Manila Ocean Park encounters

December was filled with planned activities with the kids that we had put off for so long. This was definitely one of them but this was alongside the fact that I thought they would probably be too young to appreciate or even remember it as a fond memory when they grow up. My sister wanted to give it as a Christmas gift to my kids- who would say no to a gift?

Manila Ocean Park had a promo for an 80% off on their packages for PNB Credit Card holders so we grabbed the opportune moment and paid only Php470 per head. My younger son paid in full because their policy on that was only children 2ft and below a.k.a. babies that probably cannot walk unassisted get in for free.
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We arrived early at 9am and there was no crowd yet. The place packs up when the tour buses arrive at 11am and until the rest of the afternoon. No outside food is allowed but there are tons of shops inside like Wendy’s and Hen Lin that are easy on the pocket. They don’t really check your bags for that. We brought milk formula and water for the kids.
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This was how the package looked like :

Package B at ¬†P470 (original price of P2,900)¬†Oceanarium, Sea Lion Show, Shark and Rays Dry Encounter, Symphony Evening Show, Jellies Exhibit, Amazing Stories of Yexel’s Toy Museum or Trails to Antarctica

First up, we went for the Jellies exhibit because that was on the first floor. So was the Oceanarium but we wanted to do that last.
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It was a beautiful but quick walk through the exhibit. I loved the infinite wall of jellyfishes that would change into different colors. My son got scared of the jellyfishes so we didn’t stay long.

Next we did the Sea Lion Show and it is imperative to do this in the morning because the audience area faces the shore of Manila bay so there isn’t any shade at noontime and in the afternoon.

The Sea Lion trainors were very entertaining and the Sea Lions did not fail to entertain everyone with their dancing skills. My kids loved it. The sea lions were quite the celebrities, happily posing for photos for a small fee after the show. 
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Near the exit of the Sea Lion Show, conveniently lies the Shark and Rays Dry Encounter entrance.

By this time, my son was enthusiastic and happily touched the largest Manta Ray without the need for any reassurance from us. Some people went into the pool in suits to swim with the sharks for an additional fee. For us it was already lunchtime.
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For our next sightseeing fare, we had a choice between Amazing Stories of Yexel’s Toy Museum or Trails to Antarctica. My daughter wanted to see ice sculptures so we went for the Trails to Antartica option. 
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The exhibit starts from the outside so we read the kids some of the facts on the gallery-like display. 
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The penguins inside a glass case greeted us when we got inside. They were swimming in the water and lurking on the ice. The display case was a bit foggy. We saw the penguins more clearly when they got into the water for a swim.
After seeing the penguins, we went into their cold room. We were given rather flimsy jackets that were as thin as windbreakers. It wasn’t really something I would wear in zero temperatures. I think it had a smell so they probably don’t wash it each time someone uses it. The room was…a room. They had Christmas displays and instantly I thought that we should have gone for the Toy Museum instead. We stayed in it for less than 2 minutes because it was so cold even with the jackets.
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Finally, we lined up for the oceanarium. It was already 2pm and there was already quite a number of people in the park.
The first room had a number of aquariums with small fishes,eels, and sea horses. Each aquarium had a label on it stating which kind of marine life was it in and some fun facts about the creature it was housing.

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Afterwards, there are bigger aquariums with larger fish and then a flight of stairs with crocodiles lounging in their open air cages some meters below.

 

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Then, we entered a large area that had room sized aquariums with fishes as big as me and sharks. The room was very dim and it was hard to get clear photos of the sharks.

 

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My son, trying to get as far away from the fishes as possible. They were so big it scared him.

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We then got to the infamous part of the oceanarium where you are seemingly surrounded by marine life.

 

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It was a short walk but well worth the amount we paid. There were still aquariums after like this one with the giant fish and then some where there were smaller fish and you can have the fish nibble on your fingers.

 

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We couldn’t stay for the 6pm Symphony Evening Show because the kids were tired, wanting their naps and we ended everything else in the list at about 2:30pm.

It was a great experience that my kids loved and learned a lot about marine life from. We will definitely come back when my son is older and we will most definitely choose the Toy Museum next time.

Thanks for reading!

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