Words by Arthur Tam
Photography by Mike Pickles
Need to clear your mind after a frustrating meeting? Take a real break during your lunch hour by going on a light, 15-minute hike up Mount Parker Road to the often-overlooked Woodside Biodiversity Education Centre. Bring your lunch for a picnic and walk through the beautiful Grade II historic building with plenty of time to make it back to your desk.
Built in the 1920s by Taikoo Sugar Refinery, the charming 36,450-square-foot red brick building was originally the residence of the refinery’s staff. After the refinery ceased operations and returned the house to the government, it became a space for exhibitions and concerts. Later, a restoration by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department transformed the historic building into a resource centre that fosters awareness and support for nature conservation and eco-consciousness – what is now called Woodside Biodiversity Education Centre, which opened its doors in 2012.
A lush outdoor garden awaits your visit, with a path leading to the steps of the colonial building. Head to the galleries inside for a few minutes of respite from your workday.
Get to know Hong Kong’s flora and fauna: this exhibit’s slideshow features educational facts shared through beautiful and colourful photos of local plants and animals.
The most entertaining of all the galleries, this exhibit features live insect, reptile and fish specimens in plexiglass bubbles. Observe longhorn beetles, lizards and black-eyed green snakes, plus other elusive critters. Adjacent this exhibit is a balcony with an optical illusion photo setup – you’ll have to visit to see what this is all about, but it’s Instagrammable, we promise!
This gallery offers touch-screen, interactive games for visitors. Help a mother turtle traverse trash on Lamma Island to lay her eggs on an undisturbed piece of land. Don’t forget to take a picture in the photo booth as a memento of your visit.
Share this experience with your kids by signing them up for a crafts workshop during the below schedule.
Every Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday
Morning session: 10:00, 11:00, 12:00
Afternoon session: 14:00, 15:00
The big idea
Probably the most overlooked activity is just sitting down on the bench to soak in and enjoy the panoramic view of Eastern District. It’s a reminder that life exists outside the office. Disconnecting from the workplace regularly and exploring something new will not only let you relax but will also help sustain your overall productivity in the long run.
Details and directions
Woodside Biodiversity Education Centre, 50 Mount Parker Road, Quarry Bay | Tel: 2670 1030 | afcd.gov.hk | Free admission.
Opening hours: 9.30am to 4.30pm every day except Tuesdays and the first two days of the Lunar New Year. The outdoor garden is open from 6am to 6pm daily year-round.
From Quarry Bay MTR Exit A or Taikoo Place Cambridge House:
It takes about five minutes from either location to get to Mount Parker Road next to Quarry Bay Municipal Services Building. From there, it takes 15 minutes to reach Woodside.