6 Things to Try at Amber Cove’s Ocean World Adventure Park
I’ve always been a fan of aquaria and parks dedicated to the ocean –I mean, what could be more natural to do than seeing more of the sea while you are on a cruise? Through the years I have enjoyed visits to Coral World in St. Thomas, the Marine Habitats and Predator Lagoon at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and the world-class New England Aquarium in Boston with its adorable seals, penguins and other critters, and out of the blue, so to speak, I gained even greater appreciation for the ocean I had been sailing on. My latest visit to one of these attractions was to Ocean World Adventure Park in Amber Cove, near Puerto Plata, in the north coast of the Dominican Republic which I visited during a cruise this past winter. Here are my six favorite things about this park, which is located three miles west of Puerto Plata:
1) The dolphin swims, sea lion encounters and swimming with sharks (only if you dare on the sharks one –I must say I don’t!). These experiences enable visitors to get up-close and personal with marine life in an exciting way. During the dolphin swim, for example, those opting for the program are in deep water with two dolphins and participants can hug, kiss, dance with and feed the dolphins, as well as get a dorsal fin pull by two dolphins and swim with them. Very memorable!
2) Snorkeling in the park’s Tropical Reef Aquarium and hobnobbing with sergeant majors and other neon-colored tropical fish among a variety of corals.
3) Feeding exotic birds – and before you know it, you have a dozen of them sitting on your head, shoulders and arms.
4) Walking through a tropical rain forest, bird exhibit and iguana exhibit – the latter creatures looking like something out of “Jurassic Park.”
5) Watching the dolphin show (with plenty of leaps and tricks by these intelligent creatures), sea lions show (during which a sea lion even dances with a trainer), shark show (where volunteers can pet a shark – you guessed it, not me!) and the tropical bird show (have your camera ready immediately for the tropical bird show as one bird makes his entrance to the stage by zip-lining!).
6) The convenience of going to the park either independently via a taxi or joining a ship’s organized tour that offers a “day pass” to the park. A “day pass” includes snorkeling in the Tropical Reef Aquarium and access to the dolphin beach with use of lounge chairs, and the park’s Pirate Pool, a fresh water pool, as well as opportunities to watch the shows, learn about marine creatures and feed the birds.
Dolphin swims and encounters, sea lion encounters and shark swims cost a little extra as are such programs as Trainer For A Day and Behind The Scenes Tours. There is complimentary Wi-Fi (best speed is at or near the park’s restaurant).