Playtimes April 2014 - page 44

A day
in the
Do you know how much fresh water
is required to produce a single pair of
6,840 litres.
It’s astonishing facts like this that
can help transform your child into a
“green warrior” at the Hong Kong
Wetland Park.
Less than an hour’s drive from
Central, the park is located at Tin
Shui Wai in the north-western New
Territories. Situated on 150 acres of
serene wetland reserve, it also houses
a modern 10,000-square-metre visitor
It’s here at the Wetland
Challenge zone where the kids can
step into the shoes of an investigative
environmental reporter. Through a
Reconnect with nature and boost the kids’ eco-education by spending
an afternoon at the Hong Kong Wetland Park. The choking fumes of
the metropolis will seem a world away, writes
Katrina Shute
series of interactive games, they can
explore options on how to protect the
Earth’s natural resources. They’ll
cover topics such as eco-friendly
travel, protecting endangered species
and attempts to conserve water.
After hearing that worldwide water
consumption has doubled over the
past 50 years, my 11-year-old has been
on a mission to reduce her own water
Also for the little ones is the
indoor Swamp Adventure playground,
and an outdoor eco-maze which
will have the kids battling it out at
breakneck speed to see who can find
their way out first.
But the most unusual and
appealing attraction here is the
reserve itself, offering the chance
to step into an untouched natural
habitat teeming with wildlife. Prepare
to meander along pathways and
boardwalks, through mangroves,
freshwater ponds, butterfly gardens
and waterfowl habitats.
For some quiet time, pop into
one of the strategically placed “bird
hides” where you can sit alongside
enthusiasts with serious zoom lenses,
observing rare birds in their natural
environment. The black-faced
spoonbill and different varieties of
herons and egrets are all regulars at
the water’s edge.
As for the kids, they’re more likely
to be fascinated by getting up close
and personal to bright red fiddler
crabs and the burrowing mudskippers.
I don’t quite agree with my daughter’s
description of “adorable”, but these
wriggling, frog-like fish are certainly
unusual. They can be closely observed
darting in and out of the muddy
mangrove banks, but not to worry: the
kid’s shoes stay clean and dry on the
raised wooden boardwalk.
The park’s most famous resident
is the celebrity crocodile Pui Pui.
Translated as “Precious One”, this
saltwater beauty is believed to have
been an illegal pet dumped by her
owner in a nearby river when she
grew too big. After several months of
evading capture, Pui Pui was finally
trapped by authorities and moved into
her landscaped enclosure in 2006.
As well as the wildlife, the reserve
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