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“most affordable dolphin experience”

Sea Life Park Hawaii
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Small-Group Tour of East Oahu's Famous Beaches
Ranked #5 of 17 things to do in Waimanalo
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Sea Life Park, Hawaii's marine life comes alive in a dazzling display that will entertain and delight visitors. Located just 15 miles from Waikiki, on Oahu's beautiful and scenic Makapuu Point, Sea Life Park is a world-class marine attraction perched between the majestic Koolau Mountain Range and breathtaking Makapuu Beach. See dolphins swim, sea lions sing, and penguins perform in this magical place by the sea.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“most affordable dolphin experience”
Reviewed July 5, 2013

We visited in December of 2010. But I have memories of this place from the early '80s! I also miss the show with the Hawaiian princess, but I'm sure you can imagine that left quite an impression on me as a little girl. In 2010 I took my three little girls here and we splurged on a Dolphin experience. We did the milder (and cheaper) Dolphin Encounter, as my kids were just 3, 6 and 9. This was perfect for us. We all loved it. We also stayed for the show and toured around the park. We also bough the professional pictures because we will probably not do this again and the photos were worth it to me. Plus, other visitors NOT doing the experience cannot get close enough to take good shots.

At least according to my research at the time, this is the most affordable dolphin experience. It is much more expensive at the hotels and other venues I found. You do need to get there, which adds time and travel cost. But because I wanted to return to this childhood memory of mine, that cost was worth it to me. Plus, we are familiar with the area, so the travel was not stressful. It's pretty easy to get to. I would plan around city traffic times, though, if you are coming from the leeward side.

Now, if you are NOT doing an experience of some kind (feeding, swim, encounter, etc), then there is not too much more to do here. Still, it would be great for kids who love animals and great for families who would like more appreciation for the wildlife treasures of Hawaii. The show was fun, but similar to what you might find elsewhere - except where else can you see a Wholphin?!

Finally, this is NOT like Sea World. It is not HUGE and full of rides and killer whales. There are not lots of other activities to keep you busy from open til close. I would suggest building a visit around a dolphin/shark/feeding experience, getting there early to take in the other exhibits and planning on about half a day. We ended with some ice cream and all left happy!

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,150 reviews from our community

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English first
Naperville, Illinois
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“This was a disappointment”
Reviewed July 5, 2013

This was supose to be a birthday present for my 10 year old niece who was turning 11 on the day we went to this attraction. We had the go card and this was one of the attractions that you could use visit. Well, it takes about one hour to see all the attractions and the go cards only allow you to have an encounter with the dolphins. To swim with the dolphins was about $50 to $100 more. I don't know if you could upgrade with your card, I wasn't asked to at the entrance because I would have.

The encounter is standing in the water behind a barrier while they bring the dolphin over to kiss you and take expensive pictures. The area where you stand if you are taking pictures is not really a good area to take any pictures. Needless to say, I think this is a rip off. I must say that those few that paid the extra money did actually get the opportunity tot swim withthe dolphins and to play with them.

After you get out of the dolphin pool you have to wait another hour or so to get the pictures.
One other thing is that they had a dolphin show for a group of Japanese tourists and the person talking about the show spoke Japanese, but there was no one there to tell us what wa going on in English.

My 11 and 9 year old thought it was a waste of time since they did not get to swim with the dolphins.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank hross99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
“Amazing animals up close and personal!”
Reviewed July 4, 2013

Although it was smaller than I expected, it was worth the money. We enjoyed feeding the sea turtles and thoroughly enjoyed the sea lion encounter and the Dolphin Royal Swim.

Visited June 2013
Thank Brandily9702
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Fun for the kids”
Reviewed June 30, 2013 via mobile

Took my 11 yr old. He enjoyed the dolphin shows that happen twice a day. Suggest getting a coupon in the Hawaii catalogs for free parking and discount admission. Park is small but there is a exhibit show about every 45 minutes, so it keeps you entertained for hours.

Visited June 2013
Thank Valmiss209
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Kids loved the dolphin encounter”
Reviewed June 26, 2013

The dolphin encounter was free for each of us with our Go Oahu card bonus. My 6 & 9 year old boys loved it!! Kissing, touching, dancing with the dolphin was something they will always remember. We purchased 2 photos $16 each. We found plenty of parking and we thought the food was pretty good. The park itself could use an update and some more attractions but my boys had a great time. Do not plan to spend your entire day here or you will get bored.

Visited April 2013
Thank Kylesmama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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