Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Ocean Parks Adventure

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

I love the Ocean because of the colorful varieties of the species of fish and marine animals and the excellent marine life with an abundance of hard and soft corals. It is fascinating to have a date with these water species as I scuba dive or snorkel.

But I could not always go under water when I like to, because of some limitations like bad weather, cold water (i can't handle it really!!)during winter months or in the Philippines "cool" months from October to February and of course the hassles and the expense of going and traveling to far away locations just to see these wonderful marine species. For this reason, I really love the idea of Ocean Parks and Sea Aquariums. With these structures I am able to enjoy underwater life without getting wet during the colder months.

I have been to several underwater theme parks abroad like Underwater World Aquarium in Guam,Ocean Park Hong Kong, Underwater World in Singapore,Siam Ocean World in Bangkok, Thailand, Aquaria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sydney Aquarium Australia in Darling Harbour and just last weekend, November 28, 2009, to our very own, Manila Ocean Park.

UnderWater World - Guam

Last January 2006, I visited Guam as part of my work as an International Legal Manager of the Office of General Counsel - Asia. With my colleagues Keith and Mary Ann Worley, Associate Legal Counsel of OGC-Asia, we went to the Underwater World Guam to eat at Sam Choy restaurant. UnderWater World Guam is one of the longest tunnel-aquariums in the world and the only oceanarium in Guam. The aquarium opened in 1999 and has more than 2,000 animals representing more than 80 different species. Many of the animals included in the aquarium are native to Guam and the surrounding Marianas Islands.

Ocean Park Hongkong

Ocean Park Hong Kong, is a marine-themed amusement park that I visited with my friends (Jean, Marcs, Ping and Nilo)in January 2007 as part of the birthday celebrations of Jean and Nilo. The park is huge and separated by a large mountain into two areas, The Summit (Headland) and The Waterfront (Lowland).

The theme park currently has 35 rides in addition to the different Aquariums - Pacific Pier which features Californian sea lions and different species of seals; Atoll Reef which is a four-story high aquarium holding more than 2,000 fish in 250 different species; Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium, another aquarium exclusively for 5 Chinese sturgeon; Ocean Theatre where you can watch the performances by dolphins and sea lions; Ocean Park Tower, a sort of observation deck that rises high enough for park-goers to survey the South China Sea and the Sea Jelly Spectacular, an aquarium built to display more than 400 jellyfish.

Aquaria KLCC, Malaysia

The Aquaria KLCC is an underwater park located beneath Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre within Kuala Lumpur City Centre development precinct. It features a 90-metre long underwater tunnel and houses over 250 different species and over 20,000 land and aquatic animals from Malaysia and around the world. I have seen the Aquarium during my first visit but didn't go inside during my visit last September 29, 2009.

Underwater World in Sentosa, Singapore

Underwater World Singapore is an oceanarium located on the offshore Singaporean island of Sentosa. Opened in 1991, it has more than 2,500 marine animals of 250 species from different regions of the world. The oceanarium is underground and has a 83-metre (270 ft) long travelator that moves visitors along a submerged 6-millimetre (0.24 in) thick acrylic-windowed tunnel from which they can look at an array of marine life including coral reefs, stingrays, moray eels, turtles, sharks and others.

Siam Ocean World Aquarium

Siam Ocean World is the biggest aquarium in Southeast Asia located at the heart of Bangkok. It is Thailand’s first world-class aquarium. The aquarium is open daily from 9am-10pm and the entrance fees (for both locals and foreigners) are Bt450 for adults and Bt280 for children (with heights between 80-120 centimetres). I've seen it in 2001 during my first visit in the country and don't have a good camera. I should visit it again when I go to Bangkok so I can have some digital pictures.

Sydney Aquarium Australia

I went to Sydney Aquarium at Darling Harbour when I bumped into Kenzie and Caleb from Colorado last July 8, 2009 although we didn't go into the Aquarium on the same day because of limited time. At Sydney Aquarium, you can walk under water and explore Australia's rich and diverse aquatic life and habitats.

Manila Ocean Park

The Manila Ocean Park is an oceanarium in Manila, Philippines which was opened only last March 2008 behind the historical Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park. Unlike Hongkong's Ocean Park with rides attractions, the Manila Ocean Park boast only to an oceanarium, which they said is larger than the Sentosa Underwater World Oceanarium in Singapore. The Oceanarium includes Agos (Flow) – a rainforest motif complete with 8 tanks of freshwater fishes; Bahura (The Reef) – exhibition of artificial corals in 48 tanks; Laot (Fishing Ground) – features big fish and Eagle-spotted rays in a long tank; Buhay na Karagatan (Living Ocean) – the main attraction of the oceanarium is a 25-meter long walkway tunnel with 220-degree curved acrylic walls similarly seen in Ocean Park Hong Kong, Underwater World in Singapore, Siam Ocean World in Bangkok, Thailand and Aquaria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The difference between MOP's is a 220-degree curved tunnel as compared to the standard 180-degree curved tunnels seen in other Asian countries; Kalaliman ( The Deep ) - showcases marine animals found in the deepest parts Philippine waters;Pagi (Sting Ray)– variety of rays fly over while you're under this unique Overhang Tank; Pating (Shark) – features several species of shark.

There is also a marine-themed mall and the hotel, theme park, outdoor pools, Dr. Fish, Boat Ride and a Jelly fish Aquarium called "Jellies - Dancing Sea Fairies".

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