Mystery shopper - Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park | attractionsmanagement.com
POST YOUR JOB ONLINE
Free ezine/digital edition sign up
Jobs   News   Features   Video    Products   Profiles   Magazine   Handbook   Advertise  
Mystery shopper
Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park

A new Ocean Park operated by China’s largest theme park company has opened near Shanghai. Alice Davis paid a visit.

By Alice Davis | Published in Attractions Management 2019 issue 1

The newly opened Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park is located on the coast of the New Pudong District, perched on eastern China’s coastline, about 80 kilometres from the centre of the world’s most populated city. Supplemented by other attractions, Haichang Ocean Park Holdings currently owns and operates nine major marine theme parks across China.

The US$795m Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park is easily accessible from downtown Shanghai by the number 16 Metro Line (CN¥10, US$1.50). From the penultimate station, Lingang Avenue, a shuttle bus reportedly runs. I expected a dedicated park bus yet saw no sign of one; however, you can take the regular 1135 public bus from the Metro station directly to its terminal stop right outside the park (CN¥1, US$0.15). The total journey is approximately 90 minutes from Shanghai, with the Haichang park farther from the city than the nearby Shanghai Disneyland. The area has a ‘middle of nowhere’ feel about it, but seems to be yet another new district that’s being rapidly developed; no doubt the zone will look completely different 18 months from now.

For foreigners, it isn’t possible to book tickets via the park’s website as a Chinese ID card is needed to make an online booking. I had no trouble buying a ticket at the entrance on the morning I arrived (CN¥299, US$45). The park opens at 9.30am, when there were plenty of people milling around but no queues. Chinese citizens who buy online via their WeChat or Alipay app simply scan a QR code to enter the park. I was given a paper ticket and a map of the facility. I was pleased to find it was in English, as were many of the signposts and interactives in the park.

Five zones
This single-gate attraction is only open until 5pm – though this may be a seasonal schedule – and there is more than enough on offer to fill a day. The Qiulian River runs through the centre of the park, with two wide bridges connecting the two sections. Alternatively, visitors can take the colourful cable cars to traverse the site from the volcano-themed Whale Shark Hall at one end of the park to the snow-covered mountain Arctic Hall at the other.

These large structures, alongside some of the more garish themed areas, stand out from a distance, making the theme park exceptionally easy to navigate. Surrounded by water and reasonably well planted with trees, flowers and shrubbery, the landscaping is very pleasant and the park infrastructure is built to a high standard. A monster orange and purple rollercoaster, Steel Dolphin, straddles the river and weaves through a large portion of the site.

The park itself is divided into five different themed zones: Underwater Wonderlands, Ocean Tribes, Polar Town, Mermaid Bay, and Snow Kingdom.

My first stop was the Coral and Jellyfish Aquarium. The ever-popular clownfish are on show here, swimming with other exotic reef-dwelling species, while the next area is a dark mirror-lined room filled with huge cylindrical tanks, each containing a different type of jellyfish.

Inside the volcano, an enormous tank hosts the mermaid show, featuring six mermaids and a further four performers, who were graceful and quite beautiful. But it was their freediving skill in a tank that must be some 30m (100ft) high that was the most impressive feat.

Other tanks in the zone are home to several different species of shark. As with all the ocean life on display, the animals looked healthy and their habitats were clean and well maintained, though I believe that some of the larger species like the belugas and manatees should have had significantly larger aquariums.

Live animal shows
There are several live animal shows on offer at Haichang’s park. I attended the dolphin show at 11.30am, which featured four dolphins and trainers performing to an audience inside of an indoor theatre.
At the orca show, two orcas and their trainers performed. The trainers did not get in the water but controlled the animals by gesture and reward. The orcas performed several leaps and splashed the crowds with their tails, and are also trained to jump out of the water onto the pool’s shallow platform a few times.

The whole event was bookended by a story about a little boy who dreams of his cuddly killer whale toy coming to life to take him on an underwater adventure, shown on a gigantic screen above the outdoor pool. The premise of the story is that we will learn to love sealife more and become “caretakers” of our oceans, but entertainment, not education, is certainly the core driver of these live cetacean shows. The orcas and dolphins looked healthy and neither of the shows lasted more than 20 minutes.

Although the orcas didn’t demonstrate purely ‘natural behaviours’ as SeaWorld now pertains to do, the activities did not cross the line into what could be described as a ‘circus’ performance. Both shows were full to capacity and the thousands-strong audience went wild. However, I can’t help but ask when the attractions industry will formally and unilaterally denounce the building of any new parks with captive killer whales.

More attractions
Over in the Arctic Hall and Sea Mammal Habitat, visitors can see the rest of the park’s animal exhibits, which include sea lions, otters, spotted seals and penguins. Double-to-triple height aquariums allow visitors to view the animals from both above-water and underwater aspects.

For the larger land-based mammals there were concerns. Both the arctic wolves and the two polar bears were pacing repetitively to and fro in small, artificially-lit, indoor glass-front enclosures, often skidding on the concrete floor, with little enrichment or stimulus provided and nothing to help create a naturalistic environment. An animal park that is striving to be world-class should do better for those animals.

At the time of my visit, the WhiteWater-developed Fire Falls spinning river rapids ride was still under construction and the Snow Train that navigates the Arctic Hall mountain was down for maintenance. Intamin’s Steel Dolphin launch coaster, however, was running and offered a fun-filled thrill ride covering more than a kilometre of track around the park, at one point plunging into a shark’s open jaws.

Food, facilities and staff
Ocean Park has a wide food and beverage offering. Included in the park are an array of concession stands and themed restaurants, including the Whale Shark Restaurant, Sandcastle Restaurant, Penguin Restaurant and Dream Dessert House.

There are numerous opportunities to purchase Haichang’s merchandise, much of it inspired by the brand’s “Seven Guardians” – cartoon creatures who appear throughout the park.

The staff were friendly and professional, always on hand to give directions or tell you the next show time.

From the big (like the 309-bedroom on-site resort hotel) to the small (like the gender-neutral toilets and pushchair and wheelchair rental), Ocean Park’s facilities are hard to fault. All in all, especially once the other rides open, this is a well-designed park with an exciting mix of both magical and thrilling experiences. There are more than enough ingredients to make this park a success – even without the ‘star attraction’ of the orcas.

what’s the score?
  • Staff 8/10
  • Cleanliness 10/10
  • Experience 7/10
  • Value for money 10/10
  • Toilets 10/10
  • Overall experience 8/10
Q & A
Taylor Jeffs
President, chief creative officer
Legacy (GGE)
Taylor Jeffs

Have you worked with Haichang before and are you working with them again? Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park was our first collaboration with Haichang, and hopefully won’t be our last. We have a great deal of respect for Haichang’s mission of raising the standard of animal care in China and hope we can help them as they continue on that journey.

What was their brief and what was your role in the project? Our mandate back in 2015 was pretty clear cut: Haichang wanted to create China’s greatest sea life park, both in terms of scope and scale, but also in terms of the latest trends and technologies in habitat design and animal husbandry. The park is located only about half an hour from Shanghai Disneyland, so the bar was very high of course. With around 15 per cent of what was spent there, we needed to create a full-day park that would stand up to the scrutiny of Shanghai’s extremely sophisticated audiences.

What do you like most about the completed park? For me personally, the level of integration in the park is a huge win. Most domestic Chinese theme parks fall into the trap of being “cookie-cutter” in their design – walkway here, ride over there, then rinse and repeat. We strove to integrate everything in order to create a park that is more visually interesting and kinetically thrilling. This park represents a huge leap forward in not only China but all of Asia.

Legacy was behind the US$795m theme park’s development
A giant tank hosts the park’s mermaid show
The park is expected to attract between 5 and 6 million visitors a year
COMPANY PROFILES
Sally Corporation

Our services include: Dark ride design & build; Redevelopment of existing attractions; High-quality [more...]
RMA Ltd

RMA Ltd is a one-stop global company that can design, build and produce from a greenfield site upw [more...]
QubicaAMF UK

QubicaAMF is the largest and most innovative bowling equipment provider with 600 employees worldwi [more...]
Holovis

Holovis is a privately owned company established in 2004 by CEO Stuart Hetherington. [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Rebranded EAG International Expo set to become leading trade show for the international entertainment and attractions industry
The newly rebranded Entertainment, Attractions and Gaming International Expo (EAG) is set to become the entertainment industry’s leading and most comprehensive trade event. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Red Raion Showreel 2018
Red Raion is the CGI studio specialized in media based attraction. Find out more...
More videos:
Trailer Peter Pan - Saving Tinkerbell VR – Red Raion
Jurassic War - Immersive tunnel movie trailer – Red Raion
Miko and the Spell of the Stone - Movie Trailer – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

29-31 Oct 2019

Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H)

Hilton Athens, Athens, Greece
18-22 Nov 2019

IAAPA Expo

Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, United States
+ More diary  
LATEST ISSUES
+ View Magazine Archive

Attractions Management

2019 issue 3


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2019 issue 2


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2019 issue 1


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2018 issue 4


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management News

02 Oct 2019 issue 140


View on turning pages
Download PDF
View archive
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Handbook

2019


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2019
Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
Mystery shopper
Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park

A new Ocean Park operated by China’s largest theme park company has opened near Shanghai. Alice Davis paid a visit.

By Alice Davis | Published in Attractions Management 2019 issue 1

The newly opened Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park is located on the coast of the New Pudong District, perched on eastern China’s coastline, about 80 kilometres from the centre of the world’s most populated city. Supplemented by other attractions, Haichang Ocean Park Holdings currently owns and operates nine major marine theme parks across China.

The US$795m Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park is easily accessible from downtown Shanghai by the number 16 Metro Line (CN¥10, US$1.50). From the penultimate station, Lingang Avenue, a shuttle bus reportedly runs. I expected a dedicated park bus yet saw no sign of one; however, you can take the regular 1135 public bus from the Metro station directly to its terminal stop right outside the park (CN¥1, US$0.15). The total journey is approximately 90 minutes from Shanghai, with the Haichang park farther from the city than the nearby Shanghai Disneyland. The area has a ‘middle of nowhere’ feel about it, but seems to be yet another new district that’s being rapidly developed; no doubt the zone will look completely different 18 months from now.

For foreigners, it isn’t possible to book tickets via the park’s website as a Chinese ID card is needed to make an online booking. I had no trouble buying a ticket at the entrance on the morning I arrived (CN¥299, US$45). The park opens at 9.30am, when there were plenty of people milling around but no queues. Chinese citizens who buy online via their WeChat or Alipay app simply scan a QR code to enter the park. I was given a paper ticket and a map of the facility. I was pleased to find it was in English, as were many of the signposts and interactives in the park.

Five zones
This single-gate attraction is only open until 5pm – though this may be a seasonal schedule – and there is more than enough on offer to fill a day. The Qiulian River runs through the centre of the park, with two wide bridges connecting the two sections. Alternatively, visitors can take the colourful cable cars to traverse the site from the volcano-themed Whale Shark Hall at one end of the park to the snow-covered mountain Arctic Hall at the other.

These large structures, alongside some of the more garish themed areas, stand out from a distance, making the theme park exceptionally easy to navigate. Surrounded by water and reasonably well planted with trees, flowers and shrubbery, the landscaping is very pleasant and the park infrastructure is built to a high standard. A monster orange and purple rollercoaster, Steel Dolphin, straddles the river and weaves through a large portion of the site.

The park itself is divided into five different themed zones: Underwater Wonderlands, Ocean Tribes, Polar Town, Mermaid Bay, and Snow Kingdom.

My first stop was the Coral and Jellyfish Aquarium. The ever-popular clownfish are on show here, swimming with other exotic reef-dwelling species, while the next area is a dark mirror-lined room filled with huge cylindrical tanks, each containing a different type of jellyfish.

Inside the volcano, an enormous tank hosts the mermaid show, featuring six mermaids and a further four performers, who were graceful and quite beautiful. But it was their freediving skill in a tank that must be some 30m (100ft) high that was the most impressive feat.

Other tanks in the zone are home to several different species of shark. As with all the ocean life on display, the animals looked healthy and their habitats were clean and well maintained, though I believe that some of the larger species like the belugas and manatees should have had significantly larger aquariums.

Live animal shows
There are several live animal shows on offer at Haichang’s park. I attended the dolphin show at 11.30am, which featured four dolphins and trainers performing to an audience inside of an indoor theatre.
At the orca show, two orcas and their trainers performed. The trainers did not get in the water but controlled the animals by gesture and reward. The orcas performed several leaps and splashed the crowds with their tails, and are also trained to jump out of the water onto the pool’s shallow platform a few times.

The whole event was bookended by a story about a little boy who dreams of his cuddly killer whale toy coming to life to take him on an underwater adventure, shown on a gigantic screen above the outdoor pool. The premise of the story is that we will learn to love sealife more and become “caretakers” of our oceans, but entertainment, not education, is certainly the core driver of these live cetacean shows. The orcas and dolphins looked healthy and neither of the shows lasted more than 20 minutes.

Although the orcas didn’t demonstrate purely ‘natural behaviours’ as SeaWorld now pertains to do, the activities did not cross the line into what could be described as a ‘circus’ performance. Both shows were full to capacity and the thousands-strong audience went wild. However, I can’t help but ask when the attractions industry will formally and unilaterally denounce the building of any new parks with captive killer whales.

More attractions
Over in the Arctic Hall and Sea Mammal Habitat, visitors can see the rest of the park’s animal exhibits, which include sea lions, otters, spotted seals and penguins. Double-to-triple height aquariums allow visitors to view the animals from both above-water and underwater aspects.

For the larger land-based mammals there were concerns. Both the arctic wolves and the two polar bears were pacing repetitively to and fro in small, artificially-lit, indoor glass-front enclosures, often skidding on the concrete floor, with little enrichment or stimulus provided and nothing to help create a naturalistic environment. An animal park that is striving to be world-class should do better for those animals.

At the time of my visit, the WhiteWater-developed Fire Falls spinning river rapids ride was still under construction and the Snow Train that navigates the Arctic Hall mountain was down for maintenance. Intamin’s Steel Dolphin launch coaster, however, was running and offered a fun-filled thrill ride covering more than a kilometre of track around the park, at one point plunging into a shark’s open jaws.

Food, facilities and staff
Ocean Park has a wide food and beverage offering. Included in the park are an array of concession stands and themed restaurants, including the Whale Shark Restaurant, Sandcastle Restaurant, Penguin Restaurant and Dream Dessert House.

There are numerous opportunities to purchase Haichang’s merchandise, much of it inspired by the brand’s “Seven Guardians” – cartoon creatures who appear throughout the park.

The staff were friendly and professional, always on hand to give directions or tell you the next show time.

From the big (like the 309-bedroom on-site resort hotel) to the small (like the gender-neutral toilets and pushchair and wheelchair rental), Ocean Park’s facilities are hard to fault. All in all, especially once the other rides open, this is a well-designed park with an exciting mix of both magical and thrilling experiences. There are more than enough ingredients to make this park a success – even without the ‘star attraction’ of the orcas.

what’s the score?
  • Staff 8/10
  • Cleanliness 10/10
  • Experience 7/10
  • Value for money 10/10
  • Toilets 10/10
  • Overall experience 8/10
Q & A
Taylor Jeffs
President, chief creative officer
Legacy (GGE)
Taylor Jeffs

Have you worked with Haichang before and are you working with them again? Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park was our first collaboration with Haichang, and hopefully won’t be our last. We have a great deal of respect for Haichang’s mission of raising the standard of animal care in China and hope we can help them as they continue on that journey.

What was their brief and what was your role in the project? Our mandate back in 2015 was pretty clear cut: Haichang wanted to create China’s greatest sea life park, both in terms of scope and scale, but also in terms of the latest trends and technologies in habitat design and animal husbandry. The park is located only about half an hour from Shanghai Disneyland, so the bar was very high of course. With around 15 per cent of what was spent there, we needed to create a full-day park that would stand up to the scrutiny of Shanghai’s extremely sophisticated audiences.

What do you like most about the completed park? For me personally, the level of integration in the park is a huge win. Most domestic Chinese theme parks fall into the trap of being “cookie-cutter” in their design – walkway here, ride over there, then rinse and repeat. We strove to integrate everything in order to create a park that is more visually interesting and kinetically thrilling. This park represents a huge leap forward in not only China but all of Asia.

Legacy was behind the US$795m theme park’s development
A giant tank hosts the park’s mermaid show
The park is expected to attract between 5 and 6 million visitors a year
LATEST NEWS
Scott Carver Architects to renovate oldest theatre in New South Wales, Australia
The Victoria Theatre, the oldest in the Australian state of New South Wales, is to undergo a renovation led by Scott Carver Architects aimed at conserving its heritage features and reviving it as a venue for live performances.
State-of-the-art aquarium to open in Vietnam in early 2020
A new high-tech aquarium that developers claim will be a model for future aquarium projects is to open on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, in early 2020.
Universal reveals new details for Beijing resort, announces seven themed lands
Universal Studios' under-construction Beijing theme park and resort will feature seven immersive, themed lands, it has announced.
Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry has long-term future secured after US$125m donation
Billionaire hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin is to have the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago named after him, following a donation of US$125m (€113.5m, £98.9m) from his charitable fund.
MoMA's $450m Diller Scofidio + Renfro renovation is unveiled
After a five-year, $450m (€409m, £356m) renovation project split over two phases, New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) reopens next week with 102,000sq ft (9,500sq m) of new gallery and public space.
Oregon Coast Aquarium to build marine rehabilitation centre in $18m renovation
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is raising a targeted $18.2m (€16.5m, £14.4m) to remodel its facilities, improve its learning experience and build a marine rehabilitation centre.
Swiss National Museum debuts exhibition in renovated west wing
An overview of Swiss craftsmanship dating back a thousand years of history has gone on display at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich, with the opening of a new exhibition in the building's newly renovated west wing.
David Adjaye's Ruby City art gallery has opened in Texas
The Ruby City contemporary art centre, designed by British architect Sir David Adjaye, has opened in San Antonio, Texas.
Sculptural shipwreck tower with observation deck planned for Prague
Sculptor David Černý and architect Tomáš Císař from the studio Black n' Arch have designed a 135m ( 450ft)-tall tower for Prague that is shaped like an upended shipwreck and has an observation deck at the top.
Silverstone Experience to open later this month following construction delays
The Silverstone Experience, a National Lottery Heritage Fund-backed project that will put the archive of the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) on display to the public, will open in Northamptonshire, UK, on 25 October.
PortAventura announces plans to build Europe's largest solar park
PortAventura, the theme park and resort near Barcelona, Spain, is planning to install what will be the largest self-consumption solar plant in a European resort, enabling it to derive a third of its energy needs from the sun.
Brooks + Scarpa and KMF Architects design revealed for Mennello Museum expansion
Newly unveiled designs Brooks + Scarpa and KMF Architects for a $20m (€18m, £16m), 40,000sq ft (3,700sq m) expansion of Florida's Mennello Museum of American Art show a mixture and merging of indoor and outdoor spaces.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
Sally Corporation

Our services include: Dark ride design & build; Redevelopment of existing attractions; High-quality [more...]
RMA Ltd

RMA Ltd is a one-stop global company that can design, build and produce from a greenfield site upw [more...]
QubicaAMF UK

QubicaAMF is the largest and most innovative bowling equipment provider with 600 employees worldwi [more...]
Holovis

Holovis is a privately owned company established in 2004 by CEO Stuart Hetherington. [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Rebranded EAG International Expo set to become leading trade show for the international entertainment and attractions industry
The newly rebranded Entertainment, Attractions and Gaming International Expo (EAG) is set to become the entertainment industry’s leading and most comprehensive trade event. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Red Raion Showreel 2018
Red Raion is the CGI studio specialized in media based attraction. Find out more...
More videos:
Trailer Peter Pan - Saving Tinkerbell VR – Red Raion
Jurassic War - Immersive tunnel movie trailer – Red Raion
Miko and the Spell of the Stone - Movie Trailer – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

29-31 Oct 2019

Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H)

Hilton Athens, Athens, Greece
18-22 Nov 2019

IAAPA Expo

Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, United States
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2019

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS