When I initially told Family T-T that we were off up The Peak last weekend to check out the Trick Eye Museum, everyone’s first reaction was “Err… what’s a Trick Eye Museum?”. Fair question, folks, and one I couldn’t really answer, to be honest. A quick Google later told me that the museum was founded in Korea, and now has branches in Singapore and Hong Kong, where we could expect to see 50 pieces of Trompe-l’oeil “experimental artwork”, spread over five distinct themed zones. Still none the wiser, we set off up to the roof of the city on a baking hot day to find out the answer to the question.
The Trick Eye Museum is located on the 3rd floor of the The Peak Galleria, right next to the viewing deck, and the easiest way to find it is to use the glass lift next door to Sweet Dynasty Desserts, at the front of the building.
A note if you’re visiting with littlies: pushchairs aren’t allowed inside, as they can get in the way of the installations, however the staff will securely store them during your visit. Visitors with disabilities are welcome too, and although some people may have difficulty in interacting with all of the exhibitions, staff are more than happy to assist if needed.
Entering the museum, it became apparent that this place was made for our selfie-obsessed city. Mr T-T summed it up as a “trick camera museum”, which isn’t far from the mark – essentially there are various scene setups where you stand and pose, while someone (presumably a willing Insta-husband, or in this case, Insta-parent), snaps your photo from a precise point marked on the floor. While some of the scenes look a bit strange to the naked eye, it all becomes clear once you see the final results on screen, and your best bet is to try out loads of different poses to take full advantage of each installation.
It took us a little while to get Master T-T to grasp exactly what it was that he was meant to do, but the penny dropped once he saw the first photo – which made him look as though he was standing on a rock in water – and after that he was hooked on trying every single installation.
These are split into five themed zones – Secret Garden, World of Masterpieces, Great Adventure, NeverLand and Hong Kong Discovery. Each zone has multiple installations, so you can quickly move onto something else if someone’s hogging a scene.
You’re encouraged to try out any poses you like, but if you’re lacking in inspiration, each installation has plenty of handy tips to help you get the best photo. Our favourite area was the World of Masterpieces, which plenty of 3D exhibits that the kids could clamber over (touching and interacting with the installations is positively encouraged), as opposed to the flat, painted scenes.
Speaking of which, I feel duty-bound to mention that the vast majority of the scenes here are hilariously bizarre. Think The Girl In The Pearl Earring sitting in a barrel wearing stockings, towered over by a giant Mona Lisa taking a selfie, with Van Gogh bobbing about next to you (and that wasn’t even the day’s strangest sight, to be honest). Much hilarity ensued as we went from scene to scene trying to figure out what on earth we were actually looking at.
While I was busy enjoying the surreal art, Master T-T was busy in the Great Adventure zone, clambering on a speeding motorbike and defying gravity as a skydiver. He also great fun sparring against Michelangelo’s David (but, of course) in a virtual reality fighting game and being hauled up a sheer cliff face by an elephant.
Overall, we had a great time at the Trick Eye Museum, filling up most of the space on both mine and Mr T-T’s phones with some truly bizarre pictures. I also enjoyed the fact that it really sparked Master T-T’s interest in photography, and, after we left the museum, he insisted that we went to look at the view so that he could take some photos, one of which is below. #proudmummymoment
If your kids are camera-shy, then it’s fair to say that the Trick Eye Museum probably isn’t the place for you. But if, like mine, they love nothing more than showing off in front of the lens then this is pretty much a surefire win. Buy further brownie points with a post-museum visit to the Häagen-Dazs café on your way out.
Costs: Infants are free of charge; $100 for kids ages 3-11; $150 for adults (12+) and $100 for seniors. (Book ahead via the website and save yourself 10% on your entry price.)
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 10pm
Shop 1, 3/F Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Road, The Peak, Hong Kong; +852 2813 1686
Please note that our admission was by invitation.