After only two days of being stuck in the concrete jungle of Waikiki we needed a break. We were planning on hiking Diamond Head the next day and visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center the day after that. But on this day we really could not find anything that sounded exciting. Since we did not have a rental car our transportation was limited to walking, city buses, or taxis and that left out just driving aimlessly or checking out the surf on Oahu’s north shore like we would have done had we a car. So, we opened the guidebook and chose Sea Life Park, a really small version of Seaworld that was accessible by mass transit.
The website for the mass transit bus on Oahu, called The Bus, said that the trip to Sea Life would take a little over an hour to get there. We found where the nearest bus stop was to our hotel and what time to be there and collected our stuff in anticipation of getting out of the heart of the tourist zone for a few hours. We walked down the street to the bus stop and just like mass transit anywhere in the world, we waited. And waited. And waited. Our bus finally arrived and after an hour and a half of stopping repeatedly to let passengers on and off and listening to the driver politely try to explain to non-English speaking tourists where the bus was going we finally made it to Sea Life Park. I really hate riding the bus!
We recently watched the movie Dolphin Tale and our daughter, Sydney, is now really into dolphins, along with every other living creature. Sealife Park has a dolphin show where she would get the chance to see a real live dolphin. Or at least she would have had we the forethought to check the schedule of shows for the day before leaving our hotel. Once at the park we saw that we had missed the one and only dolphin show for the day. Fortunately, there was another show that involved some other dolphins and would be starting shortly. As we were trying to figure out if it was worth spending $80 for the three of us to enter for only a couple of shows in this tiny marine park, a lady approached us and gave us an extra adult ticket that she had. Well, that settled it. It would only cost $50 for the three of us. We paid our entrance fee and made our way into the park and found the dolphin tank.
Once at the dolphin tank Sydney and another girl were mesmerized by the dolphins swimming round and round in the tank. The dolphin trainers had the dolphins do some tricks while blasting 80′s music. Next, they marched out the penguins, once again to 80′s music. And then came the sea lions and their tricks to more 80′s music. The show was cheesy, but Sydney enjoyed it.
We wandered the small park and saw what little there was to see, which wasn’t much. Kerri and Sydney wanted to feed the sea turtles and for only $4 for a small amount of salad greens (it looked like the leftovers of someone’s lunch), they got their wish. We discovered where the dolphin show is held and watched as some tourists, who after taking out a second mortgage on their homes, had the opportunity to swim with dolphins. I’ve heard that if you are going to swim with dolphins, do it in Mexico. You get more bang for your buck. It must have something about the lack of animal rights groups and regulations.
After seeing all there was to see we went out front to wait for the bus that would take us back to Waikiki. As we were waiting we started talking to an Australian family who was vacationing in Hawaii for a couple of weeks. We are planning to visit Australia during our round-the-world trip so we were curious as to how they found the prices in Hawaii compared to those in Australia. They said that many Australians book vacation tours to Hawaii because everything is so cheap. This really blew us away as every American considers Hawaii expensive. I bet if Australians visited the mainland they would be in shopping Heaven.
Our overall impression of Sea Life Park is that it is really small and like everything else within and around Waikiki, really expensive! I think what would have made the park even better would be a sushi stand. I think it would have been a huge hit with all of the Japanese tourists and would have answered one of life’s big unknowns; does dolphin really taste like tuna?