Swimming with Dolphins in Ocean Adventure in Subic Bay - Philippines
Location and how to get there
Ocean Adventure is a one-of-a-kind wildlife amusement park where you can go swimming with dolphins. It is owned by the same company that operates Camayan Beach Resort. By land it is about 2-3 hours far from Manila, the capital. Take exit 65 for San Fernando toward Olongapo City. , and head for Olongapo City. It is to the right of the Fall of Bataan landmark. TIP Road Expressway is next at left, and from there you may enter the SBMA. Go to Rizal Avenue on your right and then head for the Argonaut junction. Bypassing the international airport, you turn left at an intersection leading to Triboa. Enter the security gate and you will see signs pointing you to this Subic wildlife park, which is several kilometers away.
What to see
If you want to see exotic animals in real life and watch them perform tricks, this is your chance. Go swimming with the dolphins in Ocean Adventure. Or learn about valuable environmental lessons from a clever South American sea lion. You will get to see bottle-nosed dolphins and false killer whales making live performances in their lagoons. The Sea Lion Training Center lets you watch these lively animals play and paint on canvas. For a deeper look into marine life, you and your family can observe aquatic creatures in the Ocean Adventure Discovery Aquarium. The El Capitan Stadium can accommodate up to 700 persons to watch the parks whales and dolphins.
Another thing this Subic wildlife park offers is the Animal Encounters program, which lets you choose how you want to interact with the dolphins and other mammals of Ocean Adventure. You can go diving with dolphins, play in the water with them, or pose for a photograph with a sea lion. You can even get a taste of animal training and earn a certificate for your stint.
Pricing varies greatly depending on which animal you want to watch or interact with, for how long and the number of people joining. Swimming with dolphins in Ocean Adventure goes for P3,750 per person and a child must be at least 8 years old. A 30-minute beach encounter fee is P2,500. Diving underwater with the dolphins and whales for half an hour will cost you P4,250 and requires proof of diving certification. Training sessions fetch for P5,350. You can take pictures for souvenirs. Discounts for members may be available in some cases.
If this is too much for your budget, you can take your kids for a photo with their favorite animal. The charge is P350 for a photo with a sea lion, P500 for a whale or dolphin, and P650 for two persons with a whale or dolphin.
Ocean Adventure claims it is the first and only open sea marine park in the Southeast Asian region. Its avowed goals are to provide first-class marine life entertainment for the public, while also helping to protect endangered wildlife and educate people about conservation and environmental issues. Some years ago a local animal rights group filed a case against the company for alleged violation of environmental laws; however the case was withdrawn by the government. The Subic wildlife park has received criticism for using captured animals for profit and keeping them in an unnatural habitat.
Please note there may be diving and age-related restrictions in some of the programs. You are also advised to bring a towel and swimsuit.