Last two weeks ago was my baby’s birthday. My husband and I decided to forego the party planning and instead treat our son on a trip to an oceanarium for a different experience with just the three of us. Since my baby already knows the fishes and other marine animals, hubby and I discussed that on his birthday treat why not bring him to Manila Ocean Park?
Hubby researched online to check on the best deals laid out for Manila Ocean Park experience. We first considered MOP’s birthday promo by bringing three people on the park with the birthday celebrant. You only need to pay worth three people only and the fourth person is already free. The other deals we saw was in Metrodeal. Since our baby is three years old, we are planning to visit the park for a few hours only and go to selected attractions only. I used to remember the last time I visited Manila Ocean Park was when it was just opened in 2009 with only Ocenarium as their main attraction. So to be honest, I am so overwhelmed with the number of added attractions in Ocean Park and I estimated that it would take us at least a whole day to explore.
After listing and discussing options with my hubby we decided to get the cheapest deal in Metrodeal for only 499 pesos. The voucher includes the selected attractions for: Oceanarium, Sharks and Rays Encounters, Sea Lion Show and Jelly Fish Exhibit. I also got vouchers for their Eat All You can Buffet at Liquid Bar. I got the vouchers online, paid it and print the voucher to ready it up for the weekend.
We did not bring the car because I was concerned about the traffic in Manila during weekends and hubby was tired from last night’s workload. We decided to commute all the way to Ocean Park. I can sense that our son was excited for this trip since he keeps on mentioning the fishes he is going to see.
We took a bus going to LRT Buendia and alighted in Jac Liner’s terminal in Buendia, Pasay. Thankfully, we were able to find a taxi that would take us to the Ocean Park. We decided to take the cab because there is no direct route plying to Ocean Park’s area and we had to cross Rizal Park if hubby and I decided to take the LRT train or the jeepney.
We arrived at the park during the lunch time and the lines for the verification of vouchers is long. My one sordid mistake was that I also forgot my ID that will be use for verification. Thankfully I had the card I used for our purchases and even asked the crew if I can present my hubby’s ID which they accepted. We finished falling in line after lunch and we decided to take our Eat All You Can Buffet vouchers since we are famished!
To start on our Ocean Park adventure, I summarized our Manila Ocean Park Adventure and listed them down based on our experience and order of our visit… so here it goes:
- Liquid Buffet – Since we are famished, we decided to visit the buffet first before anything else. Turns out I would have to admit, we could have save a lot of money if we just tried other restaurants inside Manila Ocean Park. We paid 225 pesos for the buffet(it was discounted already!). The food is nothing special and being not a big eaters, hubby and I just selected the foods we thought we liked. I just made sure to get what I paid for by getting big servings of buko pandan and fruits. 😛
- Sharks and Rays Encounter – This is the first attraction we visited since it was just beside the Liquid Buffet Lounge. You will get to see the manta rays in the pool with crews to help you out to touch and feel the manta rays. My son had a great time touching the manta with the help of MOP’s friendly crews. My son was sooo elated and would not even budge when we told him we need to see other attractions. I myself did enjoy the Manta Rays encounter since it was my first time to see the rays up close and had the chance to touch it.
- The Oceanarium – This is the highlight of our visit to the park. Upon entering the place, my son was so excited upon seeing big aquariums with different fishes. He was jumping and shouting “Mommy, I saw a fish! They swim!” with a gleeful smile. Nothing has changed in oceanarium, but I had to admit that even myself could not contain my joy watching different sea creatures and learning each and every species the park has to showcase. Best of all, I had to feel the deep sense of pride that my son is starting to appreciate sea creatures and is happy to see all of it. I just noticed one thing in the oceanarium, I used to remember that there is a huge crab on display before. I never saw it again, so I was assuming that it was returned to sea (wishful thinking)
- The Sea Lion show – This is one of my favorite attraction in the park. We get to see a live show of two sea lions. I know it sounds childish, but it was one of my childhood dreams to see a real sea lion (because when I was a kid there is no ocean park exist! I only get to see fishes when I took my vacation to our province). The show is scheduled for different time slots. There are three shows every day, around 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM. We were scheduled for 3:00 PM show and we were able to get a seat near the sea lions (even if the sun was directly on us and we had to use an umbrella to shield ourselves). The show started at exactly 3:00 PM and we were introduced to two sea lions: Vince and Isabel. Isabel is the younger one and quite feisty. Actually both sea lions are super lovable and adorable. I was already contented watching them do the tricks and showing off their skills to us but the best part of watching them is that I was picked as one lucky female guest to have an up-close and personal encounter with them. Of course I was too happy and excited. One of my childhood dreams came true because I get to hold and interact with them. I get to shake hands with Vince and he let me touch his back. After a few minutes before I said good bye to the cute sea lion, I was asked if I could kiss him on the lips and cheeks! It was sooo cute and memorable. After the experience I was sooo happy I feel like I was walking in the clouds. I would really suggest not t to miss the sea lion show, not only because it was worth the money spent but also the cuteness and adorable sights of these great sea lions.
- The Jellyfish Exhibit – Before our visit to exhibit, I already ask the information desk on the duration of the visit to the exhibit, he told me that the estimated time to finish it was only 10 to 15 minutes. All along I was assuming that it would be no big deal seeing these jelly fishes (because I was afraid of them when I’m swimming in the sea). Of course my assumption is wrong because upon entering the exhibit I was amazed by these beautiful creatures lit by interchanging lights and dancing in the flow of water. You feel like you’re in a fantasy land surrounded by different species of jelly fishes. My son also enjoyed watching the jellyfishes because they glow in dark and interchanging colors in the dim lit room. We spent more than fifteen minutes appreciating these dancing fairies of the sea.
Other attractions we did not visit:
- The Birds of Prey – because my son already had an encounter with birds during our Davao visit last year
- Penguins of Antartica – we decided not check it anymore since we are also running out of time
- Fish Spa – been through the experience of actual fish spa in Antique, so it wasn’t new to us
- Symphony of Lights – This is included in our voucher but since the show will start in a later hours, hubby and I decide to forego it to avoid the long lines of waiting for cabs during closing hours of the park. Instead, we brought our son to the nearby SM Mall of Asia for a quick snack (or should I say dinner) and a stroll before going home.
Overall, we had a great time visiting the Manila Ocean Park and I highly recommend this to parents who are planning to treat their children for a rewarding experience in Manila Ocean Park. There are so many improvements in the park after a few years it has opened and many kids and kids at heart enjoyed the one of a kind encounter with sea creatures.
For those who want to check out the ticket prices, kindly see these following links: