Last weekend was another busy one for the family. On Saturday, Connor had a playdate with the ever so cute Miss. Lily Paige. Just look at how happy they were to be reunited once again:
For this playdate, we decided to take the kiddies to Sea Life Park. I haven’t been there in ages, so it was a nice to go again. Sea Life Park didn’t include Kamaaina rates on their website, but fortunately, my friend Tasha (Lily’s mommy) called prior to going and found out that the Kamaaina rate was $20 for adults and that Sea Life Park was having a promotion with L&L Drive Inn. By bringing in an L&L Drive Inn cup, we got a 2 for 1 discount on admission into the park. Kids under 2 are also free, so Ev and I ended up spending $20+tax for admission. Score!
After we went through the entrance, we made our way to the Hawaiian Reef Tank. I remember that this tank used to have hundreds of colorful fish, sting rays, and sharks when I was a kid and this used to be my favorite exhibit at Sea Life Park. So, I was a little disappointed to see the tank’s current state. This tank is now used for the “Shark Trek” interactive experience where people can pay to swim with sharks, which explains why the tank is now mostly filled with hammerheads and other sharks instead of fish.
On the bright side, I was told that the tank was being closed for renovations, which hopefully means that the tank will be improved in the very near future. And, despite my disappointment with the tank, Connor didn’t know any better and still enjoyed looking at the sharks and the few other fish that were in there.
After the Hawaiian Reef Tank, we visited the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Lagoon. I was surprised at how many large turtles they had in such a small space. They probably had about a dozen turtles there. Connor is very into turtles right now, and he had pointing at each one, and saying “turtle” “turtle” “turtle”!From the turtle lagoon, we visited the California Sea Lion exhibit. Again, I remember this exhibit having way more sea lions than what we saw in there. Maybe we visited this exhibit at a bad time and some of the sea lions were in some back area, but there were only about 4 sea lions swimming around in the entire exhibit.
After the sea lions, we visited the Discovery Reef Touch Pool where Connor got to touch a variety of sea creatures that are native to Hawaii’s oceans such as a clam, a sea urchin, and a baby Hawaiian sea turtle. This was one of the park’s newest exhibits and it was very well done. There was also an area where kids could crawl into a glass tunnel to the center of a fish tank and watch the fish swim from all sides of the tunnel. Unfortunately, there were way too many kids in there when we went so we skipped that portion of the exhibit.From the touch pools, we decided to make our way to the Dolphin Cove to get good seats for the Dolphin show. We got there about 30 minutes before the show started so there were still some good seats available in the shaded area. While we waited for the show to start, we ate some lunch and let the kids play around. The show was entertaining and Connor got to see dolphins and a wholphin, which is an extremely rare hybrid born from breeding a false killer whale and a dolphin. While such hybrids are said to exist in the wild, the Wholphin at Sea Life Park is the only one to exist in captivity. In addition, unlike most hybrid animals, the wholphin at Sea Life Park was fertile and has given birth to three times.
Shortly after the show ended, we headed for the Aviary, which housed approximately 300 cockatiels and lovebirds. I’ve never seen so many birds in such a small area before. It was madness. Birds everywhere, and they weren’t afraid of humans either. One landed on my head and another landed on Everett’s shoulder. I’m glad the birds were smart enough not to land on Connor because I don’t know what he would have done.
By the time we finished with the birds, it was just about Connor’s nap time, so we decided to call it a day. Connor was so tired, he literally fell asleep in his stroller on the way to our car.
I wish we were able to see more of Sea Life Park’s free shows and talks, but I don’t think the kids’ attention spans would have allowed for it. For example, we didn’t get to see the Hawaii Ocean Theater show, the Penguin Habitat talk, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle talk, the Kolohe Kai Sea Lion Show, or any of the 3-D Theater & Reef Ranger presentations.
Sea Life Park is really pushing their paid interactive programs that include swimming and/or feeding dolphins, sharks, stingrays, seals and/or turtles. Obviously, Connor is too young right now, but perhaps sometime in the future. Overall, I thought our trip to Sea Life Park was well worth the $20 we spent. It was a beautiful day and the weather was just PERFECT for spending it outside. Hopefully, they continue to have the L&L promotion, so we can take advantage of the 2 for 1 deal in the future.