Christmas Gift of Adventure: Day 1


Last Christmas, my husband and I decided that instead of giving them toys we would give our two toddlers a gift of adventure.  We planned an activity-filled weekend away from home albeit just a few kilometers from home.  Our toddlers may be ready for that out-of-town weekender but hubby and i just aren’t confident enough that we’d be able to cope with all the fuss. So, we settled for an entire day at Manila Ocean Park, a night at City Garden Suites, a morning stroll at Luneta Parkand to cap it all off, an afternoon at the Aliw Theater for The Little Big Club Concert. 

Manila Ocean Park

As what always happens when you have kids in tow, things do not go according to plan.  Thus, our Manila Ocean Park adventure started at lunch time and not at 9am as indicated in our itinerary.  Suffice it to say that the schedule I prepared days in advance was thrown straight into the trash bin. Regardless, we still had an awesome good time!

Jade & Jakei “impatiently” waiting at the ticket booth for Papa

It was already past 11am when we got there so we started off with lunch at Makansutra Asian Food Village.  We got 20% discount for getting the Manila Ocean Park Ultimate Experience package and a free Cheng Tng using the voucher from Enjoy Philippines.

hmm, what to eat?
…so many choices

no food goes to waste
when hungry stomachs await


Jade ate with gusto
all on her own

but Jakei had to stay in his stroller
coz there were no high chairs
With our tummies full, we set off to start our ocean adventure with the SEA LION SHOW.  We had a 30 minute wait which we spent watching the sea lions swim at the MARINE LIFE HABITAT.

at the marine life habitat
just noticed that the tots look so sad in this pic

still at the marine life habitat
watching the sea lions underwater



keeping the little ones entertained
while waiting for the show to start


the sea lions with their cool, cool, cool tricks


When we went back inside the building, there was still a long line at the Oceanarium as there were about two to three schools on field trips.  We decided to view the JELLIES exhibit  instead.  Jade was so amazed at the jellyfish she would probably have stayed there forever if she had a choice!


“Papa, guess how many jellies there are?”

Tots were too enthralled with the jellies to gamely pose for the camera
If Jade had such a wonderful time with the jellies, our walk through the OCEANARIUMwas the complete opposite.  She was terrified of being so close to the marine creatures that she refused to let go of dear Mama.  Jakei though had a great time.  He and Papa enjoyed looking through each and every aquarium. 
“there was a little turtle who lived in a pond
he swam at the bottom and he climbed on rock”


Jakei and Papa marvelling at the wonders of marine life


Jade furtively looking behind us to check on the fish.
She was terrified of the fish but was brave enough to go through the tunnel with us.


“If I lived under the sea, sea, sea… I think it would be neat as it could be, be, be…
I could visit all the fish anytime I wish… If I lived under the sea”
Thanks to Barney’s song, we were able to go through the tunnel without much fuss.

 We had early dinner at Pancake House but should have rushed through our meal coz when we went out to queue for the Musical Fountain Show, the place was already packed and we were asked to wait for the 730pm show.  We couldn’t stay that late as we were strict with the toddlers’ bedtime (even during holidays…yeah, we’re tyrannic parents. haha!), so we decided to just come back some other time to watch the show and headed for the hotel to get the tots cleaned up and ready for bed before 9pm.

The toddlers were still brimming with energy when we got to the hotel. Jade kept talking about “the fish, and the shark,  then the sea lion… remember, manila ocean park, mama?, remember.”  But my husband and I, our looks belying our age but our bodies definitely feeling it, were totally spent.  So, off to their bath the toddlers went then after what seemed like hours of “quiet” time slumbered peacefully into the night. 

Are we going back there?  Definitely yes, but not soon… probably when Jakei is of school age already.

What did we love most about the place?  the toddlers loved the jelllies most,  husband and i loved watching the looks of amazement on their faces


Our Toddler-friendliness Rating: 8 because…

  • the rest rooms were not spacious enough for diaper changes
  • strollers can be brought inside the oceanarium but only if you’re willing to lug it up and down flights of stairs
(Read the second day of our weekend adventure on my next post.  )


  1. Hi, Chrizelle! Yes, that's true. The crowd was overwhelming and I was also fearful that my toddlers might get lost or taken. But I'm really paranoid about safety and never let them stray more than an arm's length when we're in a public place anyway. The line to the Oceanarium was a mile long when we got there so we went to the other attractions first. By 5pm, the line was gone so we didn't have to wait long to go inside.

    Thanks for taking time to read my blog and commenting! Hope you'd follow the crazy world of my toddlers.

  2. The place was totally fun and educational butI wish Manila Ocean Park's admin will try to control the number for big groups such as booked tours and field trip to a certain number or time of the day. We went Jan 22 to join an elementary school field trip and the place was too crowded. As a mom, I did felt that it was not safe for the children to be there anymore. There were like more than 5 schools that were there all the time and include the number of families and other people walking-in on a weekend. We did not get to enjoy the whole package because the very looooong lines. I just wish my son's school went on a weekday to avoid the crown but at the same time Manila Ocean Park should also control number big groups coming in a day.

  3. Hi, Kaye! Thanks for the compliment. The toddlers loved the jellyfish the most. It was also not as crowded as the oceanarium. It has been more than a month since our visit by Jade, my 2-yr-old, still exclaims "Like in Manila Ocean Park. I'm going to the see the fish…" whenever she sees pictures of marine life. We'll be taking them there again when they're older…but on a weekday this time when there's not much of a crowd.

  4. Kaye Langit-Luistro says

    Wonderful review!I'm yet to see the other attractions at the theme park. Thanks for blogging about them. More power!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Tucson Realtor says

    Braney is a childhood classic! The shows they have today are just pure garbarge.

  6. Rachel Kuklis says

    Thanks for sharing, I`ll come back and check one of the other posts you have written. See ya.

  7. Douglass Rm says

    Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

  8. Nothing is more special than a family day out. It’s the best thing about weekends, the magic it does with the family. It tightens the bonds. Glad to see that you have a happy family there. Keep up on sharing your family moments with us.



  1. […] Read more about our Manila Ocean Park adventure here. […]

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