The park has consistently rejuvenated and reinvented itself to better serve its guests, establishing itself as a major tourist attraction both locally and abroad. Since its opening more than 30 years ago, over 100 million guests have visited Ocean Park. Over 5 million guests visit Ocean Park each year. In 2006, Forbes.com named Ocean Park one of the "10 Most Popular Amusement Parks in the World", and in 2007, Forbes Traveler ranked Ocean Park as one of the "50 Most Visited Tourist Attractions in the world".
Ocean Park was officially opened in January 1977 by the then Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Murray MacLehose. It was built at a cost of HK$150 million funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club with land provided for free by the Hong Kong Government. Between 1982 and 1984, the Hong Kong Jockey Club allocated a further HK $240 million to fund the Park's second phase of development, which included facilities at Tai Shue Wan and thrill rides at the Headland. The objectives were to diversify the Park's attractions, increase its popularity and revenue and utilize more fully the land granted by the Government.
A new Master Redevelopment Plan (MRP) for Ocean Park was unveiled in 2005, which will see significant upgrades to the quality and availability of features at the Park. The Lowland will be completely redeveloped into a new area called the Waterfront, while the Headland will be transformed into a fantastic new section called the Summit. The Waterfront will feature an exclusive themed resort and a brand new Aqua City, showcasing a Grand Aquarium with 3 levels of viewing galleries approximately four times the size of the existing Atoll Reef; the Amazing Asian Animals themed-area, which incorporates the themed Giant Panda Adventure, highlighting some of Asia's rarest creatures; a redeveloped children's area called Whiskers Harbour and an array of refreshment and retail facilities. At the Summit, guests can visit the Polar Adventure to feel the chill of the North and South Pole, or journey down river rapids to discover the beautiful Rainforest. Thrill seekers hunting for excitement need look no further than Thrill Mountain, while the famed dolphins and sea lions of Ocean Park will continue to delight guests at Marine World. To connect guests to these exciting new attractions, a first of its kind high-speed funicular express train will be built with the capacity to transport guests from the Waterfront to the Summit in less than 3 minutes.
Groundbreaking for the MRP took place in November 2006, signalling the start of this HK$5.5 billion project, which will be completed in six years over eight phases while the Park remains open throughout. The number of animal attractions and rides will be doubled from 35 to 70 when the redevelopment project is completed in 2012.
Going hand in hand with the leaps Ocean Park has made in terms of developing itself are the numerous achievements the Park has earned for its achievements in the field of animal conservation. In 2002, Ocean Park gained accreditation from the renowned Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), making the Park the only animal facility outside of the United States of America to earn this important industry recognition and validation of superior animal care, which meets, or exceeds world standards, as established by the Association. In 2008, the AZA renewed Ocean Park's accreditation for an additional five more years.
The Park's continuing commitment to...