Ocean Park is making this holiday season extra meaningful by launching the “Blue Matters – Promoting Debris Free Oceans” campaign during its ever-popular Christmas Sensation event, which features the Aqua Voyage aerial spectacular, performed by a world-class acrobatic troupe from Australia, and all-new presentations at Ocean Theatre and Whiskers Harbour to promote awareness of marine conservation. During the Christmas and Chinese New Year period, close to 2 million guests are expected to be presented with marine conservation messages as they connect with nature at Ocean Park. The Park also increased the number of water fountains to nine in total and introduced an exclusive reusable souvenir bottle to engage the public in helping reduce the use of 100,000 plastic bottles during the holiday season.
Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “Ocean Park will be transformed into an underwater world, offering our guests a maritime Christmas, highlighted by the Aqua Voyage aerial spectacular, specifically choreographed for Ocean Park by a world-class acrobatic troupe from Australia; all-new presentations at Ocean Theatre and Whiskers Harbour; and a host of fun activities for the entire family. Christmas at Ocean Park is particularly meaningful as messages about marine conservation are integrated into various presentations, with the aim of inspiring local guests and tourists to help protect the planet by taking conservation action.”
Aqua Voyage, an all-new aerial spectacular specifically choreographed for Ocean Park, will be presented by 18 top performers from Australia and Zimbabwe at the Waterfront Plaza five times a day from 14 December 2013 to 16 February 2014*. The adventure story is about how a young girl, lost in a storm, discovers a mysterious underwater world, along with her encounters with fanciful sea fairies and colourful seas urchins. Audiences will come away with the message that humans are deeply connected with oceans and marine life.
Some of the highly experienced members of the troupe have taken part in the production of blockbusters such as The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Superman Returns and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Tredder. Aqua Voyage features mesmerizing lighting and sound effects, making every performance a feast for the senses. The show combines stunts, dance and acrobatics to create graceful motions as the performers challenge the limits of the human body in perfectly timed moves, including quadruple trapeze, aerial silk dance, the daring “Flying Fox”, and other jaw-dropping jumps and somersaults. The realistic backdrop design and stunning lighting and sound effects all add to the extraordinary experience.
An all-new presentation at Ocean Theatre will also premier during Christmas Sensations. Ocean Wonders is an adventure story of the peaceful coexistence between young people and the ocean. Featuring moments of excitement and tenderness, the presentation aims to impart on audiences the importance of caring for the seas. Additionally new to the theatre are pre-show interactive games that provide guests an opportunity to learn interesting facts about Ocean Park’s animal ambassadors, which adds educational value to the entertaining experiences.
Ms. Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education, said, “Through our dolphins and seas lions, which participate in the presentations by displaying behaviours that can be seen in the wild, such as leaping, swimming and breaching the water, our guests have a chance to see these animals, learn about their biology and appreciate their beauty. We use the story-telling approach to connect the audience with the animals, and create long-lasting emotional bonds that instil in our guests love and care for these animals – and in turn, inspire them to take conservation actions in their daily lives to ensure the animals are able to live healthy and productive lives.”
Ms. Gendron added, “To further enhance the educational elements in our presentation, we use an LED wall to illustrate the dolphins’ behaviours, which are equally observable in the wild. For example, dolphins are often found breaching the water and doing jumping actions as part of their playing and interaction with other dolphins. They are also found beaching on shorelines and shallow coasts while in search of fish. One more important function of the LED wall is to allow us to incorporate different languages into the presentation, further expanding our reach to guests of different nationalities and origins.”
Ocean Park specifically engaged Mr. Chris Babida, one of Asia’s most respected composers, to serve as music director for Ocean Wonders and create its theme song, which was sung by pop star JW. When composing music for the presentation, Babida imagines himself as its protagonist in order to come up with a distinctive arrangement involving different instruments and the sound of ocean waves.
The new Ocean Heroes presentation at Whiskers Harbour will give kids a brand new experience as well. In an atmosphere filled with song and dance, Whiskers will take young guests on an unforgettable undersea journey for a fun lesson about marine conservation and the impact of ocean debris. Joining Whiskers are other beloved mascots like James, Swift and Professor, all to help teach kids about sorting debris and help clean up the ocean. “Little Fish Keeps You Company”, the presentation’s cheerful theme song was composed by songwriter Ronald Ng and sung by Angela Hui.
Through a new interactive kinetic game at Sea Jelly Spectacular, guests can learn about the threat plastic bags pose to marine animals. As some species of sea turtles feed on sea jelly, they face mortal danger when mistaking plastic bags for food.
Kids will love to visit Whiskers Christmas Fun House, where they can take part in games at Whiskers House Party and join Santa in sorting debris collected from the seas for recycling. At Green Gift Wrap Workshop, young guests can learn to make unique Christmas gifts using eco-friendly reusable packaging, thereby helping spread conservation messages as they exchange gifts with loved ones. Starry Sea Square, already decorated with a marine-themed Christmas topiary with aquatic ornaments and big corals all around, is where Santa and friends will join guests to cheer the nightly lighting ceremony and enjoy the beautiful singing of the Voices of the Ocean Christmas choir. Guests can also look forward to meeting Saint Nick in surprising looks at various spots throughout the park.
Being a leader in environmental sustainability among theme parks worldwide, Ocean Park has in place a wide range of waste reduction and diversion measures, including placing nearly 180 recycling bins within the Park and recycling used park maps at four collection stations to encourage guests to recycle plastic bottles, paper and aluminium cans. During the 2012/13 fiscal year alone, the Park collected 13,000 kg of plastic bottles, amounting to about 500,000 bottles, which were donated to Yan Oi Tong EcoPark Plastic Resources Recycling Centre. Also, biodegradable plastics are featured extensively at Ocean Park, ranging from drinking straws, dining utensils, shopping bags, food containers, cups and more. Starting today, guests who purchase an exclusive reusable souvenir bottle will receive two soft drink coupons for refills at food kiosks and three designated restaurants, as well as $2 discount on future refills with the reusable bottle. The initiative aims to encourage guests to help reduce waste by using reusable bottles. The number of water fountains has also been increased to nine in total, making it easier for guests to fill their water bottles.
More initiatives will be launched under the “Blue Matters – Promoting Debris Free Oceans” campaign inside and outside Ocean Park to raise awareness of marine conservation over the coming year. Bringing creativity to conservation, Ocean Park will collaborate with the Education Bureau and local illustrator Chocolate Rain to hold student drawing and writing contests. Other initiatives open to the public include the annual events World Oceans Day, International Coastal Cleanup and more.
This year’s Christmas Sensation perfectly integrates exhilarating performances, entertaining programmes for the entire family, and promotion of marine conservation, promising wave after wave of merry surprises. The Park has invited seven emerging illustrators, including Maggiemarket, TSE SAI PEI the incapable, JieJieHK, myHKwife, Lobintan Fans Club, I’m Cabin Crew and Yan’s Comic Diary, to create enchanting drawings that depict fun times with friends and loved ones at Ocean Park. These images will be gradually unveiled on Ocean Park’s Instagram @hkoceanpark. Guests can also take part in the “Celebrate a Serene Marine Christmas!” photo competition by sharing photos or videos themed on “Ocean Park Marine Christmas” through Facebook or Instagram for a chance to win a digital camera or dining vouchers. For more details on the competition, please visit: http://bit.ly/opxmas
* The Aqua Voyage show will only be performed on Saturdays and Sundays from 6 - 30 January 2014.