Friday, February 22, 2013

Churaumi Aquarium

My first thought upon arriving in Okinawa (other than "I need a shower") was about the vehicles. After living in the Mainland for so long I was not used to full-sized, or I guess, normal sized cars. So much space! Also, the speed limits in Okinawa are much higher. Well, I say higher but that really just means by Japanese standards. They are still much lower than average speed limits in the States. Needless to say, I was pumping that imaginary break multiple times during my visit.

The first day Dustin and I decided to go to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. I had visited this amazing aquarium on my last visit and knew it was something that Dustin shouldn't miss.

The aquarium was about an hour from where we were staying so we grabbed some breakfast and headed that way (with lots of imaginary break stomps along the way). The entire area is beautiful. The main building is right on the ocean with spectacular views. My favorite sight is the main building itself. Dustin took some amazing panoramic photos that have been posted to Facebook so check those out.

The first exhibit inside was a touch tank. It was really funny to watch a group of Japanese girls play with the starfish and sea cucumbers. They giggle constantly!

The Okinawa Aquarium has the world's first large scale exhibit of living corals. Tank after tank we were amazed at the beautiful creatures that live in the surrounding waters.

Nana, that's a moray.
The main tank is home to gigantic whale sharks and manta rays, which hold the record for longest in captivity. The aquarium also boasts of having the first successful births of manta rays in captivity.

THREE whale sharks!
The aquarium also has a large section devoted completely to sharks with many displays showing the life cycle of various breeds. We were given the opportunity to feel the jaw, teeth, and scaley skin of over thirty different sharks.

As we were walking through the various exhibits Dustin saw a girl carrying something interesting. I saw it and then spent a good few minutes chasing her through the crowds. "Sumimasen!" ("Excuse me!") Finally I caught up to her and asked to snap a picture of something awesome. Her group giggled (seriously, they do that a lot) as she held it up.

Yes, a balloon Mario!
Outside we walked to the dolphin area and spent some time watching the dolphins play before the show. The music accompanying the show was the theme from Jurassic Park played with an Ocarina. It was quite a fun show with lots of comical performances.

Next were tours of a turtle house with huge sea turtles followed by manatees from around the Yucatan Peninsula. Dustin and I have visited many aquariums over the years, but this one is quite spectacular.

1 comment: