Friday after Thanksgiving we had a plan, to wake up early, get ready and go. As usual, things didn’t go quite to plan. Both girls slept in until after 8, unheard of but not surprising since Clio was sporting a nasty cold which resulted in her waking not once or even twice but multiple times and of course woke Eden up at one point. We were all exhausted. As always, I was determined not to waste the long weekend away so we didn’t let our late start to the day put us off and we headed north for Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.
We drove for what seemed liked forever but still didn’t make it, so we stopped at McDonalds for a quick lunch break, not our first choice of restaurant but with a poorly child who just didn’t want to be in the car any longer, it had to do. It was perfect timing though as we managed to get in some FaceTime chat with Chrissi 🙂
I had heard amazing things about the aquarium and told by many to just buy the annual pass and as long as you visit twice a year its worth it. Of course I wasn’t prepared (hair not done & no make-up) to get my photo taken for it and it took multiple shots before I was somewhat happy with how my pic turned out, its not a good sign when the employee giggles at the photo and says, shall we take another! Something awesome about living in Okinawa is that a lot of the attractions allow children under 6 to enter without charge, and the aquarium is one of those places, yippee!
The aquarium was very cool, its made up of 4 floors, and loads of tanks containing everything from deep sea creatures, sharks, tropical fish and coral. The biggest tank, Kuroshio Sea, is a whopping 35m (115 feet) long and holds 7,500 cubic metres of water (approx 1.9 million gallons!) and swimming amongst the many schools of fish are manta rays and whale sharks. Super. Cool.
Eden loved touching the various types of starfish, while Clio, snuggled up in the stroller, simply enjoyed looking at the tanks and the amazing creatures in them.
Outside of the aquarium there is a sea turtle area (I believe every year they release sea turtles which children can apply to be apart of, I am hoping when Eden is old enough we can enter her in to take part), a couple of dolphin shows as well as manatees. Anyone can go to these exhibits for FREE, they are not part of the aquarium but rather Ocean Expo Park.
Ocean Expo Park covers a huge area and aside from the aquarium and the other things mentioned above it also has a children’s play park, a beach, a Native Okinawan Village, Tropical Dream Centre, Tropical & Subtropical Arboretum as well as a museum. Everyone told me that a day isn’t enough time to explore everything and they were most definitely right, its huge and I can see us heading there many times over the year, well at least one other time so we get our moneys worth from our annual pass.
My pictures really don’t do this place justice, I suggest you go visit for yourself, you will not be disappointed!