The day before my mom was to return to the US, we wanted to do something fun with her and our girls. So we drove only 5km to Sea Paradise - a huge aquarium and amusement park complex that has always gotten good reviews. Sea Paradise is located in Yokohama, but on the southern end so it's actually very close to our military housing detachment. It's accessible by train and car, so we decided to drive since the 1000 yen/day parking price was cheaper than 3 adults taking the train. Specific info for Sea Paradise is at the bottom on the post, so scroll down if you're interested in going.
The first thing we did after arriving was to purchase annual passes for myself and the girls. (More info will be at the bottom of the post) It was cheaper than two visits, and since it so close to home, we will definitely make good use of the passes. After getting our passes, we headed to the first aquarium building (there are FOUR) and caught one of the aquatic shows about to begin. The show is in Japanese, but kids will be delighted by the animals nonetheless.
|Love those two.|
Inside, we found a lot more than fish. This aquarium was the only one I've ever been to that had so many mammals: polar bears, walruses, gray seals, otters, penguins, beluga whales, dolphins.... And they even had two whale sharks! The girls LOVED all the animals.
|An underwater tunnel escalator!|
Anyone ever heard of a ocean sunfish? We hadn't! It was the strangest looking fish I've ever seen. And it was HUGE! They weigh 2200 pounds are the largest bony fish in the world.
Another great part of Sea Paradise were their outdoor exhibits.They had areas where kids could touch/feed/play with beluga whales and dolphins (Thing 1 got to play catch with a dolphin!) and areas where kids could wade in with small fish and handle starfish and small crabs. One nice thing about being in Japan is that it's REALLY hard to lose my kids in a crowd....
|Not a fan of the fish in the water.|
Before we left, my mom took the girls on a little boat ride (with dolphins swimming alongside) and we ate dinner at one of the many restaurants within the park. It was very crowded since it was a Saturday, but I've heard it's virtually empty during the week. My girls have already asked to go back and play with the dolphins again. As you can see, the day wore them out....
Want to visit Sea Paradise?
Click here for an English guide book. Most attractions open between 9:00am and 11:00am, depending in the day. Parking is only 1000yen/day (in a HUGE parking garage), but you can also connect to the Seaside Line from Kanazawa Hakkei station and take the Seaside line to Hakkeijima station - right to the entrance of the park. You can also access the park grounds for free.
A one-day pass is 4,900 yen for adults, 3,500 yen for elementary and junior high school students, and 2,000 for young children. However, an annual pass is only 9,800 yen for adults, 7,000 yen for students, and 4,000 yen for young children so if you think you might want to go back, it makes more sense to get an annual pass. The pass includes access to all the aquariums, as well as the Pleasure Land (an amusement park with lots of rides for the little ones).
With an annual pass, you can also get discounts for guests and discounts when shopping within the park. The pass is good for 1 year from date of purchase, and when you buy your pass, you'll need to take it inside the main aquarium and have a picture ID card made. Ask an employee if you're not sure where to go.