Qinghuandao, a famous summer resort in northern China, thanks to the summer travel must Beidaihe, is currently expanding its travel attractions by establishing a huge ocean park on the seashore.
Happy Ocean Park, about 40 kilometers from Beidaihe, or 10 kilometers from the east end of the Great Wall at Shanhaiguan Pass, covers 26 hectares and includes eight different sites and offers different entertainment services.
The whole park is decorated in a sea-green look.
Its entrance set amidst fountains, sculptures, and a large sea horse and clam shell decorated frieze, sets the mood for the wonders within.
The main attraction is the Happy Bay Area, where the shark hall, seal hall, fur seal hall, sea turtle hall, and exhibition hall for animals from the South Pole and North Pole are all located.
Over 60 sharks and dozens of seals are on display in the water tanks daily.
In the polar animal exhibition, polar bears, penguins and many other polar animals are raised in different pools.
Animal performances are shown in the Sea Circus Theater, where 2000 people can watch dolphin and sea lion shows or feed the seals in the seal pool.
The park even offers an opportunity for visitors to go scuba diving.
Lots of sea animals and plants make the scenery look the same as in the actual ecological system of a coral reef. Divers can dress in diving suits and go on a local deep-sea trip.
The park also offers 13 submarines for visitors without any diving experience. The park is the only one so far to offer submarine trips in China.
Seven submarines can take 50 passengers each and the other six submarines can only take four passengers per trip. Usually the deep-sea trip lasts 20 minutes and the four-person submarine trips cost more than the 50-passenger submarines.
Those who do dive here discover an abundance of both temperate and semi-tropical sea creatures. The fascinating world under the sea is available to all who visit the ocean park.
The ocean park features natural lighting to show the true colors of the exhibits, and a touch pool where visitors can explore with hands as well as their eyes.
An outstanding aspect of the ocean park is its depth ranging from five meters to seven meters. This allows the fish and corals to settle into different zones according to their preferences for light, feeding, water currents and safety.
The park recently opened a camp ground in the bay area, offering plenty of things to do while camping in the park. The Happy Ocean Park is popular with the locals as well as with visitors from surrounding cities like Beijing, Tianjin, Qinghuangdao and Dalian.
Happy Ocean Park also has two dining and shopping areas. Inside the park, both Chinese and Western cuisine, as well as exotic souvenirs, gifts and imports in various shops are available.
Admission: 90 yuan (US$10.80) per adult and 50 yuan (US$6) for children between 1.2 meters and 1.4 meters. Entrance to the park is free for child under 1.2 meters. The entrance covers several items but not all the entertainment services offered inside. Separate tickets are required for the submarine rides or surfing.
To get there: It takes about 3.5 hours to finish the 300-kilometer highway trip to the park. Drive along Jingshen (Beijing-Shenyang) Highway to Shanhaiguan Exit. Please note the road signs. Many of the signs are in Chinese and English.
Trains from Beijing Railway Station to Qinghuangdao or Shanhaiguan are frequent. Train tickets usually cost 30 yuan (US$3.60) for a seat and the trip takes three hours.
(China Daily July 8, 2005)