Oceanarium targets students
A planned oceanarium within the SM Seaside Complex at the South Road Properties (SRP) is envisioned as an educational tool aside from promoting marine conservation.
“We’re really looking into how we can help educate the children here in Cebu,” said Armi Ruby Marie Cortes, Manila Ocean Park vice president for sales.
SM Supermalls and Cebu Sealife Park, Inc. recently signed an agreement to bring Manila’s world-renowned Manila Ocean Park to Cebu, said SM Prime Holdings, Inc. president Hans T. Sy.
The Cebu Ocean Park will mark the company’s entry into the Visayas and Mindanao regions. It is slated to be completed and opened in 20 months’ time, or between April to June 2017. It will rise to the left of the San Pedro Calungsod Chapel.
“Cebu is the second largest city in the Philippines. We have noticed that here is a lot of guests in the region that can benefit from the educational programs from Manila Ocean Park,” Cortes said.
“Among the regions in the Philippines, we see Cebu and the Central Visayas as one of the most vibrant areas. There’s also a high number of population and we feel that this is an area that we can educate and provide entertainment to the locals,” she added.
Cortes said that beyond the entertainment factor that will be brought about by their development, what Cebu Ocean Park really is, is an educational tool.
Manila Ocean Park will be bringing in many of its educational and CSR-related programs to Cebu Ocean Park, such as the “I Love My Ocean Planet” campaign, which focuses on how communities can protect certain species.
Executives added that the project, which has a footprint of about one hectare and a buildup size of 2.8 hectares, will be bigger.
The main oceanarium tank will be 3,500 cubic meters, with a water depth of 7.2 meters. This is more than three times the size of the one in Manila Ocean Park and more than twice its depth.
“It’s design is also more exciting,” said project manager Leo de Jesus.
“It is more interactive. Aside from the normal viewing, there is more interaction with the animals. We are also introducing a new animal to the park: crocodiles,” he added.
Due to the park’s size, it will also have around 200 different species of animals. While majority of the animals will be marine creatures, the park will also have several species of birds, insects and reptiles.
As many as 3,000 people can be accommodated within the park at any given time, executives said.
Cortes assured that all animals on display will have the necessary government permits. No endangered animals will be part of the Cebu Ocean Park.
A team of curators will also make sure that all animals will be well cared for.
“We believe that by showing people how beautiful our marine environment is, we hope that through that appreciation we can create an awareness and love for environment — same thing as what we have done in Manila,” Cortes said.
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