The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is colorful, busy, and hands down one of the most impressive aquariums we’ve visited. With its dark cool hallways it is a beautiful place to burn energy on a hot, humid, summer day. Okinawa was very hot in June, like step outside, take a deep breath, and find your happy place hot.
If you are visiting in the summer, get there early and find a seat in the shade. Enduring the show in the sun made me empathize with a nearby popsicle. I wondered if when I stood up, my skin would fall to the ground in a slimy, sticky, puddle.
While I mostly loved our visit, there were a few things I didn’t like. The signs in English weren’t nearly as educational as displays in other aquariums and zoos of this caliber. I asked a friend if the signs in Japanese were more educational and he said they weren’t. There was no information on ocean pollution, no signs encouraging conservation, or any details on the impact of overfishing (or dolphin killing!). For an aquarium that has welcomed over 20 million visitors, I don’t understand why they aren’t more passionate about educating their guests. Seeing a whale shark up close is a breathtaking sight but the ocean is where these creatures belong. Despite the size of the tank, which is crazy huge, it’s hard to see such an enormous animal swimming in a confined space.
Despite these points, the aquarium is absolutely worth a visit.