Manila Ocean Park is FUN! We trooped over on a Sunday morning because (a) we wanted to hit the park before the lunch crowd rushed in, and (b) the Marquez-Pacquiao fight was a-happenin’ and we felt a lot of folks would be somewhere else watching the fight. We were right with A and were sorta right with B. So yes, Manila Ocean Park was quite a pleasurable way to spend a Sunday morning.
Getting to Manila Ocean Park was pretty easy except for the traffic on Quezon Ave. Super bummer as the construction of the underpass near Araneta Ave. caused a major jam. Crap. We didn’t let it dampen our spirits though! After a dose positive thinking and a repeating medley of “Twinkle Twinkle” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, we were there. Hay salamat.
Manila Ocean Park is the first marine-themed park in the Philippines. There are a lot of things to enjoy here. H, Timmy and I decided on journeying through the Oceanarium. This is a marine life exhibit with over 5,000 varieties of underwater creatures. Best of all, we wanted to see the underwater viewing tunnel (Asia’s largest!) and the fishes swimming over our head. The admission fee for this is Php 400 per adult, Php 350 per kids 4ft & below, free for kids 2ft & below.
Upon entering the Oceanarium part of the Park, we were greeted with an “outdoorsy” kind of exhibit. Aaaaah, ganon pala. I thought we’d be entering the tunnel right away. Excited much?
My favorite part of this outdoor experience was the Koi Feeding Pond (sorry, no pictures). You feed the koi with a baby bottle full of pellets and those fish aggressively feed on it. Scariness at first, then amusement comes second.
Indoors (yehey aircon!), fish exhibits of all sizes welcome and delight you. Timmy began warming up to the fish once we entered this place.
This is the tunnel. It’s about 25 meters long and full of people, I mean, fish. Yeah, it can get quite crowded. Can’t blame the folks though! It’s fun to have your pictures taken here.
It was feeding frenzy time so there were two divers regaling the fish with food and the crowds with their friendly underwater hello’s.
After the tunnel, there are more fish exhibits. There’s a huge shark tank. Timmy got a kick out of this “sleeping” shark.
Ang Kalaliman. This part of the exhibit was MY FAVORITE. It’s in a dark corner. I could stand in front of this tank for HOURS. The fish just kept on going round and round the ship rod. Just give me a chair that reclines and I could watch these fish swim in circles all day.
After the Oceanarium, we decided to get lunch. It was a long way out though! We passed through a portion of the Penguin Exhibit and some parts with wonderful views of Manila bay.
There’s a gift shop at the Oceanarium exit. We just had to get a souvenir of our marvelous morning. Clownfish hat for our little clown? Perfect!
There are a bunch of snack kiosks and some fastfood joints at the entrance of the park. We decided to have lunch at Hotel H20’s Makan Makan Asian Food Village. They had pretty good Nasi Goreng and Bird’s Nest Soup. Our waiter was pretty awesome too. No food shots because I was uber hungry and so were the boys.
Other activities you can enjoy at Manila Ocean Park are the Sea Lion Show, Jellyfish exhibit, Aquanaut voyage (a guided diving experience), Glass Bottom Boat Ride, Fish Spa, Musical Fountain Show and a Penguin Exhibit (you need closed shoes and a jacket for this one!). We’ll return for the others another time.
Overall, it was a great experience. We’ll return next time with more family members in tow! Before bedtime this evening, Timmy watched videos of our fish-filled morning over and over and over. I think this boy enjoyed our visit to the Oceanarium most of all.
If you’re thinking of visiting the Oceanarium, here are some tips:
1. Eat before your visit. You can’t bring food and drinks into the exhibits.
2. Go first thing in the morning. If you want to avoid crowds, go as soon as it opens. We were leaving the park around 1 pm and hordes of folks were coming in.
3. Expect that there are lot more noisy adults than noisy kids. I guess big fish tanks just bring the kid out in everyone.
4. Manage your expectations. It’s not a suuuper huge aquarium but it’s not rinkety dink either. Thailand’s Siam Ocean World is still my favorite, but our local one’s not so bad. I just wish that they would fix a few things. (See next tip).
5. Parking’s far from the entrance. The road was so muddy, rocky and sandy. Since it drizzled a bit before we got to the park, there were puddles even on the sidewalk. NOT very safe. Getting to the ticket booth was an adventure in itself. Plus, there was tons of construction work leading to the hotel and the park’s entrance. It doesn’t make for a warm welcome at all. So just expect a short trek from the North Parking to the Park ticket booths. Bring an umbrella in case it’s too hot or rainy. This is as of today, Nov. 13. Who knows, construction might end tomorrow.
6. If you’re coming from Quezon City, expect traffic along Quezon Ave. cor. Araneta. Major construction is still (and forever) ongoing.
7. Best of all, ENJOY! Bring your camera. Bring your enthusiasm. Children, you’re going to love this. Adults, cherish this experience from a kid’s perspective. Bring your inner mermaid/merman and have lots of fun at the park!