{Travel Tuesday #9} Okinawa Ocean Expo Park

Last week, I blogged about the well-known Churaumi Aquarium.  Because Churaumi Aquarium is so well-known, many people think that Okinawa Ocean Expo Park and Churaumi Aquarium are the same thing.  But in actual fact, Churaumi Aquarium is just one attraction in the much larger Okinawa Ocean Expo Park!

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park Map

Map of Okinawa Ocean Expo Park. Churaumi Aquarium is just the small blue building in the map.


Unfortunately, I did not realize this before my trip and only allocated half a day of our short 5-days Okinawa trip for the area.

Below are the attractions that you can find at Okinawa Ocean Expo Park, and you can find out more about them from the official website.

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park Facilities

Image Source: Okinawa Ocean Expo Park


What I am going to highlight in this post are some amazingly FREE stuff we got to see at Okinawa Ocean Expo Park in our limited time.  Yup, totally FREE!

Photo Spots

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There were many replicas of marine animals around the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park.   Try spotting them for great photo memories!

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Frankly, the summer heat was too much for me to bear and killed my mood for photo-taking.  But when we saw this board where we could stick our faces in, we simply could not resist.

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Churaumi Plaza (Main Rest House)

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The Churaumi Plaza was located on the first floor of Churaumi Aquarium.  While the aquarium was a paid attraction, this plaza was free to enter.  It doubled up as a rest house, with seats and air-condition for visitors to take a break.

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The most eye-catching exhibits were the fossils of dinosaur-age marine creatures.  The boys love dinosaurs, as I have highlighted in our trip to Singapore’s Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.  What is great about the exhibit here is that the boys got to touch some of these fossils!

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Overall, the exhibit here tended to encourage interactive learning.  For example, to show visitors the difference between how dolphins and sharks used their tails, there was a showcase with a dolphin and shark where you could wiggle their tails.

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Another one the boys loved, was the next one, that showed how fast each sea creature swam relative to each other when you turn the wheel.

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There were also many boxes that reminded me of Fear Factor. Where you were to stick your hands into boxes, not knowing what was inside.

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Well, thank goodness there were no live creatures, otherwise I think I would freak out if something slimy touched my hands.

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Manatee Pool

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Right outside the Churaumi Plaza was the manatee pool.  Free of charge as well.

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To be honest, I wasn’t impressed with the manatee pool at all.  Maybe if I had never seen a manatee before, I would be pretty intrigued.  But I was once an annual pass holder for Singapore River Safari which had a HUGE tank of manatees.  So this one paled in comparison.

Sea Turtle Pool

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Now this was much more interesting than the manatee pool in my opinion.  It housed numerous huge sea turtles!

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Head downstairs to escape the heat and get a closer view of the turtles.

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Is this close enough for you?


We were just in time for the feeding when we were there!

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Someone was NOT happy that his lunch got snatched away.


The kids absolutely loved the sea turtle pool!

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Okinawa’s Best Kept Secret – Sea Turtle Beach

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If you take a look at the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park website, the sea turtle beach was not one of the attractions listed.  In fact, I would have totally missed it if not for the fact that I had a stroller.  We were trying to get to the Manatee pool, and most people just walked in from its main entrance.  But because I had a stroller, I looked for a detour to push the stroller down via a ramp.  That was when I spotted the inconspicuous sign for the sea turtle beach.

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We headed down the beach to check it out and saw some people walking towards the cave on the far end of the beach.

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Turned out that there were some sea turtle eggs there!!

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There was a sign telling us when the eggs were laid (with a photograph of the turtles’ footprints on the sand taken on that day), and when the eggs were expected to hatch.  So cute right?? I can’t believe we almost missed this! So remember: the sea turtle beach is located near the ramp for the manatee pool.  Don’t forget to drop by to check out the turtle eggs if you visit!

Okichan Theatre

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Saving the best for the last, there was a dolphin show at Okinawa Ocean Expo Park that was absolutely FREE! Can you believe it? A FREE dolphin show??

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The show here did not lack the spectacle that dolphin shows at other paid attractions around the world had!

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And it was not just the bottlenose dolphins performing.   There was this other specie of dolphin in the show.  I’m no dolphin expert so I shan’t embarrass myself by trying to identify it and just admit I don’t know what dolphin it was.  Whatever it was, it sure helped to up the WOW factor!

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So even if you think you have visited enough aquariums around the world to last a lifetime and don’t wish paying to visit any more aquariums, pop by Okinawa Ocean Expo Park to enjoy this dolphin show.  Especially if you are in Okinawa with kids.  The kids would love it! Fun for FREE!

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Information on Okinawa Ocean Expo Park

Map: Show location on google map

Telephone number: +81 980-48-2741 (key in 0980482741 for GPS)

Map Code (what is this?): 553075797

Getting there:

  • By car from Naha Airport (2 hours)
  • By Yanbaru Express Bus from Naha Airport (3 hours)

Buses from other parts of Okinawa such as Nago are available.  But generally, public buses are not very frequent.  Self-driving is recommended in Okinawa.

Opening Hours:  The opening hours of the attractions at Okinawa Ocean Expo Park varies by attraction.  Visit the official website for opening hours of individual attractions.

Admission Fees:   Admission to Okinawa Ocean Expo Park is generally free.  But some individual attractions, such as Churaumi Aquarium, Tropical Dream Centre and Oceanic Culture Museum have admission fees.  Visit the official website for admission fees of individual attractions.

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24 Comments on {Travel Tuesday #9} Okinawa Ocean Expo Park

  1. Lady J
    September 1, 2015 at 7:11 am (1 year ago)

    Looks amazing! We have always loved Japan and Tokyo is often our first port of call. It’s time to venture out now with a little one in-tow! 😉

    • bumblebeemum
      September 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm (1 year ago)

      Going to Okinawa via Tokyo doesn’t make much sense for Singaporeans. If you do want to visit Okinawa, I recommend getting there via Hong Kong or Taipei.

  2. Phoebe
    September 1, 2015 at 7:16 am (1 year ago)

    Oh my! I’m very impressed with the free dolphin show! There are so much to see for free and I think it will be even more awesome if visitors enter the park with the paid tickets. I like the giant turtle too and its so nice to catch their feeding time.

  3. May
    September 1, 2015 at 11:32 am (1 year ago)

    Oh my! I love those sea turtles! They are huge and really nice that there’s a sea turtle beach as well. Very interactive :)

  4. Angie.S
    September 1, 2015 at 3:07 pm (1 year ago)

    The chance to go up close to these marine animals is such an educational learning experience indeed. Thanks for sharing about the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park. Really have to give credit to the Japanese for their efforts in marine conservation and public education!

    • bumblebeemum
      September 1, 2015 at 9:33 pm (1 year ago)

      I was most amazed that these facilities were totally free of charge! The park is state-run, so can tell how invested they are in conservation and education indeed.

  5. Meiling
    September 1, 2015 at 4:05 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi… My family and I are going to Japan later this week. Too bad we are going to Tokyo but I am going to put Okinawa as our next Japan destination. I am going to come back later to read your posts and add them as research for our trips to the land of the rising sun. Thanks! :-)

    • bumblebeemum
      September 1, 2015 at 9:34 pm (1 year ago)

      Yeah, Okinawa is a totally separate destination from Tokyo. We went there as part of our Taiwan trip because it is so near to Taipei!

  6. Pinay Flying High
    September 1, 2015 at 4:39 pm (1 year ago)

    I feel the same way when it’s too hot – I just couldn’t be bothered to take photos but when I’m hungry, I couldn’t be bothered to walk. :p

    • bumblebeemum
      September 1, 2015 at 9:37 pm (1 year ago)

      Yeah, the heat just makes me not feel like doing anything sometimes, other than hiding in my air-conditioned hotel room. Especially when I come from a country that is hot all year round! I need my winter vaca…

  7. Lydia C. Lee
    September 1, 2015 at 5:04 pm (1 year ago)

    Just wanted to let you know I couldn’t comment on your parents on the go post – sorry (loved the deflated duckie! Too funny). You certainly get about!!

    • bumblebeemum
      September 1, 2015 at 9:46 pm (1 year ago)

      Ah, that’s a parenting portal I contribute too, not really a blog. Guess that’s why it doesn’t have a comment feature.

  8. Steven Teo
    September 1, 2015 at 7:32 pm (1 year ago)

    Wow, you found a secret place! Would be great if the turtles were hatching!

    • bumblebeemum
      September 1, 2015 at 9:47 pm (1 year ago)

      I know right.. I was thinking how cool would it be if the turtles hatched while we were there too! Oh well.. No such luck…

  9. SAys! Happy Mums
    September 1, 2015 at 8:17 pm (1 year ago)

    Wow this aquarium is SO COOL!!! Love the Fear Factor part and the turning wheel to see how fsst fishes swim. Why u always go Japan de!!!??!

    Shirley @ SAys! Happy Mums

    • bumblebeemum
      September 1, 2015 at 9:50 pm (1 year ago)

      Japanese yen cheap mah. Plus I love Japanese food. Okay, it’s more about the food.

      • SAys! Happy Mums
        September 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm (1 year ago)

        You are so blessed! I don’t even know when I can get to go Japan *sobs*

        • bumblebeemum
          September 2, 2015 at 9:18 am (1 year ago)

          Make it happen… Carpe Diem! (That’s my motto btw.. lol!)

  10. Waiwai
    September 1, 2015 at 8:21 pm (1 year ago)

    My friend who worked in Japan shared with me that she spent one whole day there!

    • bumblebeemum
      September 1, 2015 at 9:53 pm (1 year ago)

      Yeah! My poor planning… I didn’t realize there was so much to see there and thought it was just the aquarium, and I thought half a day should be more than enough for any aquarium. Didn’t realize there was a whole OCEAN EXPO PARK there!!

  11. unbusymenat
    September 2, 2015 at 5:47 am (1 year ago)

    The dolphin show looks great! I was showing my kids your photos. My eldest daughter is learning Japanese at school and she is very keen to get to Japan someday!

    • bumblebeemum
      September 2, 2015 at 9:15 am (1 year ago)

      Cool!! I always wanted to learn Japanese when I was a student, but I was not accepted for our local 3rd language program in schools. SIGH. Ended up taking a private course when I was an adult. You all should plan a trip to Japan some day and ask her to be your guide! :)

  12. Susan
    September 2, 2015 at 8:10 am (1 year ago)

    Wow so much to see there at the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park! And kudos to the Japanese for their dedication to marine life conservation and making it so educational.

  13. mytravelmonkey
    September 5, 2015 at 12:47 am (1 year ago)

    I don’t think one day would be enough! I can’t believe there is so much to do there! I would have loved the manatees #MondayEscapes


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