Monkeys, turtles, pigs, oh my! If your kids are looking for a truly wild adventure, Hong Kong has plenty of options for viewing, petting, and feeding animals. From mini zoos in the New Territories to turtle feeding in Central to a cultural visit to the Goldfish Market, this guide has rounded up the top spots to see cool and cuddly creatures with the kids.
Photo Credit: Mai Po Nature Reserve
Lush, green and unspoilt, the Mai Po Nature Reserve is a picturesque place for any bird lover. Managed by the WWF, the wetlands is a year-round attraction including the annual bird migration in autumn. For a small fee that goes towards park conservation, the park organizes English guided tours for visitors over the age of 4 on weekends and public holidays. There’s also free rental binoculars to fully appreciate the experience of birds in flight.
Mai Po Nature Reserve, Mai Po, Yuen Long, New Territories, Hong Kong, +852 2526 1011, www.wwf.org.hk/en/getinvolved/gomaipo, www.wwf.org.hk
Hop over to Mong Kok and take a tour of the lively Yuen Po bird market. Not only is it two of the oldest markets in Kowloon, but it’s extremely lively on weekends when bird owners take their feathered friends out for a stroll around the classical Chinese gardens. The Goldfish Market is just a short walk away in Mong Kok and once there, you’ll see shops hawking all manner of fish, turtle and aquarium goods.
Yuen Po Market, Yuen Po Street, Prince Edward, Kowloon, The Goldfish Market, Tung Choi Street North, Mong Kok, Kowloon,Hong Kong, www.discoverhongkong.com
Don’t let the name deceive you – there’s more to Kadoorie than simply a farm, though the pigsty is well worth a visit. There’s also animals native to Hong Kong, such as the leopard cats, monkeys, reptiles and wild boars. You can spend the whole day wandering around different pavilions and sanctuaries, as well as the enchanting greenhouses and landscaped gardens – we love the cactus greenhouse!
Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Garden, Lam Kam Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong, +852 2483 7220, www.kfbg.org
Formerly known as “Lychee Valley”, Tai Tong Organic Valley is situated a 10minute drive away from Yuen Long MTR station. There’s a petting zoo as well as a riding club, where there are classes year-round for all ages. With orchards and gardens to pick organic fruits and vegetables, it’s easy to spend an entire fun-filled day here! And it’s currently strawberry season so get your baskets ready!
Tai Tong Organic Ecopark, 11 Tai Tong Shan Road, Yuen Long, New Territories, Hong Kong, +852 2470 2201, www.ttlv.hk
As the saying goes: “Birds of a feather stick together” and it’s certainly the case at Hong Kong Botanic Gardens in which 700 birds and animals from around the world are housed outdoors in the shaded park. Your kids can get a glimpse of the animals up-close, watching the flock of bright pink flamingos interact in their large pen as well as seeing the rambunctious orangutans and lemurs in action, to name a few.
Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Albany Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2530 0154, www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/parks/hkzbg/
There’s another place to see horses besides The Races on Wednesdays! Bring your budding equestrians to the Clearwater Bay Equestrian Centre to see these majestic beasts in all their beauty. There are stables for horse owners and also holiday classes for kids.
Clearwater Bay Equestrian Centre, Lobster Bay, Lung Ha Wan Road, Clearwater Bay, New Territories, Hong Kong, +852 6398 6241, www.ceec.hk
Want a quick breather from city life or simply a place to take your munchkins to have a quick picnic on a bench in between errands? Look no further than Hong Kong Park – it’s conveniently located up a flight of escalators from Pacific Place and pleasant enough for a little stroll around the pond inhabited by koi and turtles year-round. There’s also an aviary housing 80 different species of birds and free guided bird-watching tours from 8am-10am every Wednesday.
Hong Kong Park, 19 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2521 5041, www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/parks/hkp/
This one is clearly a no-brainer if you want to spend the day ooh-ing and aww-ing at underwater life and, of course, the pandas! There’s also the Get Closer with Animals program that gives families a chance to swim with dolphins, pet a penguin, feed sharks and stingrays and more! Plus, it’s a good treat for any birthday girl or boy, because entrance is free with I.D. proof.
Ocean Park, Aberdeen, Hong Kong, +852 3923 2323, www.oceanpark.com.hk
For a truly personalized animal adventure, contact Jurassic Garage – founded by herpetologist and conservationist Goatee Toni in 2004, who regularly leads school presentations, corporate events and parties in the company of a few of his 1,830 animals from around the world. See iguanas, python snakes, giant tortoises, parrots, ferrets and a whole menagerie of creatures!
Jurassic Garage, +852 9743 2011, www.jurassicgarage.hk
A weird and whacky park that’s filled with plastic life-sized animals is about as far from nature as you can get. But, it’s pretty hilarious and your tykes will love it! There 67 pairs of sculpture animals to see in total amidst tumbling waterfalls and tropical foliage, plus there’s a Nature Garden, Windmill Station and another odd, yet potentially enlightening, Solar Cooking workshop to name a few more draws of this bizarre theme park.
Noah’s Ark, 33 Pak Yan Road, Ma Wan, New Territories, Hong Kong, +852 3411 8888, www.noahsark.com.hk