Saturday, September 1, 2007

Churaumi Aquarium

Wow. I cannot believe how huge whale sharks are. And that aquarium was definitely the best one I've ever visited. And I've been to the one in Monterey Bay, the one in Baltimore, and a few others; this one takes the cake! They actually BREED whale sharks there. It's the only tank in the world big enough that those & giant manta rays can swim around. Fascinating stuff. Here are a few highlights- no, not scanned from the brochure - it really is THIS big and blue with this good a view of the sea life. Fantastic day! We're going to get a membership.

The entrance to the aquarium - this whale shark is actual-size.
From the front - gorgeous water in the background.

Inside, you enter from the 4th floor and take an escalator down; this is the view.

The biggest acrylic panel in the world is in this tank that houses Mama Whale Shark (seen here with her baby riding on her back) - it's 22.5m wide, 8.2m high, and 60cm (2 feet) thick.
Here you can see the scale of the size of that ray compared to the people standing below. There is stadium seating in front of this panel - Mia and Craig and I could've sat there for hours.

The bull shark that lives in the shark tank next door is 3m long and weighs 300kg. He has lived in the aquarium for 27 years as of 2005, swimming at 2km/h constantly. The total distance he has swam in that time has been 481,000km - that equals 12 times around the earth! (very cool stuff in the brochure)

Here's one of the sea turtles - these also breed at the aquarium.
Here's the link to the whole lot.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Love your photos! As a fellow Okinawan resident & aquarium lover, I thought I'd throw out another 2 BIG thumbs up for the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. My memory fades a bit after ALL of the aquariums I've been to in my life (Chicago, Chattanooga, New Orleans, Charleston, Las Vegas, DC, Oregon, Wilmington, Gatlinburg, SeaWorld Orlando, Curacao, et al) but I HIGHLY recommend Churaumi. Don't miss their shark exhibit & free dolphin shows & turtle exhibits.

My wife & I just got back from a long weekend in "real" Japan, in our case Osaka. They have a very nice, impressive (& much hyped) aquarium also, Osaka Kaiyukan. I daresay they had more variety & individual tanks & definitely floors in their building, but their main tank was only large enough for 1 whale shark & 1 manta ray (I believe). So while it impressed most of those we were with, we were much more impressed with the HUGE ocean sunfish & Antarctic penguins (King & Gentoo) & fat active sea otters & enormous Ecuador pirarucu & Giant spider crabs. We took more video than stills at the aquarium since the marine life is often so much more impressive in motion than still, but we haven't update our blog yet, but will do so soon.

We plan to visit Ocean Park in Hong Kong later this month. And we'd like to eventually check out the Yokohama aquarium near Tokyo. If we're lucky, we'll make it to Underwater World Singapore & Oceanworld Manly in Sydney (as well as a few other Australian aquariums hopefully).

Happy Okinawan blogging!