Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park

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Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park
LaiPark dino.jpg
Dinosaur house entrance
Traditional Chinese 荔園遊樂場
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 荔園

Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park was an amusement park on the west shore of Lai Chi Kok Bay in Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong. It was once the largest amusement park in Hong Kong, and attracted people from all walks of life in the territory.

History[edit]

Operation[edit]

The park was originally opened by businessman Cheung Kwan On in 1949. In 1961, Deacon Chiu Te-kan purchased the park and started improving it.[1] In 1976, the park started losing business to Ocean Park.

In 1995 the Ferris wheel was temporarily closed because engineers were dissatisfied with its condition.[2]

The admission fee started at 60 HK cents for both adult and child admission, but by 1997 it had risen to HK$12-$25. A monorail, which cost $13, let visitors get a view of the whole park.[3]

Closing[edit]

On 31 March 1997, the park was closed after the Hong Kong Government decided to use the land for residential public housing.[4] Many additional visitors came to the park as it was about to close, and there were 80,000 visitors on the last two days alone.[5] The animals from the zoo were sent to Shek Kwu Chau.

In 1997, Regional Services Department curators spent months negotiating with Far East Hotels and Entertainment to buy the amusements from the closed park, with their historical value. Popular rides such as the Ferris wheel and the ding-dong boats were moved to Hai Mun county, Shanghai where the owner Deacon Chiu Te-kan has family ties. The oldest rides such as the dodgem cars, were sold to Burma or demolished.

Renegotiation[edit]

In 2005 the owner Yau negotiated with the government to build a new amusement park on Lantau Island.[4] However no results have yet been achieved on this matter.

Features[edit]

Rides & entertainment[edit]

The park featured Theatres, amusement rides, sidestalls and various water games. Amusement rides included a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, a carousel, distorted mirrors, a gondola, a coffee cup ride, ghost house, and a ding-dong boat.[3] Knife-throwing performances also attracted visitors. An ice rink was part of the winter display, which also included a Snow garden where snow was created for people who had never seen it in the hot climate of Hong Kong.[6]

Dinosaur displays

Some of the names of rides and stops include the Song dynasty village, Twin Dragon, Space Car, Sky Merry, Monster, Dragon Coaster, Dark Ride, Astro Swinger, Astro Air Boat, Orient Express, Surprising House, Haunted Mansion and Grandish House.[3] Fortune telling was also available at the park.[3] Beneath the restaurant was Hong Kong's largest wax museum at the time, featuring many leading figures from China's history.[3]

Performances[edit]

Cantonese opera and singing performances in the park nurtured TV and cantopop stars like Anita Mui.

Lai Chi Kok Zoo[edit]

Lai Chi Kok Zoo (traditional Chinese: 荔園動物園; simplified Chinese: 荔园动物园; pinyin: Lìyuán Dòngwùyuán; Cantonese Yale: lai6 yun4 dung6 mat6 yun4), located on the west shore of Lai Chi Kok Bay, was a small private zoo which operated between 1951 and 1993. It had 21 pens in a crescent shaped grounds with a variety of animals from around the world, including binturong, porcupine, Sika deer, goat from Germany, Chinese alligator, lion, black panther, vulture, peacock, cougar (Mountain Lion), Bactrian camel, giraffe, Asian elephant, Saltwater crocodile, and Siberian tiger. In 1996, 12 young crocodiles from Thailand were brought to the park. All of them were offspring of the world's largest crocodile recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.[7]

Its star attraction was an Asian elephant Tino (or Tinnu) (天奴), While a baby, Tino was part of a circus and was given to the Zoo in 1958. It was the most popular animal in the 1950s to 1970s and suffered from pneumonia and was put down in February 1989.

After 1976, the zoo suffered from competition with the much larger Ocean Park. On 31 July 1993, the zoo was closed. This decision was hastened by the Hong Kong Government refusing import licences for new animals, it has since been redeveloped for residential purposes. Most of the remaining animals were sent to Xili Lake Wild Animal Park (now called Safari Park Shenzhen) in Shenzhen. Concern has subsequently been expressed about their welfare in view of criticism of the Safari Park's standards of animal care. The Saltwater Crocodiles remained at the Park until it closed in 1997 and were then taken to Shek Kwu Chau.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kuen, Chan Mai (25 October 1995). "I am far from a Superman". thestandard.com.hk. The Standard HK. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Delfino, Brendan (9 November 1995). "Big boys get to play on fun ride". thestandard.com.hk. The Standard HK. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Reber, Pat (21 February 1997). "Thrills and spills at Lai Chi Kok". thestandard.com.hk. The Standard HK. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Lee, Mark (11 October 2005). "Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park firm eyes Lantau". thestandard.com.hk. The Standard HK. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Wai-yuk, Billy Wong (1 September 1997). "Amusement rides lost to Shanghai". thestandard.com.hk. The Standard HK. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  6. ^ Eng, Dennis (19 June 1996). "`Indoor refrigerator' brings a little winter wonderland to hot and humid Hong Kong ; Chill out at Snow Garden". thestandard.com.hk. The Standard HK. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  7. ^ Pun, Pamela (16 February 1996). "Amusement park welcomes snappy young guests". thestandard.com.hk. The Standard HK. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°20′33″N 114°08′13″E / 22.3425541°N 114.1369253°E / 22.3425541; 114.1369253