Sunday, August 30, 2009

Taking the Kids to Manila Ocean Park

With Cols still in GenSan and Caitlin sleeping over at her grandparents' house over the weekend, it was just me and Ethan at home. So I brought him to Sunday School at our Marikina church this morning. Then we had lunch at Valle. After lunch, I brought the kids to Manila Ocean Park.

If one has been to Hong Kong's Ocean Park, this place definitely pales in comparison by a mile. Manila Ocean Park is more of an aquarium. There are no sea animal shows or thrill rides. And perhaps most striking when you get there, is it seems to be more of a strip mall with semblances of "tiangges". The center atrium where everything converges had several people sitting in white plastic monoblock chairs. At first, I thought they were waiting to watch some shows on the makeshift stages. But as it turned out, they were all waiting for their turn to buy tickets!

From Manila Ocean Park

There were only four (4) ticket counters. To give Manila Ocean Park management some credit, at least they don't let people stand on long queues for their turn. Instead, they have a ticketing system similar to some banks where you get a number then wait for your turn. That way, you can spend the time going through the shops (or sitting on the monoblock chairs). When I got our number, there were still more than 100 customers in front of us. So we went around to see the shops. Most are restaurants so there wasn't much to buy. We ended up killing time at Mrs. Fields where I ordered a chocolate shake and the kids ate their snacks.

When our number was finally flashed on the LED screen (this was about 40 mins later from the time I got our queue ticket), I rushed to the counter. The tickets were Php400 for me and yaya, and Php300 each for Ethan and Caitlin. We rushed to the Mermaid show which was scheduled to start at 5pm. Since we were already late, we were seated at the very back. I was expecting some ampitheater, but no -- it was just some dark room with, again, white monoblock chairs.

The mermaid show started about 10 mins after we got it. It was just about 5 women in mermaid costume doing some underwater routine. I was hoping that they would at least do some sort of synchronized swimming routine, but no such luck. It was really basic underwater swimming. Pretty lame. Ethan wasn't too much into it, but Caitlin at least sort of enjoyed the short show (while at the same time kept on commenting why these mermaids have to wear goggles).

When the show was about to end, the PA system announced that people can have their pictures taken with the mermaids behind the aquarium glass. But other than that, there was another mermaid at the back in a make shift photo booth just behind us. Since we were seated right there at the back, I quickly pulled the kids and we were the first in line to take picture with our mermaid. Ethan freaked out when he saw the mermaid so I ended up just taking Caitlin's photo with her.

From Manila Ocean Park

After the mermaid show, we went in to the main aquarium area. It was actually not bad. There was a good collection of fishes. The props also looked pretty good. The main draw of course was the tunnel where you can see the stringrays swim above you.

From Manila Ocean Park

We left Ocean Park close to 6pm already, and passed by for Dad at Dasma. Then we had an unscheduled dinner at Valle since it was getting quite late and I still had to go through some Accounting papers with Dad.

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