HISTORY – An Elephant in Kowloon: Photos from Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park 6


Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park was opened by businessman Cheung Kwan in 1949.

gore8Rfl.jpg (640×442)

via Simon Lee

It was located on the west shore of Lai Chi Kok Bay near Sham Shui Po, covered 1.6 million sq ft, and was said to be the first modern large-scale theme park in southern China.

via BBS forum

In 1961, management was transferred to Chiu Tak Kan Deacon, who added many attractions such as Song City and a zoo.

c9s3gD3.jpg (599×407)

via BBS forum

A monorail, which cost HK$13, took visitors around the entire park.

XdlpuU8l.jpg (640×443)

via Sing Pao

Tino the Asian elephant was a much-loved attraction. It was given to the park by a circus in 1958.

arWuPxb.jpg (660×442)

via BBS forum

Three million visitors passed through annually by 1969, despite Hong Kong’s population being smaller than this number.

2uZZNYt.jpg (660×447)

via BBS forum

The park featured theatres, rides, stalls and water games.

3wmqtrE.jpg (660×447)

via BBS forum

Rides included a ferris wheel, dodgems, a carousel, a mirror arcade, gondolas, a teacup ride, a ghost house and even an ice rink.

Knife-throwing performances, a wax museum and fortune telling were also popular.

gNr21GIl.jpg (640×469)

via ourdj.cc

Animals included a binturong, porcupine, Sika deer, a goat from Germany, a Chinese alligator, a lion, black panther, vulture, peacock, a mountain lion, a Bactrian camel, giraffe, Asian elephant, saltwater crocodile, and Siberian tiger.

via uwants.com

Things started going downhill in the late 70s, when it began losing out to Ocean Park. The park closed in 1997 after the government decided to use the land for housing.

nt6Wv2hl.jpg (640×459)

via uwants.com

Popular rides were sold to other parks abroad whilst the zoo animals were sent to Shek Kwu Chau. 80,000 visitors passed through the park in its final two days.

bmNuN9yl.jpg (640×487)

via BBS forum

20fb12p.jpg (640×480)

via Apple Daily

HkGZO12l.jpg (640×378)

via BBS forum

TFB7UWp.png (648×423)

via BBS forum

via Apple Daily

EZuCJQk.jpg (660×455)

via BBS forum

7rKmDki.jpg (650×355)

via Wikimedia

eFJ5i3Q.jpg (660×442)

via BBS forum

1yXjc11.jpg (598×355)

via Sing Tao

Blog posts charting Hong Kong’s colourful past…

Pictorial histories of local landmarks and events…


  • smog

    Fascinating stuff. Thanks!

    So what was there on Shek Kwu Chau for the animals? What happened to them? It’s a deserted island now isn’t it? Or is there a saltwater croc and an elephant living there?

    Perhaps that can be the next in your series on outlying islands?

    • Tom

      Haha! Yes, apparently the animals were shipped to zoos in Shenzhen. Part of the reason the park shut is that the gov’t wouldn’t allow the import of any more big mammals.

  • smog

    Fascinating stuff. Thanks!

    So what was there on Shek Kwu Chau for the animals? What happened to them? It’s a deserted island now isn’t it? Or is there a saltwater croc and an elephant living there?

    Perhaps that can be the next in your series on outlying islands?

    • Tom

      Haha! Yes, apparently the animals were shipped to zoos in Shenzhen. Part of the reason the park shut is that the gov’t wouldn’t allow the import of any more big mammals.

  • ltrain952

    Went here as a child. Thanks for the memories!

  • ltrain952

    Went here as a child. Thanks for the memories!