A couple weeks ago the family and I decided to visit Hawaii's Sea Life Park. Growing up in Hawaii, I remember visiting Sea Life Park during elementary school field trips with my classes, walking around in single file lines, seeing all the sea animals and watching the shows. There might have been a handful of times that we went as a family, but I don't have a strong recollection of those memories.
Taking a trip to the park in July of 2021 was almost like a new experience because as adults now, I can appreciate and have a deeper understanding for the information presented to me and what I am able to learn. Also, for many of my younger nieces and nephew, this was their first time visiting Sea Life Park so it was great to experience to see it through their eyes as well.
I did some research before heading out to Sea Life Park and I was pleased to find out the different ways Sea Life Park is participating in conservation efforts for some of the animals on the property.
Sea Life Park is home to the only active breeding colony of green sea turtles within the United States. So far, they’ve released over 16,000 baby sea turtles and because of conservation efforts like these, the Hawaiian Green Sea turtles are one of the few species of sea turtles in the world to see their numbers rise. I also learned that every Hawaiian green sea turtle that’s been released throughout the state of Hawaii in various programs and resorts come from sea life park. Going to the park made me appreciate seeing these turtles in person knowing that they are helping the overall Hawaiian Sea Turtle population.
If you want to see our full family adventure and our overall thoughts and reactions to the park as a whole, please click here!
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Here is some general information to know before visiting Sea Life Park:
Sea Life Park is located on the east side of Oahu in Waimanalo along the coastline. Currently, Sea Life park is open from Friday Through Tuesday. General Day Pass Ticket prices range from $25-40 dollars, but if you buy them online they are 10% off. If you are military or Kamaaina, they offer a 40% discount. They also offer annual passes, and tickets to their dinner and show luau experience.
5 TIPS BEFORE VISITING
1. Buy Your Tickets Online: Buying your tickets online helps the process of entering the park go quite smoothly. Our family all bought tickets ahead of time and when we got there, they checked our name off a list, gave us wrist bands, and we walked right in. Not to mention that buying tickets online saves you 10% if you are NOT Kamaaina. We bought the regular day passes (Kamaaina rate)
2. Get There When The Park Opens: Currently the park opens at 10 am and closes at 3 pm. Remember that parking is $5 and they take both cash and credit card. The Sea Lion show and the Dolphin show both happen twice a day however if you are there when the park opens, you are able to space out your show times a little more and save your seats! All shows have open general seating. We got there late and had to watch both the Dolphin and Sea Lion show back to back. By the time we got to the Sea Lion show, all the good seats were filled and we were stuck sitting on the bottom/front which has limited viewing of the overall show.
3. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time: Depending on your budget, think about how you want to plan on eating that day. If you have time in the morning before the park opens, I would suggest you pack a breakfast or purchase breakfast in Hawaii Kai (on the way to Sea Life Park) and have morning picnic. It's such a scenic view that it would be a great way to start the morning. My husband and I picked up breakfast at moenacafe.com located at the Koko Marina Shopping Center and had a nice scenic picnic at Sandy Beach. We were all able to bring in our own bottled waters into Sea Life Park. Sea Life Park doesn't allow you to bring in your own food so if you do not want to spend money on food, pack a lunch cooler and leave in your car. You can leave to eat your lunch and return back to the park when you are done. If you are planning on eating in the park, the food options are pretty well rounded. Since we are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, not every food station at the park is open yet. But overall, they had a good variety and the quality was good.
4. Figure Out What You Want to Learn Before Going: After spending some time on the website before going, I learned that Sea Life Park has a lot of hands on experiences that you can add on to your trip there. You can participate in dolphin, reef, and sea lion excursions (for an added cost of course) and attend a luau dinner experiences. We didn't participate in any of these options, but understand that there is a lot more that Sea Life Park offers, than just walking around for a day.
Personally, just learning about the different conservation efforts that Sea Life Park is a part of with the sea turtles, the Hawaiian monk seal, and the bird wildlife made me appreciate the overall experience even more. I felt more prepared to learn and have a better understanding of the whole experience.
5. Have Fun and Don't Compare This Experience to Something Like SeaWorld... Because It's Not. Sea Life Park is on the smaller side and generally you would be able to finish experiencing the whole park (if you are ONLY doing the day pass) within a couple hours. It's a great place to experience the animals with your family and/or friends and just learn a little bit more about the world around you. Our family really enjoyed the dolphin show and would probably go back again for that alone. Overall, the kids and adults had a great time, the food was good, and we all needed a good nap after.
For more information on Sea Life Park, visit:
41-202 Kalanianaole Highway #7
Waimanalo, HI 96795 USA