This is one of the nice places where you can spend the whole day if you want. You can walk along looking at the amazing creatures, have fun in the Wonder museum and when you get hungry, there are vending machines at your hand. There is even a theater there where you can watch a show whenever you come. It is a wonderful place to go to with kids.
1. How to Get There
Right from Okinawa Airport there is an open road access to the location of the Zoo and you can get there by car in about 50 minutes driving down the Route 330. Just drive down the Okinawa Expressway and when you get to the city then follow the signs to the city Zoo. If you come by car, there is a pretty fine parking lot at the Zoo gate, but remember that it can be filled up quickly if you don’t come earlier. If you like, you can get to the Zoo by bus, too. A lot of bus lines stop at the bus stop which is just a short walk away from the Zoo.
When you come to Okinawa, don’t expect to see a big Zoo. It is not. But it is a very nice place featuring long walkways, large grassy areas, two big ponds, and, of course, amazing animals. There are more than 150 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians. The Zoo itself is divided into three individual areas with different attractions. There is the, so called, Nature Land where the traditional Zoo is located. Then, there is The Wonder Museum which is actually a science, art and imagination play area with exhibitions and workshops, and the last is the Children’s Center which is a kind of a volunteer activity place.
3. Nature Land
This part of the Zoo is really wonderful with a lot of amazing flowers all along the walkways. The animals are in cages and concrete enclosures, so this might not seem right to you. The concrete may sometimes look too old, but it is because of the harsh weather conditions in Okinawa. But everything is quite nice, clean and animals have enough space to move around freely. You will first see birds and bats when you get there. You will especially enjoy the birds of prey and great Kingfishers. The next are various monkeys, the children’s favorites. The biggest and most exciting animals are in the farthest part of the Zoo – the giraffes, elephants, kangaroos, hippos, and horses.
4. The Petting Zoo
You should definitely check the Petting Zoo out! You must not touch most of the animals at the Nature Land and they are all at a safe distance from you or separated by high fences. Signs warn you to only look. But, the Petting Zoo is the area in the park where you are actually encouraged to touch and hold the animals. As you walk along, some of the furry creatures, turtles even some snakes freely accompany you. Your kids can pet turtles, chickens, rabbits, goats or guinea pigs. The entrance to this area is included in the admission price, but if you want to feed the animals, you will have to pay additional 100 yen.
5. Wonder Museum
The Wonder Museum is a great place with different play opportunities and miniature exhibits. This is where the line between fun and science disappears. You have to pay additional money for this, but it’s worth it. It is where even the adults can free their inner child and have fun with their children. It looks like a one story structure, but when you get inside, you go down the wide spiral stairs into the mysterious space. There are cosplay stations, lighting exhibits, various water and spinning ball gravity experiments, collapsible collages, and many more exciting moments in this cavernous play space.
6. Zoo rides
After you visit the Nature Land and Wonder Museum, you can go to a ride section. This is the place where your children can choose different rides and some other activities and have more fun. There are small boats, a carousel, mini electric bumper cars, and a small train. Be sure to bring extra money for these, too. They are also separately priced.
7. Food and Drink
Since the Zoo offers so many different activities, you will certainly get hungry at one point. But you don’t have to worry about that, since there are vending machines all around the place and you can choose some of your favorite snacks or beverages. If you want, you can go to an all-you-can-eat restaurant offering nice lunches and great healthy food for kids, or visit some of the food stands and try some of the great noodle soup, a delicious Okinawa style dish, and other various snacks.
- Name: Okinawa Zoo and Museum
- Address: Japan Okinawa Okinawa City Goya 5-7-1
- Tel: 098-933-4190
- Admission Fee: Adults 500 yen, Juniors 200 yen, Infants 100 yen
- Rides Fee: 100 yen
- Wonder Museum Fee: 200 yen
- Website: kodomo.city.okinawa.okinawa.jp/
If you happen to be in Okinawa and if you are looking for some fun or a nice weekend, try going to Okinawa Zoo and Museum! You won’t regret it. You will have a wonderful day full of activities for the whole family!
Have a good trip and travel!