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Best for Kids in Okinawa

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The Churaumi Aquarium at the Ocean Park Expo is the perfect place to experience Okinawa's beautiful sea life and coral reefs without having to squeeze into scuba gear, and its facilities make it a wonderful place to bring children. The largest tank in the aquarium measures a whopping 7,500 cubic meters (264,860 cubic feet) and houses the world's largest manta rays as well as 70 species of shark, the most impressive of which is the whale shark. The Churaumi Aquarium is also the first aquarium to be equipped with a reproducing coral tank whose water flows freely in and out of the ocean. Dolphins, sea turtles, manatees and fish also reside happily here. Check the website for operating hours and free admission days.

This one-of-a-kind, multi-purpose park in Ginowan makes for an excellent outing for the whole family. With the cerulean waters of the ocean bordering the park, one can indulge in as much relaxation as they want, or live it up with a ton of outdoor activities. The park has trails for running and strolling, besides also having an expansive playground where your little ones can frolic around. Monkey bars, swings and slides add to the fun.

When driving on the Okinawa Expressway between Northern and Southern Okinawa, take a break at the Okinawa Comprehensive Athletic Park to stretch your legs and play with the kids. Offering a view of the azure ocean, the park features a ton of fun for both children and adults. The park houses a water park of sorts, replete with slides and pools. There are also a few walking trails for those who wish to admire the scenery. Other facilities include a mini-golf and tennis courts. Every February, the Okinawa Marathon begins here.

In Ishikawa near Uruma, visitors can walk through the fern-filled park, kayak, ride in a water buffalo cart, or go on a 25-minute jungle cruise, though tickets for the rides are not included in the entrance fee. The beautiful wild orchids growing in the park and the adjacent Bios on the Hill Garden Center, the largest orchid greenhouse in Japan, provide a perfect backdrop for a romantic outing as well. Wheelchairs and strollers can be rented at the front desk.

Take a peek at life as it would have been in Okinawa's celebrated past. The erstwhile kingdom of Ryukyu has intrigued many and this facility gives a fantastic chance to see what it was like. Formed in order to protect Okinawa's ethnic cultural heritage, Ryukyu Mura is an living village that exemplifies the history and traditions of ancient Okinawa. Visitors to the village have a lot on their hands from exploring the sterling structures and watching artisans at work, to partaking in the various festivals and events celebrated here.

Cultural Kingdom, the Gyokusendo Caves and Habu Park comprise Okinawa World, where people can learn about traditional Ryukyuan arts and crafts in the reconstructed Ryukyu village, watch snakes slither in Habu Park, and then take a five-kilometer (3-mile) walk under the massive stalactites in Gyokusendo Caves, the largest cave in Okinawa. Visitors can choose to only enter specific exhibits for a lower ticket price. The park closes half an hour earlier from November to March.

Okinawa Children's World is also known as the Okinawa Zoo and Museum. The place has mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles and over 200 kinds of animals. Okinawa Children's World is a great way to introduce children to various species. Okinawa Children's World is a place for kids to learn while they enjoy. The zoo also has a few barn animals, the kids are allowed to pet animals like guinea Pigs and chicks. The zoo is mostly packed during holidays and school vacations. The museum hosts various activities for kids to know and believe their potential and capability. The museum lets children explore their world of imagination.

Only four minutes from Ocean Expo Park, a quick tour through this small butterfly garden will have the whole family smiling before the day is done. If you want to see them up close, grab one of the red caps or umbrellas provided upon entering and the butterflies will be sure to perch atop your head. There is also a restaurant in the building with a beautiful view of the ocean, as well as a small souvenir shop with all of the typical Okinawan goods.

Nago Pineapple Park teaches pineapple lovers about the life of the pineapple, from seedling to food product. A pineapple cart takes visitors through the pineapple fields and the tropical garden, and the store sells the freshest and most delicious pineapple products on the island, including a pineapple wine. Don't leave without trying the pineapple ice cream and taking a look at the pineapple charcoal. And, if you haven't gotten your fill, try some dishes at the restaurant. Those who can't carry their prizes home can use the store's shipping service.

The Okinawa Kids Discovery Museum has enough activities to keep the most inquisitive of children occupied. Facilities in the museum include an interactive space where children can play with the exhibits to create art, a zoo with a petting area, and a reading corner. Last entry is an hour before closing, and the museum closes half an hour earlier from October to March.

Perfect for a relaxing family outing, adults can walk around the gardens admiring the view while kids make crafts like kaleidoscopes and painted figurines to take home as a keepsake. The park as its own currency called the "slow," a product of the ivory-nut palm tree. 500 slows are given to adults upon entry, and more can be purchased at the rate of 1 slow per yen. Slows can be used to buy goods and food in the park.

Suited for those who love arts and crafts, this museum not only displays elegant and delicate works of traditional Ryukyuan crafts, but also allows visitors to try to make their own works of art. Artistic tourists can experiment with designing lacquer ware, glass, colorful bingata (a dyeing technique) textiles, and weaving. The gallery itself probably only takes half an hour to go through, and reservations for the workshops are recommended. The museum is closed on Wednesdays, and last admission is half an hour before closing.

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