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We Celebrated Our Family Reunion At This Exhilarating Theme Park Because YOLO

Tripoto

I am well versed with the challenges that come with trying to bond with a larger than average family. But those challenges get magnified infinitely when your family is sprinkled across several continents. Disgruntled aunts and uncles chide you for not keeping in touch regularly, cousins are busy with their own lives, and nephews and nieces grow up alarmingly fast. So when my family finally decided to meet after more than a decade, and actually make a vacation out it, I wasn't sure if I was more excited or nervous. A family reunion with aunts and uncles I hadn't met in forever, seemed unfamiliar and somewhat daunting.

I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered we were going to Hong Kong for the reunion, but my surprise quickly turned into enthusiasm when I was told we were going to visit Ocean Park Hong Kong! Being an amusement park fanatic and an animal lover, it had been my lifelong dream to go to Ocean Park because hey, YOLO! This is a unique combination of a marine mammal park, oceanarium and animal theme park, all in one! Not only was this going to be an incredible learning experience, but it'd be the perfect way to reconnect with the family. I was chuffed, nervous and eager – all at once!

Thinking of booking a trip to Hong Kong? We've got the perfect plan for you.

So without further ado, let me present to you our top Ocean Park attractions that not only left us wanting more, but helped us bond in way I didn't think possible!

Experience the thrill of being surrounded by sharks

If you love the sea and marine life, it would be a crime not to check out Shark Mystique – a really cool exhibit with a large variety of sharks and rays. Apart from offering a 360 degree view of amazing aquatic life (like the rostrum, sawfish, zebra shark and plenty more), Shark Mystique offers some fun interactive games to test your knowledge. This was an absolute treat, not just for the little ones but also grown ups in the family and things got pretty competitive!

Timings: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Embark on a tropical expedition

Rainforest

Do you wish to embark on an epic adventure? If the answer is yes, Ocean Park has just what you need! Jump aboard a raft and begin your very own tropical expedition while your surrounded by exotic sounds of a real rainforest. My nephews and nieces were awed by the rare and exotic animals here. From the capybara (world's largest rodent) to the pygmy marmoset (the world's smallest monkey) and other peculiarly intriguing critters like the kinkajou and green aracari, Rainforest was one of the most attractive highlights of Ocean Park.

Timings: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Witness the wildlife of Australia

Adventures in Australia

Since my youngest niece is a total animal lover and is crazy about koala bears in particular, we had the perfect surprise planned for her. Our next stop was Adventures in Australia. Prior to my visit to Ocean Park I had never imagined I would actually get to see captivating animals, typical to Australia, in Hong Kong! It's hard to describe my niece's jubilation as she watched furry koalas perched on branches of trees, and let herself be serenaded by laughing kookaburras. We were also delighted to see the red-necked wallaby, springing from one place to another.

Explore the North Pole and South Pole in a day

Having an inherently adventurous streak, my dad and I have always wanted to go to the poles. Who knew we would get to explore, both, the North and South Poles, together, that too, in one day? Polar Adventure in Ocean Park allows you to do just that and more. Jump aboard the bobsled ride and let it take you close to king penguins. Along the way, you'll get to see arctic foxes, spotted seals, snowy owls and even long-tusked Pacific walruses! This experience gave us our fill of a fantastic polar adventure and proved to be an incredible father-daughter bonding session.

Timings: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Have hair-raising adventures

Are extreme adventures right up your alley? Like my cousins, if you're an adrenaline junkie, Thrill Mountain at Ocean Park is a must-visit. My cousins happen to be thrill addicts and absolutely loved the Hair Raiser – a roller coaster that lives up to its name! People dangle off a cliff on this floorless ride. If that is not crazy enough for you, you can hang upside down while you're swinging on The Flash. If you enjoy flying, let Whirly Bird make you feel like you're soaring in the sky. Also make sure you check out the super high-speed Rev Rooster for the rush of a lifetime. Although many of the grownups in the family steered clear off Thrill Mountain, my cousins and I had a fantastic time and ended up bonding like we hadn't in years!

Please refer to their website for more information.

Marvel at the rich marine life

Aqua City

Pretty much everyone in my family loves the water so it made perfect sense to head to Aqua City – a world-class marine-themed magical place. This was a hit with not just grownups but also the kids. Choose from exploring Grand Aquarium – the world's largest aquarium dome and be awestruck by the rich marine life it presents through a giant viewing panel. You can also watch Symbio, a multi-sensory show that features an incredible 360-degree water screen. Since we were feeling a bit grubby, we landed up at Neptune's Restaurant and enjoyed an amazing aquarium dining experience here.

Go back in time to a bygone era

For all the history buffs that wish to go back in time, Old Hong Kong at Ocean Park will be a thorough delight. Bringing to you the culture of Hong Kong from the 1950s, 19060s and 1970s, this is one magical experience. Such thought has been given to making this a truly authentic experience that Ocean Park has really gone out of its way. Jump aboard the Heritage Tram and be transported to yesteryear as you soak in the sights and sounds of a bygone era. Walk on pathways that have been accurately recreated to mimic old streets. As I would have expected, my aunts and uncles loved this section of the park. And I have to admit, it was truly a trip into nostalgia.

Have the craziest VR adventure

The youngsters in the family insisted they wanted another hit of adrenaline – but this time there was a twist. We were going to take it up a notch and do it the virtual way this time. So off we went to the VR Mine Train, and believe me when I say, this isn't for the faint-hearted! This ride opens you up to a whole new world when you strap on a VR headset. You can be wherever you want to be: from walking through a rain forest, diving into the ocean, to flying up into the sky only seconds later or evading attacks by robots. This roller coaster is as real as it gets! To make the experience even more authentic the roller coaster has special wind and other effects adding to the thrill.

Park timings: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Car park timings: 9:00 am to 30 minutes after the park is closed

Entry fees: Adult (aged 12 or above): HK$480 or ₹4,094; Child (aged 3-11): HK$240 or ₹2,047. Free admission is granted to children under 3 years of age.

Ticket Selling Points: Ticketing Office at the Ocean Park Entrance, Ricky’s Shack, The Lodge, Rainforest Gift Shop

Best time to visit: All year long. Plan your trip to Hong Kong here.

I can say, without a shred of doubt, going to Ocean Park Hong Kong was undoubtedly the best decision of our lives. Not only did we make some fond memories we will cherish forever, but had a great timing doing so. I am grateful to Ocean Park Hong Kong for helping me bond with my extended family, as I watched them return to innocence and relive their childhood – an undeniably amazing way to rediscover the joys of family.

Have you ever visited Hong Kong? What were the experiences you had there? Share you story with the growing Tripoto Community and help fellow travellers plan their holiday!

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