Close Encounters of the Sea Life Park Kind on Oahu

Clients cuddle with marine critters at this Oahu attraction.

By: By Marty Wentzel

The Details

Sea Life Park Hawaii

A kiss on the cheek takes on a whole new meaning when it comes from a sea lion, and Sea Life Park Hawaii’s whiskered wonders are ready to oblige.

Clients can get up close and personal with dolphins at Oahu’s Sea Life Park. // © 2010 Sea Life Park Hawaii

Clients can get up close and personal with dolphins at Oahu’s Sea Life Park.
// © 2010 Sea Life Park Hawaii

Since 2005, the east Oahu site has been transforming itself from a basic marine life attraction to a dynamic, interactive destination. Various daily programs allow clients to learn how to communicate with sea lions and get busked on the cheek in response; hand-feed tropical fish and sea turtles while immersed in a 300,000-gallon reef tank; and touch and swim with Hawaiian rays.

The park’s dolphin encounters are particularly appealing. During the standard offering, guests watch dolphins play and dance, then get a salty smooch at the end. An upgraded option also teaches clients about dolphin anatomy, training and conversation and comes with a belly
ride. During the top-of-the-line Royal Swim, two dolphins give clients dorsal fin rides, then push people up and across the water, snout-to-foot.

As part of the general admission, trainers offer daily talks about working with various marine life species. Several times each day, dolphins and penguins perform in an open-air aquatic theater, and sea lions take to the stage. But it’s the hands-on programs that really
distinguishes Sea Life Park from other marine-themed attractions.

“By providing firsthand encounters, we’re giving guests significant information in a unique way that’s easy to remember,” said Sea Life Park general manager Jesus Bravo. “It’s helping us attract a better mix of people, including clients who don’t just want to be spectators. They want to participate.”

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