|Photo: Ocean Park Hong Kong|
Ocean Park Hong Kong — The Honourable Mr. John Tsang Chun-wah, GBM, JP,Financial Secretary, HKSAR; Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park; and other guests of honour officiated the June 14 grand opening of The Rainforest, said to be the first theme zone integrating water ride and walk-through rainforest exhibit in Southeast Asia. Featuring over 70 different animal species, the Rainforest offers the unique opportunity for the public to meet some of the most exotic South American Rainforest birds and mammals in an open aviary. Guests can also encounter Amazon species from a wildly different perspective—while onboard a raft rushing along the Rapids, the Park’s latest family water ride. Dozens of avian, terrestrial and aquatic animals living inside buttress roots accompany guests on their immersive exploration of biodiversity in an attraction rich incolours, sounds, textures and conservation messages.
Other guests of honour at the festive event included Dr. Michael Lau, Senior Ecologist, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden; the canto-pop group C AllStar, and renowned local cartoonist Mr. Chiang Zi-hin (a.k.a., Siu Hak). C AllStar performed a theme song specially composed for the launch of The Rainforest, with playful lyrics written by Chiang, who also designed four unique animal characters for the Rainforest including Capybara, Poison frog, Pygmy marmoset and Toco toucan.
Mr. Tsang said, “Ocean Park’s Rainforest will further strengthen the tourism appeal of Hong Kong and show the world how much Hong Kong people care about nature conservation—not just in the oceans, but also in the rainforests. I hope that visitors will be inspired to take action in their everyday life to help protect this wonderful planet.”
Dr. Allan Zeman said, “To provide our guests with a sense of the biodiversity in rainforests as well as the relationship between rainforests, wildlife habitats and climate change, we have introduced into the Park dozens of the world’s most exotic species, including the world’s strongest animal, the largest rodent, the smallest monkey, both the largest and smallest toucans and many more. Guests visiting the Rainforest will feel like they are right inside the home of our animal ambassadors as they can observe some of the animals up-close without the barrier of glass or netting. Our presentation has also reached a new level of realism as many of the exhibits house multiple species within the same space, much like the way different species live in the same habitat in the wild.”
Located at the Summit, the Rainforest is a key part of the New Ocean Park experience of edutainment envisioned in the HK$5.55 billion Master Redevelopment Plan (MRP).
Guests follow the Expedition Trail to enter the Tree House, where they meet some of the world’s most striking tropical species, many of which are being displayed in Hong Kong for the very first time, including the kinkajou, capybara, green anaconda, green aracari and more. Adding to the sense of adventure is the Rapids, a fun family water ride along a rushing river that surrounds the theme zone. Guests standing on the Expedition Trail can also share in the excitement by taking aim at passengers on the rafts below with water guns and water buckets. This sets a new standard of interactive participation in family water ride experience in Hong Kong.
The Rainforest also provides Ocean Park with a new conservation platform. Ms. Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education, said, “More than half of the world’s plant and animal species are native to rainforests, which makes them the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. The Amazon, for instance, is the largest ‘pharmacy’ in the world as many critical medicines, including those for diabetes, cancer and AIDS, are derived from plant species unique to the region. Rainforests are also the world’s most important carbon sinks, helping curtail global climate change and reduce ozone depletion. Guests will find in the Rainforest an oversize chocolate bar, a huge coffee bag and other items to remind them how they can help protect rainforests by choosing sustainably-farmed products that are rainforest-friendly.”
In terms of education, the Rainforest has a built-in classroom for new courses to be offered by the Ocean Park Academy, Hong Kong (OPAHK). Through these courses, students will have the opportunity to learn about Amazon species, as well as the importance of rainforests and their conservation. OPAHK is also offering ―Ocean Park Rainforest X Siu Hak Conservation Drawing and Comic Design Competition‖ as part of this year’s Summer School Programme.* The competition aims to encourage children and teenagers from 4-15 years of age to contribute to rainforest conservation by tapping into their own imagination.
Dining and shopping are also extra adventures at the Rainforest. Guests can indulge their palate at Rainforest Snacks before shopping for souvenirs and gifts at Rainforest Gift Shop and Rainforest Bazaar.
Dr. Zeman concluded, “With the Rainforest now open, Ocean Park will be even more of an edutainment hotspot to learn about the nature this summer. So I encourage everyone to plan ahead for visits to Ocean Park during the summer to connect with nature at The Rainforest and enjoy all of our fabulous attractions.”
* Details of the Comic Design Competition are available at the below website: