Sunday, July 12, 2015

An afternoon at Manila Ocean Park

After our staycation at the Manila Hotel, we decided to go to Manila Ocean Park. The first time we were here was in 2011 and we only brought Miley with us since Sabe was just a few months old. This time, I was excited to experience it with all my kids. :)

I always see lots of deals in group buying sites but we only wanted to see the Oceanarium and the Jellies. So I didn't want to get the package with all the attractions kasi sayang lang. However, when we got to the ticket counter, we were told that we couldn't buy tickets for the individual attractions and had to choose among their current packages. Plus, prices were the same for all regardless if child or senior citizen kasi naka-promo na daw un packages nila.

ticket counter

In the end, we got the cheapest one, the "Deep Sea Rush" for P580 per person. Skyler was free pa since he was below the height requirement. The 6 attractions included were:
- Oceanarium
- Back of the House
- Jellies Exhibit
- Sea Lion Show
- Sharks & Rays Dry Encounter
- Symphony Evening Show

attraction schedules
main lobby inside

The first thing we noticed when we got inside the building was how HOT it was! Parang walang aircon! We did the Oceanarium first and were momentarily distracted by our excitement with seeing all the fish. But again, ang INIT even in the aquarium and tunnel parts! I think hindi talaga kaya ng aircon nila un amount of people and also the summer weather (this was end of May). I don't know if it gets cooler during the rainy season, but I think they should really fix this problem kasi summer is when more people visit them right? Thank goodness we were dressed lightly, with the kids in sandos and shorts. You could see so many people fanning themselves and complaining of how hot it was. It really was super draining!

Right after the Oceanarium, there was this Free Coloring Activity area. The kids wanted to color so we took this time to sit here and take a break. Again, I cannot stress how HOT it was, para na kaming naligo with our sweat. I think it was cooler pa outside in the open air than inside the Oceanarium.

The next activity we did was the Back of the House. I was honestly expecting a whole lot more, so I was disappointed that it was literally just what the name said - as in peek lang talaga siya of the back part with all the tanks and water systems. I was thinking kasi may tour guide or something to explain the different areas but there was none. So we just walked through the whole thing in about 5 minutes.

yan lang yan promise!

After we exited the Back of the House, we passed through more attractions like this area for the deep sea encounter. I don't think I'll ever do this though. ;p

This is the fish spa area...

We also passed by Trails of Antartica and thank goodness, it was a little bit colder in this part (dapat lang naman noh haha!). There were a lot of information and trivia on the walls which was interesting to read. Too bad the penguins were not included in our ticket, but maybe next time we can see them.

The gift shop was right next to this attraction and siyempre, you really had to pass through to exit. The kids wanted to buy a lot of stuff as usual, but we just got a magnet and some snacks.

We also saw Yexel's Museum which I want to visit next time as well. I believe this has a separate ticket from the Oceanarium though.

The Jellies Exhibit was next for us, and I was excited about this because I really enjoyed this attraction the last time we went. Again, we were mesmerized with all jellyfish and the changing colors in their water tanks. So pretty!

I love this room with all the mirrors which makes it look like an endless number of jellyfish tanks!

Next stop was the Sharks and Rays Dry Encounter since the last entry for this was quite early at 4pm. Kwento again, the escalator going to the ground floor was not working and they didn't even have an elevator! Such a hassle for those with strollers like us. And this attraction was located all the way down outside the actual park. As in the entrance was located before the ticket counter area pa, so lalabas ka pa talaga all the way sa may road. Haaay kapagod!

There was a long line going in since they limit the amount of people that enters per batch so that there's enough space din for everyone. Once inside, you just go near the water and there's someone holding the ray so you can touch it up close. They're very strict though with the NO PERSONAL PHOTOS rule, meaning if you're touching the ray, you can't take a photo/selfie with it. You need to have someone from their end take it and of course pay for your photo. But of course, ang dami din sumisimple, pero once they see you, they'll really call you out.

The next attraction was the Sea Lion Show which was at 5pm. We were done with the Sharks and Rays Dry Encounter rather quickly since it was also so hot and once you touch them, pretty much ok ka na rin. So we had a good hour to wait for the Sea Lion Show. We ended up having merienda at North Park which is in the main lobby since we wanted to sit down somewhere cool and rest as well. Of course, wala talagang mga seating areas around the park so you'll really be forced to eat somewhere lol!

When we went to Ocean Park a few years ago, the Sea Lion Show was held in a small area lang. So I was surprised that the new venue, called the Aquatica, was so much bigger and nicer! Anyway, the show was pretty much the same as I remembered it. The kids enjoyed it as well. :)

After the show, we had more than an hour to wait for the last attraction, the Symphony Evening Show which was at 6:30pm. Again, we ended up in a coffee shop so we could wait comfortably with the kids. We honestly wanted to go home na since we were all so tired but sayang naman since we were here na rin. The show was in the same location as the Sea Lion Show and it was very nice naman. The kids were all so sleepy na by this time though, so super cranky na sila and scared easily with the sounds and effects. If you're booked at Hotel H20, I think you can have a nice view of the show from your room if you're facing the theater.

Bottomline, the attractions were nice, but it was the heat that really got to us and all that waiting in between shows. We got to Ocean Park at 1:30pm and left at 7pm. But if we could do everything tuloy-tuloy, I think we'd be done in 2 hours max. I mean how long can you actually stay inside the Oceanarium dba? Hindi din naman siya ganun kalaki. I'm thinking what more if you went in the morning at 10am, imagine you'll have to wait pa all the way until 6:30 for the Symphony Evening Show! Ang tagal! Buti pa if malamig and you'll be comfortable. But you'll just end up spending extra for food para lang you can have a place to wait and pass the time (which is how they designed it to be I'm sure).

Well, we probably won't be back here for a long time, and definitely not during the summer months na talaga. Unless I know for sure na malamig na ang aircon nila! I'm very interested in visiting Yexel's Museum though, so I'll be sure to post about it when we do. :)

You can check their website or Facebook page for their current packages and promos.

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