When they said that Manila Ocean Park was still on its soft opening, they really meant it.
The entrance was barely finished, the amazon forest portion looked far from lush and the whole place was not accessible to the disabled (no ramps anywhere!).
But in spite of all the birthing pains, I saw a lot of potential.
First off, the members of the staff scattered around the aquarium were approachable and fairly knowledgeable. Then the different sections (save for the pseudo amazon rain forest) were made and designed taking kids into account, so that the little devils could run and marvel at the little and big fishies to their hearts content.
The "Kalaliman" section was dark and creepy and I thought it was the second coolest room there. It was like a big lounge with a humongous circular screen showing (what else) sea creatures suspended in the middle of the room and all around the room where enormous aquariums holding silvery fishes.
Sorry for being non-cosmopolitan, but I've never been to Singapore so this was my first time to see something similar to the walkway tunnel. It was simply amazing, like you could just reach out and easily join them inside. However, the water was quite murky, like it needed a good cleaning.
Right after the walkway is another area with, among others, an overhead aquarium filled with manta rays. Watch out for that one, you'll definitely get a crick in your neck from looking up, but it's well worth it.
There's also a reading are for the kids which I really thought was a good idea.
There was a second floor with a fish spa (you get to dip your feet in a shallow pool with these fishes who like to nibble on dead skin, same fishes who munched on Wilhelmina Slater's tootsies in Ugly Betty) and a glass boat. But we never went there because it was time for lunch. Hungry people will probably not appreciate skin loving fishes.
I'll definitely go back there a few months from now and hopefully, all the bits and pieces would be put in their proper place by then.
Strangely enough, the official Manila Ocean Park website is in Korean so please click here for an informative article on the Oceanarium.
There's a big parking area, but I doubt that it can handle a weekend crowd. We went on a weekday but there was already quite a number even then, so I guess that can easily balloon during the weekends.
I hope this place remains well maintained because it's great for kids to have more informative and fun places to go to (no more wowowee field trips pls!).