Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Day of Fun

Sunday was the first day in about two months that I didn't have to deal with details. The move part three is over, most things have found a home and we decided to go to one of our favorite places. I know I have posted about Ocean Park before (and I will again since we bought season passes), but most of what we saw and did this time was completely different from last time. We were joined on our visit by Catie and Rommel. It was Catie's first time at the park which is always fun.

We started our day in the main aquarium. We missed this last time so Shayne will definitely need a revisit. The first thing you could do was pet a starfish.

After that it was look but don't touch. Oh, but the looks were great.

Those wormy things in the last photo were a bit creepy. In the next photo the large bumpy rock is actually the head of a fairly large octopus. Calamari anyone?

The chambered nautilus were huge as was the main viewing tank.

The sea dragons and seahorses were delightful. I especially like the first one pictured, the leafy sea dragon. At first you think the tank is only full of seaweed until you see the little dragon head and watch it swim.

The spider crabs were impressive. (Don't tell anyone, but I think I ate one of their cousins in Singapore - with chili sauce.)

This aquarium is certainly one of the best I have seen for its variety and the unusual specimens on display.

From there it was on to the panda exhibit. There is a red panda and a pair of the black and white ones we all recognize. This day one of the pair was hiding (or resting out of sight) and the other was just having a lazy day.

Next was the goldfish exhibit and some of the most unique specimens I have ever seen.

From there we boarded the cable car to head to the top of the mountain and the rest of the park. The views are lovely and the ride very relaxing. Except for the part where our car stopped for several minutes and we thought we might have to do some fancy climbing.

As we neared the end of the ride, Catie and I spotted our first big ride of the day. This roller coaster was being tested when we came to the park with Shayne. Now it is up and running and another is under construction that  winds underneath it.

The cars on this coaster seat four across. The couple ahead of us in line (who spoke no English) managed to ask if we wanted to ride with them. Of course we said yes. We all got into the last car and screamed and laughed our way through the ride. A few minutes later they found us again because they wanted to take photos together.

His shirt says "Trophy Boyfriend."

Finding where the food stands were was quite easy.

Ken and Rommel battled it out in the bumper cars while Ken and Catie spun till I got dizzy watching.

The view from the stands for the dolphin and seal show is really something. 

The show this time was a bit unusual. It seems the dolphins decided to go on strike. The trainers would give commands, the dolphins would ignore them and the crowd would laugh. This went on for the first half of the show until they brought in the second cast. Even then there was one dolphin who did his own thing. It was actually very funny.

Though we barely touched the surface of what was offered, the afternoon was growing late and we had two "must sees" before we could head off for some Mexican food and margaritas. First up was the sea jelly exhibit. This is like walking through a mirror maze with tanks of jellyfish interspersed. The specimens are incredibly beautiful. Here is a little tour.

After the Sea Jelly Exhibit, we rode the cable car one more time to get our spot to watch Symbio. Ken and Catie patiently waited for darkness to fall and the crowds to gather.

Symbio is the story of the water dragon and the fire dragon who battle for dominance till they see that together they can live in harmony and accomplish great things. If you have been to the Phantasm show at Hollywood Land at Disney Orlando, then you have an idea of what this was like (just a lot smaller). There was water, fire, fireworks, music and amazing projections onto the water wall. It was well worth the wait.

It was a great day at the park and I am looking forward to many more. I want to take my better camera out one day and have a photo shoot with more of those amazing animals and sea creatures. What a fun and educational treasure Ocean Park has become. It keeps growing and educating and I am lucky to have it so close by.

Now off to the margaritas!