|Making our way to the upper level of the park|
|The park included two varieties of panda: Red (pictured here) and giant.|
The upper level of the park also had many marine exhibits. One aquarium was dedicated to sharks. It was by far the largest number of sharks I have ever seen at one time. Some looked friendly and others looked absolutely vicious. Another aquarium housed various seals and sea lions, and another had Chinese sturgeons, and yet another had more seals and walruses. We didn't go to any of the shows presented that day, but we did make a stop at the marine life breeding center where the trainers work and care for dolphins. We had the best view of dolphins I've ever had aside from our dolphin encounter in Cabo, and there were only a couple other people in the room too! Unfortunately the penguin exhibit was closed but there were so many other things to see that we didn't mind.
|This shark was just asking me to take his photo.|
After exhausting the upper level of Ocean Park we headed back down to the bottom via the Ocean Express themed train. Mark described it as the most steam punk train he's ever been on. The lower level of the park was definitely busier than the upper level but there were hardly any rides aside from the children's area. We started at the panda exhibit. Ocean Park has 4 pandas which were all gifted from mainland China. Only one of the pandas was visible but he was active and pretty cute, the first time I have seen a panda. There were also some red pandas in a separate display. Upon leaving the panda area you come to an exhibit of goldfish. Sounds pretty boring but these were by far the craziest looking goldfish I've ever seen. Due to extensive goldfish breeding, some looked incredibly bloated while others had weird sac-like features in unusual places.
Our next stop was the Australia exhibit. I was very excited about this one because they had advertised koalas in the exhibit. Koalas are very sensitive to noise, so they only let about twenty people go inside at a time in order to more easily maintain a quiet atmosphere. Some tour bus style tourists came up behind us in line and tried to push past me, oblivious to the fact that they were required to wait to enter the exhibit. I had actually read a warning about this online so I firmly held my ground and they were impatient and decided not to wait in line. Once we got in we saw several wallabies roaming the ground and two koalas in trees. One of the koalas was curled up asleep and you couldn't see its face, but a keeper was working with the other one to give it fresh eucalyptus and help it eat. the koalas were about twice as large as I had imagined they would be but just as cute as I thought they would be!
Our final stop was the main aquarium. We had to wait 10-12 minutes to get inside. Now, I don't think there is anything that frustrates me more than tour bus groups. The leaders waving their flags around, the tourist themselves in large clumps that are difficult to maneuver around, and the obsession so great with taking photos that I don't think these tourists even take the time to observe or take in the sights or exhibits in question. Well, we were squashed in line in the middle of several Asian tour groups. I think the tour groups must have received a large discount for entering the park after a certain hour.They were loud. They were rude. And they had way too many selfie sticks. There were several ladies ahead of us in line "sneakily" taking selfies which included Dale and his beard since they found it so fascinating. Inside the aquarium, they would push in front of us to be able to get a better photo of a certain fish and take selfies with just about every different tank. Most of the tanks had images (not words, so it should be understood universally) indicating no flash but these people completely ignored it. I'm surprised they don't understand that flash makes for a horrible photo in an aquarium anyway. At one point a middle-aged woman came up to me speaking in a language I didn't understand and gesturing at me and at her camera. I assumed she wanted me to take a photo for her. I agreed and she somewhat forcefully linked arms with me and led me to her group of friends. Come to find out, she wanted to take a photo with me. I'm not sure if I was the first westerner she'd ever seen or if she was amused by my sunburn, but I humored her and we took a photo together acting like besties. The finale of the aquarium was a very large tank including large stingrays and hammerhead sharks. Dale really liked the hammerhead sharks. Maybe even more than I liked the koalas. But honestly it was a relief to get out of the aquarium and out of Ocean Park by the time we were done. Overall it was a very fun adventure!
|Giant tank of only milkfish|
|Giant spider crabs. Very giant.|
|Such a feast!|