Attraction Review: Chimelong Ocean Kingdom

It's a weird thing to visit a bucket list park of yours. For so long you stare at pictures and videos of the place, carefully taking in each and every detail and telling yourself with all you have that one day, one day you will visit this incredible looking place. And then next thing you know you're standing at the themed jaws of a whale shark, marvelling at the ridiculously decadent LED screen above you as sea creatures swirl above your head. I'm not the soppy type - I didn't shed a tear when we arrived at the gates of Chimelong Ocean Kingdom. Instead I was just so, so damn excited to get stuck in to all the awesomeness that awaited!

Of course we hit up Parrot Coaster, the park's headline attraction in an awesome custom lime green B&M wing coaster themed to...well it's themed to a parrot, obviously. And it's incredible. Little bits of theming here and there but not too OTT as we found with a fair few of the Chinese theme parks. I would've liked for the ride to maybe have used more real trees here and there to create more of a gliding-over-the-rainforest vibe, but that'd a real nitpick.

The coaster itself, well it's pretty flawless. A gigantic, sweeping first drop into gorgeously paced elements. Giant, swooping inversions, in-line twists,zero g rolls, powerful helixes, dives into tunnels. It's just all so perfect. If you sit in the front row. I'm not an advocate of coasters that require you to sit in a certain seat, in a certain position on a certain day to ride well, but I'll make the exception for Parrot Coaster. Stunning coaster.

The park is very much like a Sea World style of place - entirely themed around ocean creatures (as you would expect for a park called Ocean Kingdom but hey ho) with a great mix of rides and animal exhibits. And oh my god, the animal exhibits are some of the best I've ever seen in the world. I absolutely adore animals and zoos, and I love them even more when you can see that real care and attention has been paid to creating the best environment possible for these animals to live in.

Probably the best exhibit of all is the endlessly impressive whale shark tank, which is also home to a variety of other animals including giant manta rays and elegant sea turtles. The tank also holds the world record for the biggest single pane of glass, woohoo! I honestly could have stood in front of that thing all day, it's truly hypnotic to watch the whale sharks just float by so majestically.

And better yet - there's a omnimover style dark ride that literally goes THROUGH the tank! OK, for the most part it's a shameless rip-off of The Seas With Nemo And Friends at EPCOT, but the through-the-tank sections are enough for that to be forgiven. The pods you're sat in even tilt backwards, so you're literally facing the water above as the animals glide over you. It's magical!

The other two coasters at the park are Mack watery things - the first being Polar Explorer. The entire coaster is houses in a massive fucking ice mountain and literally goes through a bear enclosure. There's a ditch between you and the bears but the forced perspective means you can't really see it so you spend the entire time anxiously anticipating the moment a ferocious bear jumps on board your boat and ends it all in one bloody, violent swipe. It really adds a lot of drama to an otherwise tranquil float down a river. The rest of the ride is standard water coaster stuff - and you get bloody DRENCHED. Needless to say we only rode the one time.

And finally, Walrus Splash. This for me was the coaster I'd pawned over the most on the internet. It's just a standard Mack SuperSplash, but I've forever been obsessed with the giant walrus rock theming. Walrus are some of my favourite animals in the world, so to have a coaster themed entirely around them was just awesome to me! What I didn't realise is this was yet another ride that goes THROUGH AN ANIMAL ENCLOSURE YAAAAY! For some reason it goes through sealions, but hey, I wasn't complaining! Such a simple way to really add that extra WOW element to any attraction.

The rest of the park is elaborately themed kiddie flat rides and incredible animal enclosures. Conor and I arrived at opening and really took our time, having multiple rides on the two drier coasters and spending ages watching the animals. Even so, we found ourselves done and ready to leave at around 4PM. There's not a TON of attractions at this park, and seeing as we don't really do shows we found ourselves not needing as much time as we'd anticipated. The park is opening an expansion apparently this year, but seeing as it was just dirt on our visit I highly doubt that's happening any time soon!

Chimelong Ocean Kingdom really is the most marvellous place. Everything is of an incredibly high standard, and there's a buttload to do even if you're not into shows like us. If you're spending time in Hong Kong or Macau I would 100% look into booking a trip to spend some time at this park - it definitely lived up to my incredibly high expectations and for me is easily one of the best theme parks in the world.

Talk later xoxo,