Ocean theme parks can be found all over the world. They are tourist attractions for countries that have them. Ocean theme parks normally include large aquariums containing different kinds of saltwater fish. Sea lions, jellyfish, and whales are part of their attractions. Thrilling rides add to lure of the parks. I have visited three ocean theme parks in Asia.
Sentosa Ocean Park in Singapore
I have visited Sentosa twice, mostly when I attended Aquarama shows—back when these were still held in Singapore. The park includes standard attractions like jellyfish, sharks, and rays. What enthralls me is a huge grouper. It is popularly called the “Goliath grouper,” and was reported to have been 2.5 meters in length and to weigh around 400 kilos, according to the Sentosa website. The park featured a whole wall of glass for viewing, about three stories in height.
Hong Kong Ocean Park
I have been to Hong Kong ocean park three times. I think this park is more popular because of its numerous thrilling rides. The goldfish treasure section is my favorite in the Hong Kong Ocean Park, as it showcases the history, and almost all types, of goldfish. All the standard species such as sharks, jellyfish, and small marine fish are present.
Manila Ocean Park in the Philippines
I am happy that the Philippines has its own marine park. To be at par with other marine parks abroad, we should add something unique that we can offer.
During our European cruise, my wife Suzie saw that one of the tourist spots in a city on the cruise’s itinerary included a “drop off” for a day at an ocean park in Valencia Spain. I was hesitant to visit since I felt that after seeing three Asian parks, what was there to see. But the prospect of having an actual experience to share with Animal Scene readers motivated me to decide to go.
The online line ticket price we got cost about 30 euro or around ₱ 1,600 – 1,800 per person. The serenity of the area inside out was the first thing I noticed, with its Asian park comparison. I will walk you through my photos of the areas that really caught my attention.
The external structure is very modern yet maintains its simplicity. The “rock formation” was made of fiberglass and painted with earth colors. External surroundings were kept clean and there are lots of spacious areas. Interior areas are mostly wood flooring with varnish.
Their duck collections are outrageously cute. I am not a duck aficionado, but after seeing how they behave and the variety of colors and shapes they come in, I see them now from a different perspective. Penguins and pelicans completed my journey in getting to know my winged buddies.
I am not sure if I missed out on this wonderful creature during my Asian park visits or it is just that Oceanographic park designed the Belugas’ area to be extra special? My stay at the Beluga observatory was so lengthy because I couldn’t get over how magnificent they were. Photos cannot convey how great they are.
The park also shows how they mechanize and operate their routines, such as in the research laboratory building in the theme park; large protein skimmer setups; and even the maintenance people who clean the inside tanks. The cleaning activity becomes a part of learning for the people visiting. Large glass walls for viewing are in different areas, which add to the serene experience.
They are celebrities in their own way. Different sizes, colors, and their motion when in action is purely magical.
Various marine fishes and other setups
The number of species is uncountable. From perculas or clownfish with their anemone partners, damsels, angels, to seahorses and starfish. Medium size to large fish have their own territory. Lobsters are interestingly present in the tanks. I love their planted setup in a saltwater tank.
Not finding any fish store in the cities I visited in Europe upset me, but deciding to visit oceanographic Spain changed my mood positively. It might have been a little more costly, but the experience was memorable.
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s March 2018 issue.