Well, I am not exactly a theme park fan, because I prefer the natural beauty of the mother nature. Honestly, I did enjoy the thrill of amusement rides and the happiness of meet-and-greet with the loving mascot; as time goes by I lost that excitement except going there with children.
But today, I would make an exception introducing the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom – not because I think it is the absolute best in the world, but my visit did go better than my expectation and it was nice to post something new about Macau apart from Portuguese heritage, or casinos and hotels.
The Chimelong Group is a Chinese amusement park operator with several tourist resorts and theme parks in China. In terms of annual attendance, Chimelong is in the top 10 behind Walt Disney, Merlin Entertainment, Universal, Six Flags, OCT Parks China, and Fantawild Group. The Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is located on Hengqin Island and it’s crowned the most visited water park in the world.
Where is Hengqin Island?
Hengqin is a newly developed district in Zhuhai and a new getaway destination for locals in Macau. Hengqin is an island in Zhuhai, a city in the Guangdong province of the Southern China. The island had a population of 3,000 and it is about 100 sq.km in size. In 2009, part of the Island is leased to Macau by China, and the whole island is a designated a special economic district, similar to Binhai New Area in Tianjin and Pudong New Area in Shanghai.
The Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is part of the Chimelong International Ocean Resort on the north side of the island with five theme parks (in the planning), entertainment complex, hotels, and business district. The park opened in 2014 and the first phase of the park cost over 10 billion RMB to build. The entire site aims to become the “Orlando of China”, and though it can yet be a comparison. I did see some world-class infrastructure and design that are better than what I expected.
Well yes, it was summer and the theme park is packed with crowds which children were running, parents were screaming, and families were chatting loudly (almost like yelling). When if I could just try and filter out those noises, I find the beauty of the wonderful creatures having their moments I the aquariums, and it was nice to see so many different animals in a go.
The theme park is called the Ocean Kingdom but the animal collection is quite diverse. Many of them could not be seen in Asia’s urban area. (Well, I do hope they are treated well in the park by the way.) The park has a number of exhibit sites showcasing polar bears (and lots of polar bears), penguins, brown bears, belugas, manatees, dolphins, whale sharks, seals and sea lions, walruses, lots of birds, and a giant aquarium tank that housed millions of fish.
My favorite exhibit (if there was not a giant noisy crowd from mainland China), was the beluga and polar bear exhibit. The design of the tank allowed me to observe their way of life from different angles.
More, the park also features a number of fun rides, like a giant log flume, roller coaster, bumper cars, with fireworks, laser, and water fountain show to look forward to in the evening before the park closes.
What I like about the park is that the facilities are well designed to allow visitors a good view of the animals, and at the same time, there are spaces for the animals to move around in their confinement. I saw brown bears which were sitting on a man-made cliff so adorable and asking visitors for food; Polar bears were swimming in their habitat as I could see them through the acrylic viewing tunnel underneath the pool. In the penguin world, I could see penguin standing on the ice looking silly, or chasing each other in the water through a giant glass. The theme park breaks a couple of world records. The giant aquarium is the world’s largest aquarium tank, it features the largest acrylic window which measures a massive 39.6m by 8.3m. More, the whale shark exhibit also features the world’s largest underwater viewing dome. It was exciting to walk through the tunnels and saw so many fish dancing in the water.
It was nice to interact and observe so many different kinds of amazing creatures, and it always makes me wonder and de-stress. 😊