Is Sea Life Park worth a visit? | Family activities on Oahu

My first visit to Sea Life Park was to obtain piles of their precious seabird guano. You weren’t expecting that, were you? See, they rehabilitate injured seabirds and I was in need of of guano for my graduate research … it was a match made in heaven. Each month I would pick up the trash bags of frozen guano they stored for me and a crowd would gather to get a glimpse of the crazy guano girl. I didn’t mind. I’m quite comfortable with my oddness.

It wasn’t until Micah was born many years later that I went to actually visit the park. I went along with our baby hui, but I can’t remember much other than that it was hot, crowded, and I was in no hurry to go back. Micah, on the other hand, thought the dolphin show was the greatest thing on earth. We decided to go back for Mila’s second birthday because she’s a big animal lover. The experience was … underwhelming. Seriously, there is so much potential. They have this incredibly beautiful property to do something great with. In reality it’s run down, there is virtually no education, and no attempt at making the place look nice. They know dolphins are their main attraction. People shell out $150-$250 to get up close in personal. Everything else is an afterthought.

The big tank at the entrance has sharks and rays, which is great, but it also has a giant rusty cage, an unexplained boat, and empty display cases along the wall. Why can’t it be amazing like the Maui Aquarium? The only real aquarium with fish had glass that was so faded, it was hard to see inside. Some exhibits were under construction and others were just odd (e.g. a big cage dedicated to parakeets and lovebirds, what?). The sea lion and dolphin shows are so over the top cheesy that I found them to be incredibly annoying and somewhat insulting. I could go on at length, but i’ll spare you. I hated it, but the kids had fun. Okay, they loved it. They’re easy to please though.

One last thing to mention. It’s expensive – $30 for adults and $15 for kids over 2. Then they make you pay an extra $5 for parking. Occasionally there are specials and I believe you can get a decent military discount – $10 I think?  If you go, please don’t pay full price. It’s just not worth it.


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