Located north of Manila in what was once a U.S. naval base, Subic Bay Freeport Zone is now a thriving economic hub and a certified holiday destination with a focus on eco-tourism that draws numerous visitors from all over the country and beyond. With several theme parks and resorts in the area, it’s also a fantastic spot for your next family vacation, especially if you have kids in tow. Below are some of the things you can see, do, and experience at SBFZ:
- Visit the Inflatable Island
As featured on Buzzfeed and Travel Insider, Inflatable Island floats off the coast of the waters of Subic Bay, a playground above the ocean made entirely out of bouncy, colorful inflatables. At 4,200 square meters, it’s the length of 8 full-sized basketball courts, making it the largest playground of its kind in Asia. There are towers to climb, bridges to cross, slides, swings, and the biggest unicorn inflatable you’ve ever seen—so big, in fact, that an entire dipping pool fits on its back!
After getting your fill of the water, relax on the beach in the lounge and watch the sun go down. There’s no age limit on the kids allowed in the park, so long as they’re at least three feet tall and accompanied by an adult. Packages are also available for large groups, birthday parties, and family reunions. Keep in mind that Inflatable Island does not have onsite accommodations, so you’ll have to arrange for that ahead of time. Fortunately, there are plenty of hotels in Subic to choose from.
- Swim with the Dolphins at Ocean Adventure
Ocean Adventure prides itself on being the first open-water marine theme park in Southeast Asia. Founded by a team of conservationists and environmentalists, its aim is to teach guests about marine wildlife and the environment they thrive in through entertainment programs and attractions. Aside from various shows featuring dolphins, sea lions, and other animals, there is an aquarium and learning center on the premises for kids to explore and learn more about their favorite sea creatures.
They also offer a number of unique experiences such as meeting or swimming with dolphins or sea lions, learning to be an animal trainer, diving with sharks, and feeding sea turtles. During the dolphin swim, you and your children get to meet and interact with a real dolphin, learn how to communicate with the mammal using hand signals, take photos, and go for a swim in the open water. It’s a great place for a truly unforgettable encounter.
- Ride Horses at El Kabayo Stables
Managed by Wildlife in Need, a non-government organization that focuses on the care and welfare of animals, El Kabayo Stables is an equestrian center in Subic that offers guests a brief respite from stressful city living. Featuring plenty of wide-open spaces, plenty of greenery, and a team of beautiful, friendly horses, it’s a wonderful spot to just relax and unwind in. There are riding trails for experienced visitors as well as riding lessons for beginners and novices. The highlight is the one-hour ride to El Kabayo Falls; a guide will take you through a scenic trail to a serene waterfall in the middle of the forest where you can stop for a moment, take photos, and just marvel at the magnificence of nature around you.
- Go on the Zoobic Safari
Want to get up close and personal with tigers, lions, crocodiles, and snakes? If your kids are fans of these exotic animals, head over to Zoobic Safari, a 25-hectare forest adventure park where they can take part in a variety of activities designed to thrill and teach them about various types of wildlife.
Visit the Zoobic Park section to feed birds, pet animals, and view them in their natural habitats before boarding the train for a ride through the Savannah, where you and your kids can spot wild ostriches, guinea fowls, and wild boars. Ride a safari jeep to meet the majestic tigers on the Tiger Safari—these beasts aren’t afraid to walk right up to the vehicle, but don’t worry! It’s completely safe. Finally, head down to the Croco Loco pit, home to over 200 crocodiles. Choose to feed them yourself or view them safely from behind a glass observation area while you chow down on some munchies at the Crocodile Café. Either way, a visit here is guaranteed to be a thrilling experience your family won’t be forgetting for a while.
City comforts, lush views, and cute critters from both land and water—these are just a few of what a trip to Subic offers. Families and friends who are keen on making fun memories and immersing themselves in nature will find the area a great destination at any time of the year.