Thursday, December 3, 2009

Churaumi Aquarium

What has cool architecture, amazing views, 3 Whale Sharks, and the world's largest acrylic panel??? That would be Okinawa's Churaumi Aquarium - also known as the second largest aquarium in the world. This is the only attraction here on the island that I had heard a lot about WAY before we even moved here. I remember sitting at home with Matt back in California, watching a video someone had taken of it and being absolutely amazed! The Churaumi Aquarium is up north of us in Motobu - about a five minute drive down the road from the Butterfly Garden that I wrote about in my last post. As anyone can guess just by our outfits, we went to these two places on the same day, but they were both so amazing that I felt there was too much to say and show, and they each needed their own post.

The first thing I noticed about the aquarium was, undoubtedly, its size. It is enormous! What made the experience all the better, was that it was not just an ugly, enclosed building with all of the cool displays hidden away inside. The building (more like buildings, really) was architecturally fascinating! It was a very open plan, where you felt like you were inside the building, but also outside. There were also a lot of exhibits outside as well, which gave it more of a Sea World-type feeling, and the fact that the building opened up right to a gorgeous view of the ocean was an amazing plus as well!

A few exterior shots:

The escalator to the right goes up to the main pavilion where you purchase tickets and begin your tour of the aquarium

Looking out while going up the escalator:

Inside the main pavilion

Check out this video clip while we were riding up the escalator:

Look closely - the one to the right is not a drinking fountain, but a gargling fountain!

It's Patrick from Sponge Bob Square Pants!

Check out this video clip of one of the tanks:

I liked these hot pink fish

Check out this video clip of some baby turtles:

Creepy little worms - that one is looking right at me!

After walking through a bunch of interesting side-shows, we came across the main attraction: the gigantic tank that holds, not just one, but two world records! One is, "The World's Largest Aquarium Window" (73.8 ft x 26.9 ft), and the other is, "The World's Largest Acrylic Panel" (603mm thick!). The name of this main tank is "Kuroshio Sea", and it holds 3 full-sized Whale Sharks - each over 21 feet long! Although Matt and I have many videos of our own that we took that day at the Churaumi Aquarium, please click the link below and check out this amazing video of the main tank that someone posted on YouTube. This is the video that Matt and I had watched many times back in California when were preparing to move out here. It perfectly captures the tranquil feeling you get when you visit - its almost a spiritual experience! Turn up your speakers!

A few photos of the main tank:

It isn't quite as inspiring as the video above, but this is our own little video clip of the giant tank:

This is Matt next to the display showing how thick the acrylic panel actually was that separated us from those Whale Sharks!

I hope you enjoyed sharing the experience with us!


1 comment:

  1. Gargle tanks are pretty gross. The rest-Breathtaking! The size of those "whale sharks" is something! Beautiful! I love that video as well-from the music to the variety of fish! Thanks. The Stingray/Manta Rays remind me of the huge tanks at the Atlantis in the Bahamas. I feel bad for the baby turtles not having a spot to stop swimming, to stand on. They almost seemed tired, didn't you think? Thanks again! xo