Sea Life Park and the Aquarium

You know, I’ve never been to Sea World. As kids, our family just didn’t have the kind of money that it took to travel like that, and long road trips (at least that far) weren’t possible. So, imagine my excitement to find out about Sea Life Park, right there in O’ahu! They offer all sorts of fun stuff, including shows, interactive animal habitats, and dolphin swims.

I knew that it was unlikely that we would be able to do any of the dolphin swims, as I figured they would cost too much. I wasn’t, however, counting on them ranging from $100 – $200 per person! Oh well.

At first, the in-laws didn’t really want to go, as they had been to Sea World and weren’t overly impressed. In fact, they sounded like it was boring. I figured that may have been true, that 20 years ago, Sea World was just not their thing. But I really wanted to go. So we brought it up several times, until they decided that they would go with us.

The bus we had to take came about once an hour and was a fairly long ride, probably almost an hour. It was a beautiful drive, though, up past the Diamondhead Crater, and through some very suburban areas, and finally, at the end of the line, was Sea Life Park. We got there pretty early, around 10 am, so the park was pretty quiet. When you walk in, you have to walk down a spiral ramp that circles around a huge tank. In the tank were all sorts of fish, sea turtles, sting rays and sharks (small reef sharks). This is where you could go “deep sea diving” if you wanted. That means that you put on a dry suit, and a helmet that keeps you dry while you go under the water and explore the fishes and stuff. It looked neat, but I wasn’t all that interested. The tank itself was really cool, though, with lots of activity and stuff. I have to say that the Eagle Ray is one of my favourite water animals at this point.

After this, we watched the sea turtles getting fed, which was pretty funny and interesting. Later, as we walked by, there were a bunch sunning themselves on the sandy beach part of their lagoon. It was pretty neat. If you wanted, you could buy a $2 cup of vegetables and feed them, but I wasn’t all that interested in that.

We wandered around a bit to look at things, until the Sea Lion feeding started, which was pretty neat. The sea lions would line up around the edge of their pool, and when it was time to feed, they would get called by name, and would have to stand in a special are to get food. It was pretty interesting how they use even food time as training time. After they were all full up, they started the sea lion show. It was pretty cute. They had one who painted (very poorly), one who was acting out “scenes” from Mission Impossible (this was very funny!), they both danced, and swam and jumped in their pools and were just generally amusing. I wanted to take one home, but they said no. Too bad!

We also got to see a couple of dolphin shows, which weren’t all that amazing, but amusing, with the jumping and the flipping and the trainers on surfing on their backs. It would have been more interesting to have been in the water with them. ::shrugs::

There was also a Sting Ray Ballet, where a diver/trainer swam around with the sting ray’s, and fed them. They didn’t really do any “tricks”, but she would use hand signals to get them to raise up off the floor, or to dismiss them, when she was done feeding them. It was kind of cool.

They had birds in a rehab center, some tropical type fishes, and penguins, as well (which? Penguins live in the antarctic, but whatever!). It was pretty neat.

Oh, and Jenn! I wanted to say that I saw a LOT of Moorish Idols when I was there. And I’m not sure if you can actually make a Finding Nemo tank – every time we saw those fishes, they were separated out. So I’m not sure if it’s because of personality conflicts or because they didn’t want Disney saying anything. And all the puffer fish that we saw were over a foot long (none puffed when we saw them).

We also went to the Waikiki Aquarium, which was pretty interesting. I think it was a really well done aquarium because they give you a little device where you key in the numbers on the display, then you listen to the little recording on your device. It’s like having a personal tour guide. It was pretty cool, because if you missed something, you could just go back and listen to it again! They had lots of different stuff there, but their focus seemed to be on coral life education. Makes a lot of sense – the majority of Hawaii waters are surrounded by reefs. We saw and learned about all sorts of different sea urchins, and got to see all sorts of different water animals, including an octopus that changed colours. They had jelly fish, sea horses, sea dragons (which are similar to sea horses, only they look more like plants, and are very long and spindly), giant crabs, and lots and lots of fish and sharks. Did you know that sharks have no ribs? So the next time I feel like cooking ribs and having people over, I’m going to tell them that they are shark ribs, just for fun. We also got to see a frogfish eat, which was pretty interesting (it was dead, but the people had to put it on a stick and pretend that it was alive so the fish would eat it, pretty cool, actually).

They also have Hawaiian Monk Seals, which are endangered (I think), but very fun to watch. they are also super cute, and I totally wanted to take one home with me. If you go to the Waikiki aquarium webpage (like provided above), you can view the seal web cam, or the shark web cam. It’s a pretty neat page, you should check it out.

Anyway, I should go have my lunch. I have an appointment with the dr. this aft (routine, don’t worry), so I’ll be happy to take my list of questions to get answered today!