Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Noah's Ark!

Here's the first in a series of posts of pictures from our Hong Kong trip. I'm finally getting to this!

In planning our vacation this year, we were looking for some family-friendly activities that could take place inside, since rain was forecast for a large portion of our trip. We were excited to find online a new tourist attraction which opened in Hong Kong in May, a biblically-sized replica of Noah's Ark! We didn't know anyone who had already visited, but decided it was worth giving it a try.

The Ark was located on an outlying island so we took the MTR (subway) to a pier where we hopped on a ferry to take us to the island. This island, by the way, has been recently developed. It has a beautiful new big housing complex, lovely park areas, a nice beach, even a well-stocked grocery store and several restaurants. No personal cars are allowed on the island so it is quiet. It really feels like a different place than Kowloon or Hong Kong Island, where the population density is extremely high. I must say that really enjoyed the break from the "city". It was lovely, well cared-for, and felt like a world away. What a lovely place to live! Just for fun, we googled some real estate on this island--get this: you can get a beautiful, 1500 square foot apartment there for only . . . 35 Million Hong Kong Dollars!!! (That's about 4.5 Million USD). Or, you just want to rent a smaller, simpler place? 500 square feet or so? Just cough up 33,000 HKD each month, about 4,000 a month. WOWZA! I think if you had an apartment that expensive you would have to have a job in the city to afford it, which would effectively mean that you were never actually at your apartment. Hmmmm. It was beautiful, though! I could see the appeal of living there.

The girls were so excited on the boat ride there, despite the rain.

(This was also not your ordinary ferry, by the way. It was clean and classy, with black leather seats!)

The excitement is building!

My first impression upon stepping off the ferry and seeing the Ark was, "Oh my, it's big, but . . . if the whole earth was covered in water, that looks like a tiny, tiny boat." The Ark was dwarfed by the concrete pilings supporting the famous Tsing Yi bridge right next to it.

We were so impressed with the thoughtful, truthful, detailed design of the entire park and attractions within and surrounding the Ark. We read later that there were two billionaire Chinese brothers who originally had this idea, and sunk their money as well as recruiting other organizations to chip in to the Ark effort. So the "expo areas" inside the Ark are meant to be walked through like an interactive science museum, telling the biblical story of the flood as well as examining issues like the design of the Ark, the existence of flood stories in cultures all over the world, and looking at scientific and explorer's evidence of the whole event. It was truly fascinating stuff.

On the second floor of the Ark, there was another science-museum sort of set-up with interactive displays really meant for school children. There were hordes of school kids there that day, actually, and they had fun zooming noisily from room to room (each dedicated to a subject like Music, Languages, Architecture, Animals, Plant Life, the Universe, etc.). We tried to stay out of their way! My girls enjoyed it, but I think it really would be much more interesting for school-aged children. We did manage to spend a few hours there though!
The third floor of the Ark is actually a hotel/resort--you can stay in the Ark overnight! We did not opt for this since it was quite expensive, but I could certainly see the draw.
Finally we made our way outside again to tour "The Ark Garden." Through two levels of beautiful landscaping were interspersed scuplted pairs of endangered animals. The girls loved seeing the animals, despite the fact that by then the rain had been long gone and it had turned amazingly, absolutely HOT. We used our umbrellas for shade!

Photo-op in front of the open door of the Ark.

It was really a great family activity. Spending time teaching the girls more about the Bible in such an interactive way was really fun! They loved it too! Except for Christin, who was oblivious. But that's what happens when you're one and you've missed both of your naps!

Running for the giraffes...

Those last two photos together give you an idea of the length of the Ark. It's really amazing that Noah built it by himself--no wonder it took him more than 100 years!
We finished our visit by walking back to the island's grocery store and buying supplies for a picnic supper by the beach. Yum, a sandwich with (hard-to-find) real deli meat to end the day was a perfect conclusion. What a great day at Noah's Ark!


Teesa said...

Love the pics! Looks like a lot of fun. Wish we could be with you!

sandra said...

Wow. Who knew there was an ark in Hong Kong? Good times!

Liz said...

That looks so up my alley! Too bad my "alley" is thousands of miles from yours. I would LOVE to take my family to the ark! Maybe someday but for now, it is on my ever-growing list of must-see.

Jenny said...

It really looks like you had fun. The girls look so happy. What kind of new camera did you get? I love your pictures!

Kellie said...

Awesome experience! Looks like lots of fun and something I had not heard of either - so thanks for sharing - definitely something that looks like our kiddos would enjoy it too!

Brian P said...

Woah..I had no clue that HK had an ark!!