22 December 2014

It was a penguins and fishes 2nd birthday at the Manila Ocean Park

The day has finally arrived! Riley has been insisting for months that he wanted to go to the zoo and see the penguins. Even though we have been telling him that the #penguins live in a different place, he keeps telling us that he wants to go to the zoo. He has probably seen in on some cartoon that the penguins can be found in the zoo. 

We planned a simple day at the Manila Ocean #Park for his birthday. Instead of purchasing the tickets on-site, I opted to book the package deal from MetroDeal. They had a lot of adventure packages to choose from and I picked the 8 attractions with buffet lunch for only P899 (it was valued at P2000 so not too bad). 

We started with the Oceanarium where initially there were multiple large aquariums that were scattered around a huge multi-level open area. It felt like you were in a jungle fish shop. I did not expect it to have an open area. And I totally did not expect to see a crocodile cooped up in a glass enclosure.

After climbing to the second level, you will enter a dark room filled with pretty tropical fishes and corals.

So pretty that you would think twice if they are real or not.


Awesome to see a starfish up-close.

Riley was scared the whole time. The glass of the #aquarium was so clear that he thought that the fishes can get to him. He kept jumping in our arms whenever the fishes are swimming near him. We kept holding the glass to show him that it separates us from the fishes. But he keeps telling us to just look at it and do not touch it. So we did not force him to interact with the fishes and just carried him in our arms. This is one time I missed carrying him in his ergo carrier.

Dimly lit area. I feel this area is missing some exhibits.

Soon, we traveled to this open area with huge aquariums. Now, I am impressed!

You can see his terrified expression here. Poor baby!
We spent a lot of time in this aquarium tunnel. At first, Riley did not want to go down. Luckily, he got used to it after around 10 minutes. He still refused to go too near the fishes but at least he is willing to go down and give our aching arms a rest.

And the highlight of our trip... the penguins!

And we saw a couple of small penguins. It was difficult to see them clearly because of the foggy glass. Plus, they placed large penguin statues around the area so at first I thought the penguins were not moving at all. To interact with the penguins you have to pay around P400 (for 2 people) and you get to feed them while someone will take your photo. I was so underwhelmed by this penguin enclosure that we opted not to fork out the extra dough for the penguin meet & greet. Mahal!

The trails of Antartica exhibit claimed to have "4 zones including a walk-through exhibit, experience Earth’s frozen wilderness and see Humboldt penguins live". We only got to see the penguins and went inside a big chiller where they will again take your picture and you have to pay extra to get the photo. I was not a fan of the icy wind blowing on my face so I left them inside while they were freezing their ears off inside the big fridge. Where was the walk-through exhibit?! We had to enter this area twice because we thought we missed it but the staff told us that was it. Epic fail.


We headed to the buffet area to ease our disappointed hearts. The main course was bland and you have to pay extra for the drinks. On the positive note, they have keropok and the fruit salad and buco pandan was good despite it being warm.

Telling me about the small penguin that he saw.

We headed to the Birds of Prey area after our lunch. We were all hesitant to go near the birds. They have razor sharp beaks and claws! There were some people who were trying to poke the birds with a stick thinking that the birds will transfer to it. I had my phone's camera focused on them in case the birds attack. At least there will be evidence that the birds were provoked!

It tickles!
We went to the #sharks and rays dry encounter. They only had the rays. And no picture-taking was allowed. If you wanted to take a picture, you have to get their official photographer take a picture and they will charge you a fee for it (naturally).

Quickly heading to the fish spa area, I had my doubts having fishes nibbles on my feet. It was our first time to try it and there was a lot of screaming going on (mostly from me!). Some of the fishes were as big as my palm! I don't think they are supposed to be that big... *shudder*

It was very crowded in the jellyfish exhibit so it was hard to take a decent image. And since it was dark and cool in this area, Riley fell asleep while I was carrying him.

Coloring area in the Oceanarium

If you asked Riley which part he liked in the #Manila #Ocean #Park, he will tell you that he liked the coloring station!

We had fun despite some minor inconveniences (like actually experiencing what they advertise) but overall, we had a fun day. Would we be back in the future? Honestly, no. Maybe because I have seen the quality of the ocean parks in other countries but this is definitely at the bottom of the my recommendations list.


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