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“Great place for the kids”
Review of Marineland

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Marineland of Canada Day Pass
Reviewed 17 February 2012

We love the rides, the games, the animals, the shows, the picnic area and the leisurely walks and everything about this place. Italian Ice while we sketch some of our favourite animals makes the day a wonderful one. BEST AQUARIUM / AMUSEMENT PARK for miles around!

2  Thank Kathleen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,123 - 1,127 of 1,500 reviews

Reviewed 16 February 2012

I hadn't been to Marineland since I was little myself, and so little had changed since the late 70s-early 80s that it had a surreal feeling, like stepping back into old family photos. Even the bathrooms were the same, as if it were some perfectly preserved display of what a public restroom might look like in 1979. A lot of park elements were worn and faded; many of the signs were old-fashioned, and the parking lot was still gravel and sprouting weeds.

We took exception to this due to the high ticket price ($45+tax CDN per person, with extra charges for other activities). They do offer hand-stamps so that you can return later in the day, and since the day we visited was stormy we did take advantage of that. I didn't see any coupons available other than the "$5 more for a season pass" promotion, which didn't strike me as too great a deal unless you were a local.

We headed for the "family rides", only to find that there were only two (a rocket ride and a boat ride) that our toddler could ride. The majority of the ride operators were sullen and not at all helpful. Returning to the park major from the ride area was harder than it should have been; there were a lot of long, winding paths with no signage whatsoever. We had to keep checking the map to see if we were on the right path at all, and not on an access road or something.

We were lucky enough to visit during Spandy Andy's limited-time engagement warming up the crowd for the dolphin show. He danced, bounded up and down the ampitheater steps and swam with the animals. There were five bottlenose dolphins and some seals performing, and they continued the show through a violent thunderstorm.

After the show, there was a downpour and we ran for the shelter of the aquarium, which felt like a childhood vacation time-capsule to me as absolutely NOTHING in this building had been updated. The theater where they did the seal and sea-lion training still had the creepy Logan's Run carousel feel to it, and the only fish on display seemed to be sturgeon and carp. There are no seal/sea lion shows in the aquarium anymore, but you can sit in on a training session. We watched for a few minutes and left.

From there it was on to Friendship Cove and Arctic Cove, the areas where the orcas and the beluga whales are kept in a large, open tank. We were just in time for a "splash session", where an orca was doing tricks for the crowd. The belugas were doing an odd thing, popping up out of the water like whack-a-mole. I'm not sure what their motivation was, whether it was friendly curiosity or something else, but it was so weird to have a whale pop out of the water to look at you from a distance of about 3 feet. I was charmed by this and purchased the $8.50 beluga "experience", in which a trainer brought her close enough to touch the whale's smooth, cold dome and toss her some fish. She was thrilled.

However, I did notice that many of the belugas had large, ugly gashes. When I mentioned this to the trainer, she said that the thunderstorm had spooked them and that they had scraped their heads on rocks in the tank. She said, "It's ok, they have tough skin". But the skin was cut all the way through, with pink flesh showing underneath. I felt horrible for them.
We went on to the front half of the deer park (didn't do the whole loop) and saw the koi ponds and the bears. We got a lot of nice pictures, although by this time I had a lot of Free Willy guilt going on in my head.

In general, when the animals' caretakers talked, it was more like someone describing an exotic pet. There wasn't a real strong conservation message, like "Look how beautiful they are, and this is why we need to make sure they're safe in the wild." It was more, "Sea lions have ears and seals don't, and look how high this dolphin can jump." Which is also a very seventies-eighties mentality, if you think about it, so maybe they just haven't updated that either.

In the end, my daughter went home with memories of how much she loved that beluga whale, and she went home with an inflatable beluga and a crazy-expensive beluga t-shirt from the gift shop. So maybe those memories will nurture some sort of environmental responsibility later on.
As far as snack bars and restaurants and gift shops...half of them were closed during our visit. The gift shop we went to, under the dolphin pavilion, was very expensive and also staffed by dour, surly employees. One character who was all over the shop was conspicuously absent in the park. Marineland's mascot, a walrus in regal attire, was nowhere to be seen...real or in walkabout plush mascot form.

To be fair, they did have signs up indicating that an expansion and/or renovation was underway.

3  Thank Kitsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2012

you can enjoy an unlimited admission to the park to see those performing dolphing marvel the killer whales with their splash and incredible jump those thriller rideslive show andthe direct interaction with the ocean

1  Thank utomie-42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2012

Like many of the things in Niagra Falls, very touristy and overpriced. The rides were okay (the roller coaster very rickety). The dolphin/seal/walrus show was very entertaining, but some of the other animal exhibits were lacking. One exhibit had about three dozen brown bears all clamboring at the walls while children (and parents!) dropped cheetos and other overpriced snacks for them to fight over. Bring your own water too, it's $5 for a tiny bottle.

1  Thank IvanHoes_Backpack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 February 2012

Took family (teenagers) who were over from the UK and sister lovely hot sunny day (thanks for the weather). The park is large didn't take too long to get in small line-up.
It is VERY spread out, I had expected ALLOT more there. Loved the whales/dolphins and other sealife especially arctic cove. The bears were amazing to watch The girls went on nearly all of the ride but there really isnt to many of them for teenagers allot more for smaller kids, most of the time is spent going from one attraction to the other, they LOVED The Sky Screamer then head over to the Dragon Mountain roller coaster there are 16 amusement park rides for such a large park I expected allot more. ALSO very expensive

All I can say is it lack a certain something - it could be so much better

3  Thank Rosie778
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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