Thursday, February 6, 2014

Oahu, Hawaii: Sea Life Park

Have you seen the movie 50 First Dates?  It's a must see before visiting Oahu!  There are many references to "Spam" which made me crack up when I actually saw that Spam really is a big deal in Hawaii ;-)  My point about this movie - Adam Sandler's character worked at the "Sea Life Park" (the movie edited version of the park).  So, we had to visit.  Plus, our Go Card included admission.  The Go Card also had a bonus option to pick - we selected the dolphin encounter at the Sea Life Park.  Here's our experience:

I planned our day around a schedule that was listed on their website.  The schedule online listed specific times that you could feed sea turtles (a must for us).  So, I had the day planned out based on the schedule of activities I found online.  I was disappointed when I discovered that you could feed the turtles at any time.  Why was I disappointed?  Keep reading....

We purchased a package they promoted at the ticket booth.  It included a free picture and a refillable beverage cup.
We did save money via this promotion.
Plus, these pictures are the only ones that I am usually in - LOL!

Shark tank

Feeding the sea turtles!!  In the gift shop you can buy a small $4 souvenir cup that has celery and broccoli in it.  You can feed the turtles the veggies.  Note:  drop the food in the water.  You can not directly feed the turtles or touch them.
The price may seem high but I felt like it was worth it.  Plus, a person earlier didn't want to keep their cup so the cashier gave it to us so each of our kiddos would have a cup to take home.

The sea lion show was cute!

Did you know that dolphins never fully sleep?
They take turns allowing one side of the brain rest at a time.

We had signed up for our dolphin encounter based on the schedule I put together for the other activities we planned to do.  Well, as I said earlier, the schedule online was not the one we received when we arrived...  The park is very small and since we didn't need to follow a schedule (aside from our dolphins encounter) we had a lot of spare time....  If I would have known all of this I would have scheduled our dolphin encounter earlier.



"I'm not getting any closer!"

The Dolphin Encounter:
  • There is a changing room with restrooms.
  • We needed to check in prior to start of the encounter.  We completed forms for liability and waited for a long time until we watched a video and then were split up into groups. 
  • Everyone wears a life jacket.
  • Our assigned staff member walked us through everything to expect.  Including what poses to do for pictures.  And, that we had to step up to the end of the pool grate/riser for each picture.
  • For the encounter we had to enter the pool.  The water was very cold!  I felt bad for my little ones who had water up to their chins.  
  • The dolphin was very fun and we were splashed a lot!  We were able to touch the dolphin many times.   
  • We fed the dolphin fish.  My kiddos were not interested in that ;-)
  • They took three picture poses:  the dolphin kissing you on the cheek, you kissing the dolphin on the nose (we didn't purchase this one), and then you dancing with the dolphin.  My son completely freaked out when it was his turn.  Eventually he agreed to take 1 picture dancing with the dolphin and 1 similar to the dolphin kissing his cheek (but not actually getting close to his face).  Later he told us that he just didn't want to kiss the dolphin on the nose.  He was fine prior to all of this so it surprised us that he was scared.
  • We had to wait 40 minutes after our encounter before the pictures and video were ready.  Another reason why I wished we would have done the encounter earlier.  We had already seen everything so it was a wasted 40 minutes for us.  
  • The video of the experience was $40 - $50 depending on what all you purchase.  The pictures were $30 for the first and then discounted for additional photos of the same person - the rates start over for each person.  you can select either the printed copy of the picture or the e-copy.  We went with the e-copy so it wouldn't get damaged during our travel.  I can't remember exactly what we paid for the e-copy of 3 pictures (of two different people) and the video.  I think it was $120 and that seems right considering the pricing that I did put in my notes.
  • You can not bring a camera or have others take pictures for you during the experience.  So, if you want any memories you better be prepared to pay for it.  Although, this is the case at most places so we were prepared.
  • Parking is free.
  • It wasn't busy.
  • There were great food options but it was really slow and didn't stay open late.  
  • The small food stand that we visited the most was extremely slow at lunch time.
  • There is a great view!
I recommend visiting them!  Hopefully the schedule will work out better for you than it did for us.

To see more, visit my post on Oahu.

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