SHANGHAI, May 1 (Xinhua) -- After years of planning and preparations, China finally opened the Shanghai World Expo park to the avid public Saturday morning sexed up by Friday's dazzling fireworks.
Different languages and dialects could be heard and visitors with different skin colors piled in long lines to enter most of the pavilions in the Expo park.
Under the theme of "Better City, Better Life", pavilions in all shapes, colors and sizes, branded with each country's unique culture and history, were expected to draw more than 350,000 visitors at the opening day.
National treasures, both tangible and intangible, from 246 countries and international organizations are on display.
Some popular pavilions, including the China Pavilion, need to book an extra ticket before entrance.
The China Pavilion, a crimson-painted, crown-shaped mansion, was the most eye-catching facility near the center of the 5.28-square-kilometer Expo park.
It is one of the few structures that will not be demolished after the six-month Expo that runs through the end of October.
Others permanent structures include the seashell-shaped Expo Culture Center where the Expo opening ceremony was held Friday night, the Expo Center, China's Joint Provincial Pavilion and the Expo Axis.
"The China Pavilion is definitely the first destination," said 76-year-old Shanghai resident Wan Genxing. Wan, sitting in a wheel chair pushed by his wife, said he was quite excited about the visit.
Inside the pavilion, thousands of spectators were amazed by the multimedia display of China's national treasure -- "Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival", a masterpiece by a Chinese painter more than 800 years ago.
An eight-minute documentary film -- "Beautiful Progress" by Chinese director Lu Chuan of international fame, which focuses on the changes of Chinese cities since the reform and opening-up policy was introduced in 1978, also impressed visitors.
Many complained about the shortage of tickets need for the China Pavilion. Other popular destinations also include Britain's stunning dandelion-like "Seed Cathedral", Romania's "Green Apple" and Spain's "Big Basket" made of 8,524 wicker panels.
"The Spain Pavilion is spectacular and incredibly wonderful," said British tourist Liza Levy, who just stepped out of the pavilion. It would be worth of the queuing time if the exhibitions are impressive, she said.
Ge Ning, an executive of a sci-tech company in Shanghai's neighboring Jiangsu Province, was among the first to enter the park. "I'm here to see new inventions concerning science, technology, environmental protection, and energy," he said. The United States Pavilion and the exotic pavilions of African countries are also on his list.
"I might only be able to visit five pavilions today," he said, wowing the crowds around him.
As the first Expo ever in a developing country, the Shanghai World Expo is expected to attract 70 million visitors from China and abroad.
The Expo is "a celebration of human achievements with the goal of inspiring present and future generations to pursue not only the ideals, but also the actions for 'Better City, Better Life'," Vicente Gonzalea Loscertales, Secretary General of International Exhibitions Bureau, said Saturday while addressing the opening ceremony of the Expo park.
The Expo will "not only educate, entertain and fascinate visitors, but will spark the energies to build the cities of the future on some of its foundations," he said.