HISTORY – An Elephant in Kowloon: Photos from Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park
Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park was opened by businessman Cheung Kwan in 1949.
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.
In 1961, management was transferred to Chiu Tak Kan Deacon, who added many attractions such as Song City and a zoo.
A monorail, which cost HK$13, took visitors around the entire park.
Tino the Asian elephant was a much-loved attraction. It was given to the park by a circus in 1958.
Three million visitors passed through annually by 1969, despite Hong Kong’s population being smaller than this number.
The park featured theatres, rides, stalls and water games.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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