The last days of April brought absolutely insane hot days and tropical storms of an evening. We decided to take a day out from the picture perfect Dominican beaches and head over to Ocean World Adventure Park in Puerto Plata.
We booked a day trip via Thomas Cook, so all we had to do was get up early ready to be picked up for a day full of fun. Ocean World is set aside a beautiful marina and casino both of which you can visit during your day.
Always a little dubious of how the day might be in a place we’ve never visited before we set off, but were pleasantly surprised from the first moment. Like in most places now everyone has to go through security, a quick bag check, please note of you’re coming here with any food or water it will be held. However they were fairly friendly and we through to the ticket office in a couple of minutes. The first thing I noticed was the open space, apart from the shop everything was outdoors or under open air gazebo’s allowing you to enjoy the sun and not feel cooped in with hundreds of other visitors.
We had already decided what activities we were going to do in the park. Oh so brave Dave opted for the stingray and shark encounter and I went for what I thought would be far less scary the dolphin swim.
Swimming with dolphins has been on my bucket list since I was a little girl, I have fed, pet and had photos before with a dolphin on a trip we went to when staying in Barcelona. However swimming with them was a different thing. I’m a really confident in the water and was excited to go for a dip, but I did start to get nervous at the thought of anything happening during the experience.
So it came to my turn in the afternoon, I had to walk the plank haha to the other side of the park and go to dolphin school just to make us wait even longer. We were taught a little bit about the animals, how to act and what would follow next. Our trainer was super friendly and made us all feel really comfortable. We all timidly got into the fresh water pool and lined up ready to meet are new friends. The dolphins were instructed by whistles and calls and didn’t come close without instruction so we felt safe the whole time.
We were first introduced with a swim by and a chance to stroke the two dolphins, it really is an amazing experience to be so close to such large creature. They did feel HUGE in real life!
We got the chance to dance, pet, feed, swim and play with the dolphins, each taking turns so the instructors were in full control. To be pushed along by the dolphins on the soles of my feet was once of the craziest things i’ve ever done. Building up such speed without putting in any effort apart from keeping your legs strong felt insane. I wasn’t quite sure if or when I would stop. With a finale dolphin jump above my head I really could tick off a long awaited experience in my head before swimming back to the jetty. I was of course miles behind the dolphins who were back within seconds. I went up first so it was great to catch my breathe and watch the others enjoy a similar ride.
Before I knew it, it was time to thank our trainers, dry off and see my boy to relive the videos straight away. It was an incredible experience and I am glad I did it. However it will be once in a life time for me and something I probably wouldn’t choose to do again. Since coming back and reflecting on the trip, I was safe in the knowledge that all the animals and sealife were kept to the highest standards and had great relationships with the trainers; but in reality they are wild animals and I do have pangs of guilty realising they would be best suited in their natural habitats and not swimming with the likes of me everyday. They were stunning creatures and to be so up-close was unreal however I would love to experience them in the wild on future holidays.
It was then this ones turn for an adventure with the sharks and stingrays. I don’t know who was more scared, me or my belly. I was so nervous just watching on; two creatures who could be lethal, you wouldn’t catch me jumping in this man-made bathtub, but Dave was raring to go.
First up was a quick pet and fed of the stingrays, such graceful creature but ones to treat with great respect.
After a safety brief it was then time to get in and swim with the sharks. There was five or so swimming around freely in the pool along with a couple of trainers. They seemed fairly placid and happy in the pool swimming alongside everybody. Dave enjoyed being up close to the sharks and said the encounter was great, that’s all I can say about this part as I didn’t go in myself. It was great to watch, everyone having fun. Even the little girl who went went in with her dad, she was far braver than me, what a superstar!
It was then time for a photo and a cheeky fright from the trainers, I don’t think I have seen people jump out of a pool so fast before. It was quite funny to watch and something to giggle about everytime we look through our photos now.
As we finished are experiences it was drawing close to late afternoon, we decided to cool off with a drink and take a walk around the park. We came across across a gorgeous pool with White Bengal tigers to the side aswell as parrot show, seals and toucan cage. There were so many little coves to explore within the park, it’s definitely worth coming for the whole day.
With a little sit in the man made beach area to finish off the day, we took one last look across the park and headed back to catch our coach to head home for dinner. Ocean World is a great place to visit if you are in the Dominican Republic, it is spotlessly clean, the animals are cared for really well plus there is a whole host of things to do for all the family.
Have you visit the Dominican before?