A carnival has come to Hong Kong’s Central Harbourfront! The Great European Carnival has an impressive piece of real estate and it is certainly going to bring more families onto the waterfront promenade not only this year, but it will be returning annually for the next three years.
My family was heading to dim sum when my kids began screaming and pointing. Tickets for last weekend were quickly purchased and we have tested out the rides. It was a very successful outing for my 10 year-old daredevil but not as much for my more timid seven year old. It is hard to please all of the people all of the time! But before any other families come away disappointed, I thought it was worthwhile to review the attractions.
This carnival is advertised as having thrilling rides and it definitely delivers on this. The rides for daredevils are almost all open and they are scary, even just watching from the ground. Oblivion, Mach 3 and Atmos Fear are all fast moving rides, which go up high, twist around and one even goes upside down. Each of these lasts at least two minutes, as they should for the price of 6 – 12 tokens.
There was one more, fast paced spinning, flying ride my 10 year old was desperate to test but that was not open yet. The haunted house was not fully experienced by our group as everyone ran out in 5 seconds; to the staff’s credit, we were immediately refunded.
The rides for children five and under were great and appropriately priced. The carousel, car ride, tea cups and large slide were all fun for young children and appropriately priced at 2-4 tokens.
The rides for the 6-9 year old children were where the carnival fell short. None of the five 7 year olds I was with were tall enough to do bumper cars. The boat and bubble rides they may have enjoyed were not open yet. There was one thrill ride they were tall enough for which worked well for some.
The games though were abundant and we came home with armfuls of stuffed animals. There are darts and fishing and basketball to name just a few of the different prize winning games. The staff is helpful and let’s the kids play to win without pandering to them and the kids end feeling they have earned their prizes.
Unfortunately, the day I went the ice skating rink was a puddle. There were some people skating and getting a bit wet, but it was not appealing to our group.
There also entertainers roaming the area to keep the children happy. There are clowns and men in stilts as well as cut outs for children to pose in, which definitely adds to the carnival atmosphere.
The setting of the carnival is beautiful and watching the rides against the backdrop of the harbour and skyscrapers of Hong Kong is breathtaking. There is also a good variety of food available at fair prices. Prepare yourself as this was a very expensive activity. Admission price includes 7-10 tokens but little else; and the kids I was with went through those in two minutes flat. Given that it cost $130 million Hong Kong dollars to bring this carnival to this town, it may not be shocking that it is not cheap. As more of the rides open up, the carnival should appeal to more varied ages, and think about how great it will be to have it again next year and the year after that!
Details: The AIA Great European Carnival, Central Harbourfront Event Space, 9 Lung Wo Road, Central, Hong Kong. Open 11am -11pm daily, now through Sunday February 22, 2015. Ticket prices: Adults – $125 HK dollars ($100 tokens inclusive), Child, 65+ and disabled -$90 HK dollars ($70 tokens inclusive). www.ticketflap.com