Ocean Park introduces family bunch and heavyweights

Local | 29 Jun 2020 9:30 pm

Gregarious meerkats, the small African mammals that at most grow to about a foot tall and who live in burrows are a part of the attractions along with two giant tortoises at Ocean Park this summer.

The new mammal and reptile exhibit, Little Meerkat and Giant Tortoise Adventure, will open Wednesday. Online reservations for July 25 to August 31 will be open from July 10.

The park is also selling meerkat and giant tortoise merchandise and serving up a menu to match the African-style attraction.

The creatures, big and small, will play a part in furthering the park’s education and conservation mission.

Educational activities featuring meerkats and Aldabra giant tortoises, named after the Aldabra Atolls in the Indian Ocean, near the Seychelles, are being prepared.

There are 20 meerkats at Ocean Park – five of which moved in over a year ago from Zoos South Australia. They have formed two different families with 15 pups, Ocean Park says.

To celebrate the arrival of three Hong Kong-born meerkat pups, Ocean Park held a naming poll on Facebook earlier, and announced the results today.

Backed by 4,112 people (accounting for nearly half of votes), the pups will now be named as “Charles (milk tea with condensed milk)”, “Jeff (black coffee)” and “Yan (coffee with tea)”.

This set of names is the transliteration of popular local beverages, which are all local cultural icons and share a similar color with the meerkat’s fur.

The Aldabra giant tortoise family, featuring two 15-year-old males, was given to Ocean Park as a private donation. The Aldabra giant tortoise is the second largest tortoise in the world, with an average life span of 100 years.

Spanning 800 square meters at Whiskers Harbour, Little Meerkat and Giant Tortoise Adventure can host up to 60 people at a time. A series of interactive and experiential games allow visitors to read through interactive e-books, help meerkats and giant tortoises pick their food, race against different African animals and see the world from the angle of Aldabra giant tortoise.

The African theme continues into the park’s latest culinary offering. Visitors can swing by the Whiskers Express food kiosks and enjoy the Meerkat Set Menu, featuring a teriyaki angus beef burger with a meerkat print, which can be paired with a single origin Kenya coffee or a raspberry and apple cranberry soda with jelly. Sweet surprises including tortoise and meerkat-shaped desserts and baked goods are served at the Aqua City Bakery.

The new merchandise includes meerkat and giant tortoise plush toys, as well as Whiskers and Friends African Adventure Collection.

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