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Take a Walk on the Wildside with Stingrays And


(18 March 2008 - Hong Kong)Ocean Park Animal Month - In High Definition is ready to kick off with an overwhelming range of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to interact directly with animals from around the world, including a walk in the water with stingrays, get up close with frogs and with marine invertebrates. Ocean Park also announced the renewal of the accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a validation of the professional work performed by the Park from the world’s leading authority in zoological care and operations.

At a media event today, Ocean Park unveiled the unique offerings of Ocean Park Animal Month - In High Definition. For a limited period from 21 March to 20 April, Ocean Park will present Hong Kong's first-ever stingray encounter, and Southeast Asia’s largest collection of exotic frogs. Additionally, Ocean Park will present the Hong Kong debut of world-record holding sand sculptors and their larger-than-life sand sculptures. The Park’s all-new edu-tainment and exclusive dining programmes with the Park's precious animal ambassadors round out the program for this upcoming holiday season.*

The Park also timed the unveiling of its new marine mammal show, Sea Dreams! at the new look Ocean Theatre, with this annual event. The premier of Sea Dreams! is presented with new sets, new graphics and an all-new, world-class production starring the Park’s dolphins and sea lions. Sea Dreams!, created by Peter J. Lehman, a key member of an Oscar-winning team, and Daniel Burzlaff, a veteran theme park show producer from Utopia Entertainment Inc. Sea Dreams! is an inspirational aquatic adventure with a touching narrative and powerful original soundtrack themed on the peaceful co-existence of humans and animals.

For further unique encounters, guests can venture to Tai Shue Wan for Marine Xplore!, and with a donation of $40 or more to Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK), take a walk in the water with a school of stingrays. Guests may also opt to feed the stingrays for a $20 donation, while viewing can be enjoyed free of charge.

"From my own experience at the stingray pool, I promise you there is nothing in the world that can compare with the sensation of touching and feeding the rays, and to appreciate their grace, at such close range, " said Dr. Zeman. "More importantly, this attraction offers our guests the option to make a personal commitment to conservation through donations to OPCFHK,” he said.

According to Dr Zeman, as of 21 March, OPCFHK volunteers will also be selling raffle tickets for $10 each at the Park every Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays until 12 May, with the grand prize of a Business Class trip for two to Tokyo. “Please give generously,” Dr Zeman said.

Still at Tai Shue Wan, and over at Sand-tastic Creations, stands Hong Kong's debut sand sculpture exhibit featuring sculptor Ted Siebert of the world-renowned Sand Sculptures Company. Ted and his team have set seven world records for the tallest and longest sand sculptures, duly noted in the Guinness Book of World Records. These award-winning sculptors will use 200 tonnes of sand to create striking icons of the Park’s animals - along with a few cheeky surprises - right in front of our guests' eyes.

Guests can also visit the Invertebrates Touch Pool to interact with beautiful sea stars, horseshoe crabs, and spiky sea urchins, before immersing into the breathtaking colours and surreal beauty of 300 live corals at Coral Exhibits.

At the Lowland Cable Car Plaza, guests can meet the world’s second largest African Bullfrog, one of the rarest Red Mossy Frogs, and 85 other exotic amphibious species from around the world at Frog Fascination, the largest-ever gathering of amphibians in Southeast Asia. “We wish to highlight here that 2008 has been named The Year of The Frog, and we hope that by showcasing the threats being faced by these amphibian treasures that we will act now to preserve their existence,” Dr Zeman said.

Ocean Park, together with World Wildlife Fund (WWF,) will also join hands for this event and feature a series of sustainable seafood recipes to guests through cooking demonstrations and interactive games, referencing WWF’s Seafood Choice Initiative.

Furthermore, the Park will present fun learning opportunities for all in the family, connecting all nature-lovers with precious animals through Marine Land Ed-Venture for exclusive guided backstage tours at animal habitats including Shark Aquarium and Atoll Reef. Meanwhile, Dining with the Wonderkind includes the Stingray Exploration with Meal*, as well as breakfast programmes at Frog Fascination, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Giant Panda Habitat.

The wildly popular Honorary Sea Lion Keeper Programme and the Honorary Giant Panda Keeper Programme also offer guests hands-on experience as a caregiver for the adorable animal ambassadors with exceptional photo opportunities. Details can be found at http://www.oceanpark.com.hk/opam08/en/index.html. Meanwhile, younger guests can sign up for arts and crafts and learn about fascinating animal and conservation facts at Green Earth Academy @ Kids' World.

Finally, Dr. Zeman also announced another first outside of the Americas for Ocean Park – which has just successfully renewed its international accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) # for the high standards in animal care and husbandry, veterinary programmes, conservation, education and safety. This marks the second time in a row for Ocean Park to receive this important recognition, making the Park the only animal facility outside of the Americas to be accredited.

Dr. Zeman said, "We became the only animal facility in the world outside of the Americas to gain this accreditation in November 2002 for a five-year term. The renewal just announced is a validation of the incredible work being accomplished at Ocean Park for the care and husbandry of our animals. This award really comes at an opportune moment as we salute our animals during Ocean Park Animal Month - In High Definition – our 6th since the first one was launched in 2003.”

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About Ocean Park
Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s unique homegrown theme park with a heritage of delivering family fun and fond memories. Since its opening in January 1977 as a non-profit organization, Ocean Park has developed itself to be a world-class attraction connecting people with nature, and recognized for its animal husbandry, research and relationship with the community. Over 85 million people have visited Hong Kong's premier park since its inception and Ocean Park has remained committed to offer adults and children experiences that blend entertainment with education and conservation. Part of the proceeds from the Ocean Park admission tickets and some retail items will go to Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong to support its wildlife conservation projects.

Dr. Allan Zeman and Foundation Director of Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong, Ms. Suzanne M. Gendron fed Stingrays together
Dr. Allan Zeman and Foundation Director of Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong, Ms. Suzanne M. Gendron fed Stingrays together