Kids Time Out of the City in the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens
If you’ve LOTS of time to spare in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a leafy green place to hang out with the kids in the middle of a busy city.
Be prepared to huff and puff your way around! The Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens covers quite a large area and if you enter (as we did) from the bottom, the walking pathways incline all the way to the very top, although the displays are on flat ground. Luckily, there’s plenty of seating in the playground at the very top as you’ll need a pitstop to rest those feet when you get there.
The Zoo itself is a fairly bleak and uninspiring destination. The monstrous black metal-barred cages retain the antique mood of the Victorian period in which they were built but make it difficult to see the monkeys, orang-utans and chimpanzees moving about. They seem happy enough – the cages are large and filled with modern playful equipment, but we couldn’t help wishing they were allowed out to roam in the forest jungle surrounding us!
The Reptile enclosure was the biggest let down of all for Ned. The reptiles must have been on holiday we think.
Black-and-white ruffed lemur , red-cheeked gibbons, and Emperor Tamarin bounced around the place too.
Stretch the legs!
There were quite a few empty cages and displays when we visited, so all up, NOT that much to see. The best thing about the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens for families is the chance for the kids to stretch their legs and run about in a natural green space filled with hydrangeas, camellias, poinsettias, bamboo and tree ferns. The playground made this place for them too. (Read about it below)
The essential insider info
The Hong Kong Zoo and Botannical Gardens Fountain Terrace Garden is open from 5am to 10pm. The Green House/ Education and Exhibition Centre is open from 9am to 4.30pm. All other areas are open from 6 am to 7 pm.
Yes! A playground in Hong Kong.
The Playground is located at the very top of the Zoo. While the equipment is standard hard-plastic prefabricated cubbies, tunnels, slides, and forts, the playground is HUGE by Hong Kong standards, with only one entry/exit point, making it ideal for family travellers. The swings and a set of exercise equipment are placed down one wing to the side of the main playground also. There’s also lots of seating, and undercover shade.
My kids LOVED that they could look UP and see BUSES overhead! Yes, buses that drive by on the overpass road. Now, that’s something you don’t see everywhere. It’s these kinds of adventures and journeys that let the kids experience how children live in other countries too. (I’m sure they won’t take their local playgrounds by pretty rivers and beaches for granted anymore!)
Key points of interest
• Thankfully, the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens is free! Bring a picnic and enjoy a peaceful break away from the crowds, the vehicles and the noise of the city.
• Check out the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens website to find details of FREE classes and workshops being held. Tai Chi in the gardens starts at 7am daily.
Eat and Drink
• We wandered this zoo for quite some time and barely saw another soul. We also did not see any places to buy food or drinks within the zoo or gardens themselves but perhaps we missed this? In any case, we wouldn’t suggest going here without your own food and drinks. There’s lovely spots to have an on-the-go picnic so make the most of the crowd-free vistas and enjoy!
• Evidently, there is a light refreshment kiosk on site. If you find it, let us know.
Toadstool Rating (by the kids)
Not really worth the time or effort. It doesn’t rate on our Super Dooper Fun list for kids at all.
The Inside Scoop
There’s a very clean nappy change room and bathroom/toilets at the playground.
Thinking about a trip to Hong Kong? Here’s a link to find ALL the information you need to know, in one place.