“This park has some problems. Not as good as described or reviewed.”
Having read the reviews, we booked tickets and went yesterday 19.07.13 The day was a disappointment. Many staff appear untrained and unfamiliar with the park. The website has some misleading info. The park does not open until 9am. The check in and breakfast are open from 0730. We arrived before 8am to be told that there were no Cabana shelters left, to hire and the first dolphin experience available was well into the afternoon. This was apparently due to some tickets being reserved for special guests. Ŵhen I asked reception to explain how their allocation worked they were unable to do so.
As there had been weather warnings issuedearlier in the morning for thunder and lightning from midday, throughout the afternoon, I asked reception what happened if lightning storms arrived (previous experience in other parks are that they stop the rides and close the attractions), they were evasive and would not give a direct answer, asking me to ask other members of staff later in the day! Eventually after some pressing a manager confirmed that the dolphin swims would be cancelled and we would require to rebook our visit. There was however no availability during the remainder of our holiday.
The website notes that the park is limited to 1200 guests a day, this does not quite equate to the carpark with 1000 plus cars in it.
Entry was slow with a long line up for the 'compulsary' entrance photo.
Despite having paid over $300 per person for our direct tickets (there are supposedly many discounted resellers that can supply them for half this cost, but we only found this out from talking to locals in the park), however despite the sums paid, we were told that we were not allowed more than one locker per family, irrespective of the number of people. The staff were unhelpful and did not like anyone questioning the basis of this 'rule' the lockers are large, for one, inadequate for a few rucksacks/bags.
Breakfast was plentiful, if of a very basic type. Somewhere between a poor school canteen. Lots of food, most deep fried. The tables were dirty, the cutlery plastic, the coffee poor. The staff were wandering about oblivious to the dirty tables, spilt food and various birds sitting among the uncleared leftovers on the tables. Not the most hygienic way to start a day.
The sunscreen issue.
The park has many, many 'rules' that require to be obeyed.
No outside sunscreen is one of these rules. The park will according to their website provide their own. With more available to purchase. What they provide is a sample of 10-15g (similar to a free sample in a magazine). They stress that only this SPF 30 cream can be used as all others are harmful to animals. We followed their 'rules' and all in our party ended up sunburnt. We are all fair skinned. The staff had no more than one sample per person available, and there was none available to buy. Later in the day it became apparent that this 'rule' is not followed by the staff, some of the parks hotographers were applying proprietary bottles of sunscreen before entering the water.
There appeared to be a considerable number of people with sunburn, wandering around, prior to the end of the day. If you have fair skin be very aware that the park supplied sunscreen is not very good.
Lunch was a rerun of breakfast with more school cafeteria standards of food, with limited hygiene being applied by the overwhelmed servers. I gave both breakfast and lunch a miss. This was way below the advertised quality of food.
The aviary ,the river, together with the reef were all good to see with pleasant and knowledgeable staff. The life guards throughout looked mainly bored, pained to be here and more interested in talking to their friends than watching the water.
Our dolphin swim eventually came round later in the afternoon. The threatened storms did not appear. The experience was good particularly for the kids. The trainers/ handlers were not that friendly, the couple we had appeared fairly bored and uninterested. The entire meeting appeared centred around taking and retaking the photos from the park photographers. Packages of photos from $89-180.
The swimming with rays in the reef was fairly memorable.
In summary, the day works out at approx $1000 per three people, irrespective of age. The park is not as good as advertised/reviewed by some.
There are some major issues, lack of lockers, sunscreen and food hygiene being the main ones.
The park is oversold and more commercialised (blatantly money grabbing) than any other I have been to.
The swim with dolphins is unique( as far as I know), and this will probably be the lasting memory. Once the sunburn caused by the parks mismanagement calms down.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.