainland tourists don’t seem to arrive until 11 or later.
Book your discount tickets ahead of time
To save queueing up at the ticket office book your tickets online. We buy discount tickets via Klook. The tickets arrive immediately and you don’t need to print them out, just scan them from your mobile.
Travel by MTR
The new South Island MTR line opened 28 December 2016 and the Ocean Park stop is right at the front entrance. There’s no easier way to arrive and our trip from centrally located Wan Chai to Ocean Park takes 25 minutes.
Download the app
Before you go download the Ocean Park mobile app. You can check wait times for attractions, browse maps and see schedules.
- Go up on the train, down in the cable car
Ocean Park is split up into two levels – the Waterfront level where the main entrance and MTR stop is, and the Summit level where the thrill rides and seals are located.
You cannot walk between the two sites and can access only them by cable car or train.
The cable car at Ocean Park is the iconic ‘ride’ and it’s definitely worth trying if you’re not afraid of heights. The views of the steep mountains and the water are spectacular. The only problem is that it’s the first thing people head for so queues can get very long very quickly.
A better approach is to take the Ocean Express train up to the Summit then ride the cable car down to the Waterfront. The train is less crowded in the mornings and they can pack in more people per trip. Conversely the cable car is less crowded in the afternoons (except towards closing time).
- Visit the Grand Aquarium, Asian Animals and Whisker’s Harbour first
If you have little kids you will find that you spend most of your time in the Waterfront level. Visit the Grand Aquarium and wind your way through tunnels and tanks, see pandas and Chinese Alligators at the Asian Animals exhibit and then play at the Whisker’s Harbour play area.
Our kids could have happily stayed in the Waterfront level, particularly Whisker’s Harbour all day. There’s a carousel, miniature train, carnival games (extra cost), a small ferris wheel, jumping castle and playground.
- Thrill rides are at top level
The thrill rides are at The Summit and most of them are too advanced for under 5s. The only ride we thought suitable was the bumper cars but the wait was 30 mins.
The seals and sea lions home and the marine life theatre are also at The Summit but we are too tired to visit at that point.
When you leave The Summit and take the cable car down you will walk through ‘Old Hong Kong’ which is modelled on the streets of 1950s Hong Kong. Great for photo ops!
Bring a hat, sunscreen, snacks and a water bottle
My tactic for dealing with queues is to use the time to go to the toilet, apply sunscreen and eat snacks.
There’s not a lot of shelter while you’re lining up so bring a hat for hot days.
It’s ok to bring a pram
Ocean Park covers a large area and if you have young kids it’s worth taking a stroller just so they can have a rest while you cover longer distances.
The site is very pram-friendly, with wide paths and accessible ramps/lifts where necessary. Sometimes we get to go to the front of the queue because we have a stroller – for instance, at the entrance head far left where there’s a separate stroller entrance. The only time we have to fold it is in the cable car.
No one seems to worry about leaving prams around if you’re going on a ride. You can also hire a pram if you don’t want to bring your own.
If you are lugging around lots of gear, near the entrance after you pass the ticket gates there is a room on the right with storage lockers.
There are both Asian and Western restaurants in Ocean Park and we opt for a sit-down lunch at the cafeteria style Panda Cafe. The food is surprisingly decent and the kids meal is a huge selection of spaghetti bolognese, chicken nuggets, chips, jelly, soy milk AND ice cream.
There are also Asian snacks within Old Hong Kong and next time I might try the Tuxedos restaurant where you can look right into the penguin’s water tank!
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