In fiscal year 2007/2008, Ocean Park received 5.03 million visitors awarding it the position of the world's number 15 theme park by annual attendance. This figure is well ahead than that of rival Hong Kong Disneyland's 4.5 million visitors. Covering an area of 870,000 square metres of land, the park is separated by a large mountain into two areas, The Summit (Headland) and The Waterfront (Lowland) respectively. The areas can be reached by a 1.5 km long cable car system, a shuttle bus, or the Ocean Express (train). As the Headland comprises several hills, visitors can also opt to take the world's second longest outdoor escalator.
The theme park currently has 19 rides, including two rollercoasters, but also houses 11 animal exhibits, such as a Giant panda habitat, a jelly fish and Chinese sturgeon aquarium, as well as a four-story aquarium displaying more than 2,000 fish.
Besides being an amusement park, Ocean Park Hong Kong also operates observatories, well developed laboratories, an education department and a Whales and Dolphins Fund.
Ocean Park Hong Kong was the first institution in the world to have success in artificial insemination of bottlenose dolphins, and developed numerous new breeds of goldfish.
In September 2007, Ocean Park Hong Kong increased its ticket prices by 12% and 14% to take advantage of the Golden Week Holidays.
In July 2009, Ocean Park Hong Kong announced that they would increase their ticket prices by 20% and 25% to pay a loan.
The park was built with donations from the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club (now Hong Kong Jockey Club) and opened on 10 January 1977. The park is operated by Ocean Park Corporation, which is a statutory board. It offers affordable marine animal education and entertainment and is a private organisation for commercial purposes.
In the early operation of the park, the main sources of income for the park were the ticket revenues and the fundings from the Jockey Club. Since the ticket price was low, most of the time Ocean Park was operating under deficit. On 1 July 1987, the government established a 200 million trust from the fundings of Jockey Club, under the Ocean Park Corporation Ordinance (Hong Kong Law Cap. 388). This separated Ocean Park from Jockey Club and became a non-profit organisation; it needs to be responsible for its own income and was allowed to use commercial means to operate the park.
It gradually raised its ticket price and the deficit turned into profit. In 1992, 3 million visitors visited the park. Since 1998, the East Asian financial crisis, aging attractions, and the passing away of the killer whale Hoi Wai meant that the park recorded a deficit for a couple of years. Although it was allowed to host 2 pandas in 1999 (named An An and Jia Jia), the visitor count did not go up and Ocean Park was forced to close its water attractions and the "Old Village" attraction and switched to bring in more rides in an attempt to capture demand from the youth market. Together with the opening up of mainland visitors under the Individual Visit Scheme, Ocean Park recorded an increase to 4 million visitors in the fiscal year 2004-2005, the highest since the park's opening.
Headlands Rides (山上機動城)
- The Dragon (瘋狂過山車) - A steel roller coaster with a maximum speed of 77 km/h with 842 metres of track. The ride lasts approximately 2.5 minutes.
- The Abyss Turbo Drop (極速之旅) - raises the visitors up and drops them straight down in free fall in 5 seconds.
- Flying Swing (飛天鞦韆)
- Crazy Galleon (沖天搖擺船)
- Ferris wheel (摩天巨輪)
- Headland Games (熱鬥遊樂園)
Adventure Land (急流天地)
- Mine Train (越礦飛車) - A steel "mine train" roller coaster with 678 metres of track. Opened in 2000.
- Raging River (滑浪飛船)
- Ocean Park Escalator (登山電梯) - At 225 m (745 ft), it is the second longest outdoor escalator in the world. It is outdoors, but weatherproof.
Marine Land (海洋天地)
- Pacific Pier (太平洋海岸) - Californian sea lions and different species of seals are displayed.
- Atoll Reef (海洋館) - A four-story high aquarium holding more than 2,000 fish in 250 different species.
- Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium (中華鱘館) - Another aquarium exclusively for 5 Chinese sturgeon.
- Ocean Theatre (海洋劇場) - Performances by dolphins and sea lions can be watched.
- Ocean Park Tower (海洋摩天塔) - A sort of observation deck that rises high enough for park-goers to survey the South China Sea.
- Sea Jelly Spectacular (水母萬花筒) - Opened in 2006. An aquarium built to display more than 400 jellyfish.
Lowland Gardens (綠野花園)
- Hong Kong Jockey Club Giant Panda Habitat (香港賽馬會大熊貓園) - Home to four giant pandas, see details below
- Sky Fair (七彩升空天地)
- The Amazing Birds Show (雀鳥劇場)
- Cable Car (登山纜車) - a gondola lift system that connects the park together.
Whisker's Harbour (威威天地) - previously called Kid's World
- Dolphin University (海豚學堂)
- Whisker's Theatre (威威劇場)
- Rides for Kids (兒童機動城)
- Tiny Town Games (創意遊樂場)
Bird Paradise (雀鳥天堂)
- The Aviaries (百鳥居)
- Flamingo Pond (紅鸛池)
A pair of Giant Pandas, a male named An An (安安) and a female called Jia Jia (佳佳), were given to Ocean Park by the central government in 1999. To mark the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty, two more pandas were given to Hong Kong. The pair of two year-old bears, a male called Le Le (樂樂) and a female named Ying Ying (盈盈), arrived at Ocean Park from the China Conservation and Research Center in Wolong in Sichuan province on 1 May 2007. After quarantine, they made their first public appearance in Ocean Park on 1 July 2007. A new compound was prepared at the park to house them on their arrival.
To mark China's hosting the Olympic Games, the Chinese Central Government made a gift of five rare Chinese sturgeon, symbolising the five Olympic rings, with Ocean Park as the recipient. Two were bred by the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute and three by the Beijing Aquarium. The fish made their debut on 20 June 2008. However the smallest one died the next day, apparently bitten by a barracuda. Although the advice not to segregate the sturgeon from other fish in the same aquarium came from Chinese experts, the marine park was still criticised for carelessness.
On 14 July 2008, it was announced that Hong Kong would receive another five sturgeon from the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association in time for the 8 August opening ceremony, to complement the four fish already in situ. The park's management decided to evict its sharks from their aquarium in favour of the new arrivals.
On 12 December 2008, a second sturgeon died of suspected maladaptation to change in living environment from fresh water to salt water. A third one died and two nine year old sturgeon were declared ill on 2 January 2009. The autopsy on the dead fish showed a laceration in the head area and a blood clot in the brain. The two sick fish, measuring 2.3m and 1.5m, were returned to the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute for expert care.
In July 2009 Domino and Domisa, two dolphins from Bayworld in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, arrived at Ocean Park. The dolphins, a father and daughter pair, were separated in order to ensure that they do not mate with each other. They will be introduced to other dolphins and form part of Ocean Park's breeding program.
Ocean Park has established a registered charitable non-governmental organization named Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK, 香港海洋公園保育基金). OPCFHK has funded various research projects on dolphins, horseshoe crabs, porpoises, giant pandas, snakes and birds in various Asian countries, including Indonesia, China and the Philippines.
Ocean Park introduced a waving sea lion named Whiskers (known as Wai Wai in Chinese) as its major mascot on 9 December 2000. There are 5 more members of the Ocean Park family: James Fin H2O (a shark); Jewel (a butterfly); Swift (a dolphin); Chief (a parrot); and Professor (a turtle).
In March 2005, Ocean Park announced a master plan to redevelop the park into the world's best marine-based theme park, doubling the number of attractions and firmly establishing itself as a world-class, must-see destination that will further strengthen Hong Kong as a premier tourist destination. In the next few years HK$5.55 billion (US$705 million) would be spent refurbishing Ocean Park, with new rides being installed so that it can compete with another major theme park, Hong Kong Disneyland. On 23 November 2006, Ocean Park held a groundbreaking ceremony for its redevelopment. The new Ocean Park's main two areas will be renamed 'The Waterfront' (formerly the Lowland) and 'The Summit' (formerly the Headland). Under the plan, the park would double in size, and new attractions added, to include a funicular train for transport from The Waterfront to The Summit, a new live animal show and an area featuring polar animals. The first attraction to be opened is the Sky Fair with a balloon for tourists to fly up 80 feet.
Ocean Park also announced that an MTR station, Ocean Park Station, has been planned on the future South Island Line in the hope that it would bring more visitors.
- Ocean Park Hong Kong Official Site
- Ocean Park Animal Close Encounters
- Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK)