Tag Archives: toddler

Morrison Hill Public Swimming Pool

Morrison Hill Public Swimming Pool Opening Schedule

It’s been crazy crazy hot in Hong Kong recently, too hot for long outdoor walks and “too hot for scootering” my toddler tells me.

So we’ve resorted to swimming. Not to Shek O beach which is our usual weekend morning hang out (it’s also way too hot even at 8am now and the water has been filthy the past 3 weekends), but the swimming pool in our building and the public pool 10 minutes down the road. 

Our indoor pool isn’t heated, it gets quite chilly in the evenings, the ventilation has got to be on to keep air circulation going but this ends up having a cooling effect whenever any part of your body is out of the water.

So, we tried going to the nearby Morrison Hill Public Swimming Pool. It’s a horrible walk there from Queens Road East, unless you already live in the Oi Kwan Road area, we prefer to take the bus one long stop to Tang Shiu Kin Hospital rather than inhaling 10 mins worth of unrelenting traffic PM 2.5 excreta. 


The pool costs less than HKD 20 to enter. It’s pretty cheap and many people do use it.. We’ve been several times now and it’s been busy whether it’s day or night. 


The swimming complex has a number of pools; the main swimming pool for serious lap- lane swimmers, the indoor exercise and teaching pool, the outdoor training pool and the toddler pool. 


Upon entry into the complex, you are funnelled into the separate male / female changing areas, where there are lockers, benches and showers. Then a walk down a corridor to the rain showers to rinse you a little before the pool area. 

There’s also a family changing room but this is locked and opened only on request.


Lots of interesting little signs with advice…


The female changing room is pretty spacious, but it can fill up on weekends and there are half or fully naked women occupying almost every bit of the changing area. Don’t be intimidated, one just needs to find an empty locker and eek out a space.


After you’re changed into your swim gear and put your valuables away, it’s time to head over to the pool.


I’ve included here a way to keep your things dry while going through the shower… Hold your things out to the side as you walk through the curtain of water.

The first pool you get to is the main indoor swimming pool. Here, it’s filled with the experienced swimmers doing exercise laps. It’s all speedos, goggles and swimming caps in this pool. Kids occupy the far section near the bleachers, then it’s a few shared swimming lanes that you can join if you think you can keep up, and an open area where people are free to carve out their own lane. 


The outdoor training pool was the one our toddler liked best. Warm water with a view and lots of people packing it out at all times. Kids splashing, parents yelling, even adults learning to swim. You pretty much see it all there. 


The poolside deckchairs are by no means comfortable but they do offer a tired mommy a place to sit and watch if the weather is good. The benches in the shade on the far side are a lot less pleasant and I got bitten by mosquitoes there once.


There’s also a toddler pool at the very end, it’s very shallow and intentionally isolated. There was no one there in the evenings so I guess it’s popular mostly in the mornings and late afternoons.


After the swim, head back up to the changing room for a hot shower.

Then exit as you entered 🙂

Note that pool cleaning day is Wednesday, so the pool is shut.

Indoor playground for Toddlers

If there’s one thing worse than being in an outdoor playground when it’s hot, it’s being there when it’s full of people so there’s nowhere to sit, AND full of mosquitoes that leave horrible welts on your calves for weeks (horrible Hong Kong Park).

It was in the height of summer last year that I discovered Spring. How did I hear about it? A minibus went by with an ad for it and I googled the address and went to check it out.

What a fantastic find. A large open indoor play space with natural light in Wan Chai only exists here. Unfortunately Baumhaus, despite a better location (recently opened on Queens Road East) cannot compare. Combine that with great interior design and warm friendly staff who know when to leave you alone.

Toddler exercise zone
Constantly changing toddler exercise zone


Small person has spent an immeasurable amount of time there ever since. She took to it right away, the toddler exercise area changes every week, providing new challenges. The indoor swings were a huge hit with her, I’m always moving furniture out of the way for maximum amplitude.

Spring 3
natural light, thoughtful furniture design

The padded stairs, tree house and slide are superb areas for toddlers to work out their little leg muscles. And it’s all cleverly designed so that a small adult can also fit in it if necessary. The glass windows provide a direct visual of the kids and serves to reduce the racket their making.. Very well thought out.

Spring2
Park your kid, your pram and yourself

I love that I can sit for a while and perhaps speed read a magazine, have a drink and luxuriate for a few minutes in a nice loo.

Aside from cooking and mandarin classes, small person spends her time with kitchen play sets, train tracks, Lego and other dexterity building toys in the toy zone. Depending on where you sit, as it is an open concept space, it’s possible to keep an eye or ear on your toddler wherever they are.

Spring 4
Barefoot babies, bring your socks mummies

The play space you’ll get to use for free if you sign up for at least one of their myriad of classes (cooking, language, art, sports, dance….). Though I’m sure that if you’re in the neighbourhood and just need to set your child down for a while, the staff will let you in. 
Spring is on the 3rd floor of a commercial building. There’s lots of parking for cars nearby. You can get the tram to Tonnochy if it’s too far from the MTR (but remember,
no prams on the trams) If you’re coming on foot like me, there are two entrances to the building, via Gloucester Road ( big orange highway) or Jaffe Road. Jaffe road is also known as Food Street in Wan Chai, many delicious restaurants along here, most are mommy-pram friendly if you get there by 11am, before the lunch crowd starts. Otherwise, wait til 2pm and you’ll get your seat and less stressed wait staff.

Tai Wong Street East Sitting Area

Tai Wong Street East is another one way street in old Wan Chai, running from Queens Road East (QRE) to Johnston Road.

Tai Wong East Street Sitting Area
Tai Wong East Street Sitting Area

 

A fair amount of gentrification has happened along this street nearer the Johnston road end, most notably the Pawn which is now a nice bar and restaurant. The side nearer QRE retains some of the older shops and charm. I’ll get into that in a separate blog entry.

If you should find yourself along this street and do not wish to have to pay for a drink at a bar to rest your feet, you can head to this little rest area. It’s nothing fancy and frankly there is the constant hum of nearby air conditioning compressors, but it’s good enough for a ten minute pit stop to change a diaper or drain the water bottle you brought with you.

Shaded Sitting Area
Shaded Sitting Area
It is pram friendly only on the pavement approaching from Johnston road, so if you are coming from QRE, walk on the right side of the street to avoid all the stairs then cross to the left side of the street to access the sitting area.

The different platform layers have a significance, it’s cut in the shape of the reclaimed coastlines. In the evenings, some other kids come out to play and have a grand old time hopping off the ledges. It’s good that they put a railing near the exit to prevent kids from accelerating onto the street.

 

Wan Chai’s changing coastlines
  
Jumping from one generation to the next
 It is between the bird shop (parrots displayed outside is also very interesting to kiddies) and the Wen Ding standalone chinese restaurant.

  

Spring Garden Lane Swings & Sitting Area

Spring Garden Lane Park
Spring Garden Lane Park

This street is often choked with honking taxis, cars and trucks. The sidewalk during rush hours are filled with waves of people marching either towards or away from the MTR station. Massive construction of the Avenue residences is almost complete (a relief to all residents), but the anticipation of a flood of new tenants will certainly either elicit trepidation or glee… Depending on whether you own a business in the area.

Spring Garden Lane Park
Spring Garden Lane Park

This is a one-way main street in old Wan Chai which connects Queens Road East (Hopewell Center) to Johnston Road. If you’re coming with a pram, use Queens Road East to get to this park.

The pavement on the left as you follow the traffic is decent from Queens Road East until you get to the Avenue development about half way down. The pavement becomes almost shoulder-width after that all the way till you get to Johnston road.

If you are in the hustle bustle on this side of Wan Chai – and need a place to rest tired feet, contemplate Hong Kong, feed the baby (and/or yourself), this is a decent rest spot- as long as it isn’t peak hour lunch time when everyone else wants to nap and eat on the benches. Avoid the smokers puffing away at the entrance near Sam Pan Street and use the pram friendly entrance facing the pharmacy.

Swings! only two...
Swings! only two though…

There are only two swings in this little park so if you have a few toddlers in tow, they’ll need to take turns with some of the others who show up with exhausted mums, dad’s or helpers during the day. There are bins around to dispose of those diapers. (nearest current decent public toilet with changing facilities at Hopewell Center, use the elevator to get to the 1st floor, looking forward to more accessible ones at the upcoming Avenue development).

Park Benches aplenty
Park Benches aplenty
Shaded seating area
Shaded seating area

Note: please don’t feed the pigeons. They sit up in the tall leafy trees and are not at all shy about using you as a toilet target.