This week for our family field trip we found ourselves marvelling at Noah’s Ark on Park Island, New Territories. If you missed our last field trip, we were having lots of fun in possibly Hong Kong’s smallest – but most charming – indoor playroom we’ve found to date at 7xsmarter in Wan Chai, and you can read about our experience here.
This week the intrepid field-trippers were a jet lagged trio: One weary Mum, one even wearier Dad (these men have no stamina!) and one (unusually) not-so-energised toddler – Gracie, 3, who woke up that morning saying that she never wanted to go on a plane again!
Despite the jetlag, this proved to be a very interesting and fun trip as we’d never been to Park Island before (akin to a mini Discovery Bay in our book) and the life size replica of Noah’s Ark is a pretty impressive sight as you reach the shore. Built at the end of the beach, the Ark houses an exhibition space with models, interactive displays and games, two mini cinemas plus various creepy crawlies and other slimy things – all detailing the great flood and Noah’s journey with his family, plus of course the animals! Other attractions include: The lovely landscaped Ark Garden complete with waterfall, pond and 67 life-sized sculptures of the animal pairs emerging from the Ark. Also worth a visit is the Treasure House with its 15 discovery rooms, where kids can learn more about art, music, science, history and the environment through different sensory experiences, building stuff and generally getting involved with the various things to do and see in each room. There’s also a small outdoor playground (in the shape of an Ark… funnily enough!) which Gracie loved, and a large inflatable pool – not for paddling (!), but for seeing if you can throw balls into another smaller paddling pool to win a popcorn voucher. And not forgetting the daily kids workshops including acting, magic, creative writing, photography, athletics, music, science, architecture and cooking (unfortunately we didn’t have time to sample any of these).
We also didn’t have time to visit Adventureland, a rope course challenging you to tiptoe on a series of high tightropes with impressive views of Tsing Ma Bridge. This is aimed at adults as it’s apparently quite high, but there is a smaller version for children, including a rope tunnel and mini Tsing Ma Bridge. Jetlag cut our day somewhat short – so we also missed out on the Solar Tower – “the largest professional vacuum solar telescope in S.E. Asia open to the public” and the scenic Ma Wan Park Nature Garden.
Hits: The visually impressive, life-size (probably!) replica of the Ark – it’s sheer size was eye-popping; the mini cinema in the expo area of the Ark telling the story of Noah’s Ark with its 3D visual effects, fantastic sound and sensory effects making you feel that you’re actually in a storm (quite an experience for a tot!); the large screen interactive game of popping bubbles as the animals disembark the Ark; the peaceful and pretty Ark Garden with all the animals in their sculptured glory; the playground (never fails to please little ones!); the popcorn game, and the Treasure House for more exploring and the ability to freely touch (without being told not to for once!) The Ark is located right on the beach so if you have time you can hit the sand afterwards for a play and a paddle.
Misses: I can’t really think of any… unless you’re a staunch atheist! It was a charming afternoon out. We ran out of time but could have easily found more to do.
If you’re hungry: There’s a Park n Shop on Park Island; there are also various restaurants both on Park Island, plus the Harvest Restaurant located within Noah’s Ark itself. We ate at Café Roma on the beach, which was nice enough and does good pizzas – perfect for our fussy little eater.
Opening times: Daily from 10am to 6pm.
Admission: Adults $155 and children (over 3) and senior citizens $125
How to get there: Click here for all the possible transport routes you could need!