Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is a must see in Okinawa.
It is the world’s second largest aquarium and features the world’s largest acrylic glass panel. The main tank holds 7500 cubic meters of water. The aquarium is one of very few that keeps whale sharks in captivity. This issue we’re featuring the Churaumi Aquarium, next time we’ll be reviewing the other attractions at the Ocean Expo Park.
The aquarium is a must-do while you’re stationed in or visiting Okinawa. The main tank called Kuroshio Sea is the 2nd largest in the world, holding 7,500 cubic meters of water with an acrylic glass panel measuring a massive 27 x 74 ft and 24 inches thick!
The main draw at the aquarium has to be the world’s 2nd largest tank. It’s one of the few aquariums in the world that keeps whale sharks and has an active breeding program. The size of the tank really is breathtaking especially when you see an 8.5 meter long whale shark swimming by! Apart from the whale sharks they also have a manta ray breeding program. The tank currently holds six manta rays along with a huge variety of more than 70 other fish species.
The coral sea tank at Churaumi is directly open to the sky so that Okinawa’s sun can reach the living coral. You can see over 800 colonies of coral composed of more than 70 different types. The coral has been successfully growing for over 10 years, having originally been cultivated from collected coral fragments. The tank is fed by a system of fresh sea water from close to the aquarium.
Deep Sea – On the first floor check out the deep sea’s exhibits and tank featuring creatures that exist with no sunlight over 200 meters below the surface.
Ocean Planitarium – Showcases sea creatures that give off natural light. Check out the glow from coral, fish and other creatures.
Kuroshio Sea Tank Observation Deck – Check out the massive main aquarium from above (Note closed from 14:30-17:30)
Aqua Room – This is a room under the main aquarium with acrylic walls and ceilings. Sit for a while and watch the sharks glide above your head!
Dolphin Shows – There are three ways to get up close to dolphins, the dolphin show (Mar – Sep), diver show and dolphin viewing at the lagoon.
Shark Research Lab – Check out the shark aquarium with 6 different sharks and a variety of displays and exhibits.
Apart from the main draw of the Kuroshio Sea Tank and the other attractions mentioned above, the aquarium has a wide variety of learning exhibits, movies and presentations with audio commentary available in English. Now that the weather is cooler and the tourist crowds are decreasing it’s a great time to visit.
The Ocean Expo Park is located in Motobu in Northern Okinawa. It’s well signposted and their website has good directions in English. There’s also a useful congestion forecast on their homepage so you can decide when to plan your trip.
Mon – Sun : 08:30 to 19:00
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
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