A record breaking 15,000 people visited the Hong Kong Observatory during its Open Day on 20 and 21 March 2004. 20 March is the Vernal Equinox, marking the beginning of Spring. Visitors who celebrated the arrival of Spring at the Observatory enjoyed balmy weather in the lush and serene environment of the Observatory Headquarters. Many visitors took the opportunity to have a friendly cosy chat with the Observatory staff. Those who took part in receiving the visitors were the weather forecasters, TV weather programme personalities, members of the interest group "Friends of the Observatory", and for the more lucky ones, the Director of the Observatory himself.
Many visitors came to the Open Day with the entire family. Some parents came to seek life-wide learning experience for their children. Some visitors were simply driven by curiosity to find out how weather was forecast. Of them all, it's probably the children who found the visit most rewarding. They were completely absorbed in playing a game designed by members of the "Friends of the Observatory". They also brought home some lovely prizes, some of which were given by the Water Supplies Department to raise the public's consciousness to treasure drinking water. Coincidently, water is also part of the theme of this year's World Meteorological Day which falls on 23 March - Weather, Climate and Water in the Information Age.
About one hundred Observatory staff and "Friends of the Observatory" volunteers took part in receiving the visitors. "It's great to hear encouraging words from the visitors about the service provided by the Observatory," said Ms Sonia Lau, a first-time helper of the event and a Personal Secretary by profession. This was indeed the feeling shared by all members of the Open Day team who spent a memorable weekend with those they served.
Children trying out their skills in a game designed by members of the "Friends of the Observatory"
A TV weather programme personality explaining earnestly the "windshear" phenomenon to the visitors
Highlight of the Open Day - Weather forecasters explaining the science behind weather forecasting
The Director sharing a moment with his fans